Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sabbath as Kingdom Release

In the story of the crippled woman (Luke 13:10 - 17) Jesus calls forward the woman in the synagogue and simply says 'Woman, you are set free'. This was a day of liberation: the woman, freed from her infirmity of multi-years, was restored from all that bound her.

Yes it was a day of glorious release - it was the Sabbath day.

Fitting because the Sabbath and liberation go hand in hand. Remember the Old Testament principles, e.g. Dt 15 where every seventh year debts are cancelled and slaves can go free. Our theme this year of poverty and justice is directly connected with the concept of Sabbath.

But for some its all rules and regulation, which in the Luke story leads people to 'tut tut'. Similarly in Luke 6, they argue with Jesus as he seems to sit loose with the Old Testament regulations - the very same regulations we looked at last week!

The point is that Sabbath points us to God and His work - like the work of healing they had just seen before their eyes. The Pharisees simply couldn't see it, no matter how miraculous it was. The sad fact is that if your life is driven purely by rules and regulations then you too will miss out on the wonders of God.

Furthermore it is when we are trying to max out on life, squeezing every last ounce of productivity, that injustices creep in: no space for God, no space for God's justice agenda.

Instead we are to be a liberation people, living the Sabbath, having rest and delight in God both for our own well-being but all pointing to God who brings possibility of release and rest for others. We are to be working like Jesus, declaring His Kingdom and releasing people into it.

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