Christian Character (3)
June 25 – July 1, 2023
“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’ ” Mark 2:27, 28
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 281–289
“Jesus had come to ‘magnify the law, and make it honorable.’ He was not to lessen its dignity, but to exalt it. … He had come to free the Sabbath from those burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing.” The Desire of Ages, 206
1 JESUS AND THE LAW
1.a. How did Christ define His mission regarding God’s law? Matthew 5:17–20
Note: “It is the Creator of men, the Giver of the law, who declares that it is not His purpose to set aside its precepts. Everything in nature, from the mote in the sunbeam to the worlds on high, is under law. And upon obedience to these laws the order and harmony of the natural world depend. So there are great principles of righteousness to control the life of all intelligent beings, and upon conformity to these principles the well-being of the universe depends. Before this earth was called into being, God’s law existed. Angels are governed by its principles, and in order for earth to be in harmony with heaven, man also must obey the divine statutes. To man in Eden Christ made known the precepts of the law. … The mission of Christ on earth was not to destroy the law, but by His grace to bring man back to obedience to its precepts.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 48
1.b. How did John, the beloved disciple, define sin? 1 John 3:4
Note: “The beloved disciple, who listened to the words of Jesus on the mount, writing long afterward under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaks of the law as of perpetual obligation. … He makes it plain that the law to which he refers is ‘an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.’ 1 John 2:7. He is speaking of the law that existed at the creation and was reiterated upon Mount Sinai.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 48
2 WORSHIPING ON THE SABBATH
2.a. How did Christ identify Himself regarding the Sabbath? Luke 6:1–5
Note: “Upon one Sabbath day, as the Saviour and His disciples returned from the place of worship, they passed through a field of ripening grain. Jesus had continued His work to a late hour, and while passing through the fields, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain, and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day this act would have excited no comment, for one passing through a field of grain, an orchard, or a vineyard, was at liberty to gather what he desired to eat. See Deuteronomy 23:24, 25. But to do this on the Sabbath was held to be an act of desecration. Not only was the gathering of the grain a kind of reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was a kind of threshing. Thus, in the opinion of the rabbis, there was a double offense. …
“The Jewish teachers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and in the Saviour’s answer there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings. ‘Have ye not read so much as this,’ He said, ‘what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?’ ‘And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’ ‘Have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.’ ‘The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:5, 6.” The Desire of Ages, 284, 285
2.b. What was Jesus’ custom on the Sabbath? Luke 4:16
Note: “During His childhood and youth, Jesus had worshiped among His brethren in the synagogue at Nazareth. Since the opening of His ministry He had been absent from them, but they had not been ignorant of what had befallen Him. As He again appeared among them, their interest and expectation were excited to the highest pitch. Here were the familiar forms and faces of those whom He had known from infancy. Here were His mother, His brothers and sisters, and all eyes were turned upon Him as He entered the synagogue upon the Sabbath day, and took His place among the worshipers.” The Desire of Ages, 236
3 HEALING ON THE SABBATH
3.a. Besides worshiping on the Sabbath, what else did Christ do on that day? Luke 6:6–10
Note: “Upon another Sabbath, as Jesus entered a synagogue, He saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched Him, eager to see what He would do. The Saviour well knew that in healing on the Sabbath He would be regarded as a transgressor, but He did not hesitate to break down the wall of traditional requirements that barricaded the Sabbath. Jesus bade the afflicted man stand forth, and then asked, ‘Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?’ It was a maxim among the Jews that a failure to do good, when one had opportunity, was to do evil; to neglect to save life was to kill. Thus Jesus met the rabbis on their own ground. ‘But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.’ Mark 3:4, 5.” The Desire of Ages, 286
3.b. What purpose did Christ have in mind by healing on the Sabbath? Luke 14:1–5
Note: “As the Jews departed from God, and failed to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith, the Sabbath lost its significance to them. Satan was seeking to exalt himself and to draw men away from Christ, and he worked to pervert the Sabbath, because it is the sign of the power of Christ. The Jewish leaders accomplished the will of Satan by surrounding God’s rest day with burdensome requirements. In the days of Christ, the Sabbath had become so perverted that its observance reflected the character of selfish and arbitrary men rather than the character of the loving heavenly Father. The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. They led the people to look upon God as a tyrant, and to think that the observance of the Sabbath, as He required it, made men hard-hearted and cruel. It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions. Although the rabbis followed Him with merciless hostility, He did not even appear to conform to their requirements, but went straight forward, keeping the Sabbath according to the law of God.” The Desire of Ages, 283, 284
4 RESTING ON THE SABBATH
4.a. How did Christ spend the Sabbath after the crucifixion? Luke 23:44–47. What did the disciples do on that Sabbath? Luke 23:53–56
Note: “At last Jesus was at rest. The long day of shame and torture was ended. As the last rays of the setting sun ushered in the Sabbath, the Son of God lay in quietude in Joseph’s tomb. His work completed, His hands folded in peace, He rested through the sacred hours of the Sabbath day.
“In the beginning, the Father and the Son had rested upon the Sabbath after Their work of creation. When ‘the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them’ (Genesis 2:1), the Creator and all heavenly beings rejoiced in contemplation of the glorious scene. ‘The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7. Now Jesus rested from the work of redemption; and though there was grief among those who loved Him on earth, yet there was joy in heaven. Glorious to the eyes of heavenly beings was the promise of the future. A restored creation, a redeemed race, that having conquered sin could never fall—this, the result to flow from Christ’s completed work, God and angels saw. With this scene the day upon which Jesus rested is forever linked. For ‘His work is perfect;’ and ‘whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever.’ Deuteronomy 32:4; Ecclesiastes 3:14. When there shall be a ‘restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began’ (Acts 3:21), the creation Sabbath, the day on which Jesus lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb, will still be a day of rest and rejoicing. Heaven and earth will unite in praise, as ‘from one Sabbath to another’ (Isaiah 66:23) the nations of the saved shall bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb.” The Desire of Ages, 769, 770
4.b. What is the meaning of the Sabbath for God’s people? Matthew 11:28–30; Hebrews 4:1–4, 9–11
Note: “To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption.” The Desire of Ages, 289
5 THE PROMISED REST—HERE AND IN THE NEW EARTH
5.a. How can we receive the promised rest? John 16:13; Hebrews 3:7, 8; Jeremiah 6:16
Note: “ ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. … Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.’ Hebrews 4:9, 11. The rest here spoken of is the rest of grace, obtained by following the prescription, Labor diligently. Those who learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness find rest in the experience of practicing His lessons. It is not in indolence, in selfish ease and pleasure-seeking, that rest is obtained. Those who are unwilling to give the Lord faithful, earnest, loving service will not find spiritual rest in this life or in the life to come. Only from earnest labor comes peace and joy in the Holy Spirit—happiness on earth and glory hereafter.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, 928
5.b. How will the redeemed spend the Sabbath in the earth made new? Isaiah 66:23
Note: “The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.’ So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. ‘From one Sabbath to another’ the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up ‘to worship before Me, saith the Lord.’ Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23.” The Desire of Ages, 283
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How did Christ exalt God’s law?
2 What works, performed by Christ, were in full harmony with Sabbathkeeping?
3 Why did the Pharisees strongly oppose Christ’s humanitarian works on the Sabbath?
4 Describe Christ’s rest on the Sabbath.
5 How can I best prepare to worship the Lord in the new earth?
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