Cease and Desist
Cease and Desist
Words of Faith 4-19-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled.  The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.  But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.
 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored.  But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Jesus had made it clear that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. That was not the end of the conflict, of course. A second Sabbath controversy involved the same sort of conflict between human need and the traditions of the Sabbath law.
Jesus went into the synagogue and there was a man with a shriveled hand. The whole thing was a set up. The religious people were looking for a way to accuse Jesus so they watched Him closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. It is interesting that they did not seem to doubt whether or not the healing was possible. That was an assumed reality by now! They just want to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath and break their rule. The rules regarding healing on the Sabbath said that you could tend a wound and keep it from getting worse, but you could not do any work that might make it better. For example, you could not put salve on it or 'work' to heal it.
So imagine this scene. Jesus came into "church" and instead of everyone being excited that He might actually heal someone, a bunch of folks were waiting to accuse Him if He did! So Jesus stood the man up in front of everyone and asked, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
It was a powerful teaching moment that reinforced both the fact that Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath and that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. With no answer from the congregation, Jesus answered the question Himself by healing the man. Of course the religious people were furious.
There is the test. Nothing could have made Jesus' point better. If you get angry because God has miraculously healed a person you need to get over it and get with the program. If the purpose and goal of the Sabbath rules were holiness, rest and joy; how could doing good, like healing someone, get in the way of that? As it ended up, Jesus made the point seven different times by healing on the Sabbath.
So what is this about for us?
Jesus is the Lord of our work and our rest. Jesus was not saying that He wanted us to forego Sabbath rest. But Jesus was saying "I desire to be Lord over all of your life including your Sabbath." Jesus is saying to us, "May I be Lord of your family? May I be Lord of your work? May I be Lord of your rest, leisure, renewal and refreshment?"
If we are really honest about it, we often allow God into many areas of life but resist allowing Jesus to be Lord of our leisure. He wants to be Lord of rest of your life including the REST in our lives. We might argue, "But Lord, I do so much for You and You are Lord of that. But I don't want you to be Lord of my leisure. I have my own plan for that." We may even view leisure as a sort of break FROM God rather than a break WITH God.
How is your Sabbath? The word means literally to "cease and desist". Stop doing what you have been doing and be with God. Rest from the six days of labor. Stop gathering things. Don't do anything for profit or to further career or business. Stop striving to "get ahead" and trust that God has provided generously during 6 days of labor. Express your faith-- your utter trust in God-- by not working.
It is not a matter of whether you put a hand outside a window to help the poor or happen to break grain for food. It is a matter of getting with God and letting HIM be Lord of your down time so He can refresh you. If the events of the day bring you into contact with human need, for heaven's sake don't fail to help someone in the name of religious rules. That is not Lordship.
We need to see that Sabbath is really an expression of God's grace and an image of His salvation. The writer of Hebrews tells us there remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:9-11).
Our salvation is the ultimate Sabbath rest. We rest in the sufficiency of His mighty work, His righteousness, and His efforts in our behalf. We often tend to make following Jesus so hard when the real invitation of Jesus was so simple: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28 29).
Where are you today? How is your Sabbath? Have you found the Sabbath rest of His grace? How is your practice of Sabbath? Have you found a way to practice holiness, rest, and joy in your life by stopping and being with God for part of your day, and for part of your week? Is Jesus Lord of our Sabbath and even our religious rules?
Lord, lead me into the joy of Sabbath. Show me the time and way You want me to stop, cease and desist. Show me how to enjoy Your renewing Spirit without rules that break Your very Spirit. Help me to find Sabbath rest in You. In Jesus' name.