Day 5

Lord of the Sabbath

from the John reading plan

John 5:1-47, Exodus 20:8-11, Luke 6:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

BY Guest Writer

Text: John 5:1-47, Exodus 20:8-11, Luke 6:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

I’ll never forget the day I sat down to study my Bible and discovered my toddler had beaten me to the pages. Scribble marks adorned two chapters in Luke—big loopy scribbles in permanent blue ink. “Oh, no!” reverberated within. This was my favorite Bible, the one I spent time with daily over a hot cup of coffee. I was learning to do inductive study with this Bible and marking key words with care. I’d cringe if I had to erase a bit of colored pencil, knowing it wouldn’t be clean. But this was more than a smudged word. Two entire pages had been ruined.

I sat my little girl on my lap to explain gently that she couldn’t color in mommy’s Bible. She’d meant no harm, of course, but this was a teachable moment. She simply couldn’t go around taking pen to paper in books around the house.

But in that moment the Lord graciously spoke to my heart. My daughter hadn’t taken a pen to any other books, only this book. She was modeling what she’d seen.   

“Sweetie, were you ‘studying’ like Mommy?”

She smiled, nodding her head big.

It became my teachable moment. Instead of focusing on “the rules” or my own angst over the pages, I could see the bigger picture. God had been moving in my little girl’s heart, drawing her to His Word. She wanted to interact with it in the only way she knew how. Lifting my focus helped me to see God at work, which changed everything.

It’s often easy to miss God’s hand at work, just as many did when Jesus walked the earth. I’m astounded when I read of the man Jesus healed by the pool of Bethesda, because of the scene afterward. People had seen this man laying around for thirty-eight years, and suddenly he was walking. Yet, no one said, “Wow! What happened? How were you cured?” No one praised God that he’d been delivered from decades of infirmity. Instead, the healed man is chastised for carrying his pallet on the Sabbath. And the Jewish leaders want to know, not who cured him, but who had the audacity to tell him to pick up his pallet and walk with it (John 5:12).  

Jesus, the Son of God, was there among them. A miracle had been done in their midst. Yet, focusing on the rules of the Sabbath, they missed the Lord of the Sabbath.  

How often do we do the same? How often are we so focused on one side of a circumstance that we miss God’s purposes altogether?

Jesus is the Author of life. And He brings not only life, but light, grace, and glory into that which seems dead, dark, and overwhelming (Acts 3:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6). We’re told to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) because when our eyes are faith-filled, we see the divine. We see God.

Jesus is always working, in every facet of our lives and the lives of those around us. Let’s pray to keep our eyes fixed on Him, so we can behold every moment.


Kim Cash Tate is the author of several books, including Though I Stumble (2016) and Cling:  Choosing a Lifestyle of Intimacy with God (2017). A former practicing attorney, she has a passion for studying and teaching the Word of God. Kim lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two young adult children.

Post Comments (90)

90 thoughts on "Lord of the Sabbath"

  1. Katalina says:

    Kim touched a very important point. Sometimes we miss Gods work because we’re so focused on something else or we let our emotions blind us to His hand that teaches and blesses. We’re the ones who complicate our lives and situations.

  2. JoAnn says:

    Kim your observations and insight really helped me today! God made it so simple and we make it so hard!

  3. Nads says:

    Thank you Kim, This really spoke to me…the rules! I struggle daily balancing what is truly from God and what is the Pharisaical parts of my upbringing.
    God bless

  4. Jackie says:

    Oh lord, let my voice and thoughts and love for rules and stability not be too loud to drown out your voice. Help me see your work today and hear your voice.

    1. Katalina says:

      This is a prayer to make everyday!

    2. Tina says:

      Amn jackie…

      Blessings for a Blessed New year…

  5. Sarah says:

    Wow! What a beautiful reminder to slow down and pay attention. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Keri McCue says:

    Oh man, today’s message is so good! I struggle with this so much. I know that I can tend to follow the rules and miss the moments where God is speaking most. I miss the teachable moments and the small hints of God speaking through a situation. I pray that the Lord works on my heart in this area!

    1. J says:

      Joining you in prayer, Keri!

    2. Pamela Jo says:

      There’s no telling how many teachable moments I’ve missed as I am a rule follower. Thank you for your grace Jesus. Open my eyes to see.

  7. ChristinaGandy says:

    Dear God,
    It’s me, Christina. Your word is not always simple. Are you the only one who can do work on the sabbath? I do some kind of work every day. It is not very often I just sit around all day and do nothing or simply pray. I’ve always been confused about this one. I at least told my work I have a commitment to church on Sunday.

    1. Sarah_Joy says:

      I certainty don’t know the bible perfectly, nor do I think I should speak on God’s behalf. However, I would encourage you to seek out ways to find times or days of rest. I think we can just as easily become tied to the rules of sabbath as much as people in Jesus’ day. Instead I believe God wants us to rest, rest from work intentionally (whatever your job allows) and rest in Him. When we work constantly without stopping, we rely on ourselves. When we stop to rest, we rely on God to refill us and we remember that ultimately He sustains us. Hope this gives grace to your question and freedom to take the time for rest as your schedule allows. Blessings as you navigate this difficult balance.

  8. Leenda324 says:

    The Lord is so good, so tender and kind, even in these “little” things. What a wonderful Christmas miracle!!

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