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.

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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. Liz says:

    This is so good! I am so grateful that the Spirit illuminates the word.
    I need to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. I tend to want to “do” most of the time instead of nurturing the relationship with the Lord.

  2. Kristen Clegs says:

    I was sobered at the realization that, at the pool, “lay a multitude of invalids,” yet Jesus healed one man. How many people did Jesus NOT heal? Can I trust God’s goodness to allow suffering indefinitely for no tangible reason? Can I trust God’s purpose in allowing some to be “Jobs,” and others to be “Lazaruses?”

  3. Cheri says:

    God is speaking to my heart so much about being a grace-giver… about rejoicing as He does amazing things in the lives of those around me. Sometimes I still find myself wrapped up in the “legality” of things… thinking like the Pharisees. But, I hear Him daily reminding me to extend grace, knowing full well that, at the times I need to extend grace, He is at work. My heart’s desire is to extend grace and love where, at one time, I would have laid down the law…. to soften the hearts of those who He’s called me to extend grace and love to, so that He can do His work. It’s not my job to fix people… it’s just my job to love.

  4. Lynn says:

    Praise the miracle worker who can work good in all situations and NOT focus on the rules and “right behaviors”!

  5. Ginger says:

    The studies get better and better as I read here. Thank you, I appreciate knowing that Jesus kept His eyes on the sparrow for our sake, as I’m learning to do in a daily basis of keeping my eyes on Him. I pray that all of us in attendance today will continue to do the same. It’s hard, but all things are possible with God!

  6. Kersti says:

    Oh my heart needed this today.

    Focus on the giver not the gift. I can be like the mother on the story, and jump to disappointment, instead of rejoicing that a person is being pulled to Christ.

    Lord help my heart hear your truth in those situations. Change my heart to give you all the glory, and pursue none for myself.

  7. Shelley says:

    I met a man just like the paralytic man in today’s Scripture. Bedridden for 32 years. He rocked our lives and we have two boys with the same condition now and in China now adopting one more in a different but also precarious medical condition. I could see this story and it humbled me to think of how often I move my eyes from what God is doing to what I can see. I needed this so much today.

  8. Heather Fringer says:

    I thought that it was amazing that when Jesus healed that gentleman that couldn’t walk for 38 years and he began to walk away carrying his items, that the first thing that everyone was fast to do was to get upset at him because he was not following the rules on the Sabbath day. I love how above Kim states, “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.” It really makes me open my eyes a little more.

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