Jesus’s Third Sign, Part 2: Healing and the Sabbath, John 5:1-17


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“Jesus’s Third Sign, Part 2: Healing and the Sabbath”

John 5:1-17

July 21, 2019

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pr. Nicoletti

 

This morning we are returning for a second time to John, chapter five, verses one through seventeen.

 

Last week we considered the relationship between Jesus’s command and his healing work in this passage. This morning we will consider the relationship between Jesus’s healing work and the Sabbath.

 

As always, please listen carefully, for this is God’s Word for us this morning.

 

5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

 

This is the word of the Lord.

 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

 

Let’s pray …

 

Lord, like the psalmist, our soul clings to the dust,

and we ask you to give us life according to your word!

Teach us your ways,

help us understand your precepts,

make us to meditate on your works.

When our souls melt for sorrow,

strengthen us according to your word.

Help us to cling to your testimonies,

and enlarge our hearts,

that we may run in your ways.

We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

[Based on Psalm 119:25-32]

 

As we mentioned last Lord’s Day, there are a couple important themes in our text this morning, and so I’ve decided to look at this text over two weeks. Last week we looked more closely at the healing itself and the man who was healed. We considered together how we might see ourselves and our tendencies in him, and how Christ’s pursuit and healing of that man tells us something about Christ’s pursuit and healing of us. This Lord’s Day we will consider the controversy that ensues surrounding the Sabbath.

 

The Sabbath, most of you will know, is the one day in seven where God has commanded his people to rest from their regular labors, and also to worship. And on several occasions during his earthly ministry, Jesus got into disputes with the Jewish leaders of his day over the Sabbath. Specifically, in the Gospels we have five major disputes which surround Jesus performing healings on the Sabbath.

 

First, there is the account of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, recorded in Mark 3, Matthew 12, and Luke 6. Second, there is the account in Luke 13 of Jesus healing a woman who for eighteen years had been bent over and unable to fully straighten herself up. Third, there is the account of Jesus healing a man with dropsy, in Luke 14. Fourth, there is our text this morning from John 5. And fifth, there is the account of Jesus healing the man born blind in John chapter 9.

 

In each of these incidents Jesus heals a person on the Sabbath day, and in each case a group of the Jewish religious leaders in his day begin a sharp dispute with him, arguing that it was not right for him to heal on the Sabbath – arguing that their rules for and understanding of God’s commandments for the Sabbath forbid such things.

 

In the first century the Jewish leaders had accumulated an increasingly large set of regulations about what was forbidden on the Sabbath, getting into many details of human life. Now, the origin of these regulations would seem to be laudable – the leaders wanted to give the people specifics on how to be sure to honor the Lord on the Sabbath. [Morris, 306]

 

But now, in our text, Jesus has both broken some of these regulations, and he’s encouraged another to break them as well. The dispute begins in verse ten when the man who was healed is accused of breaking Sabbath regulations by following Jesus’s command, and carrying his mat. But then the dispute intensifies in verse sixteen where we learn that the Jewish leaders were persecuting Jesus because he was healing on the Sabbath.

 

Now, we should note that the Jewish leaders were not completely inflexible in their understanding of the Sabbath. They would, for instance, have made an exception to this rule against healing if someone’s life was in danger. [Leithart, 68] But one striking thing is that in none of these incidents where Jesus healed on the Sabbath, was the person healed in danger of death. It seems like not much would have been lost if Jesus had just waited until the next day – which is exactly what the Jewish leaders urged in Luke 13.

 

So why didn’t Jesus wait? What are we supposed to take from Jesus’s healing on the Sabbath? How should we think of it?

 

There are a few common ways to interpret what Jesus is doing here … and even though some Christians might not formally adopt these explanations, we can often think about God’s law in general, and his Sabbath commands in particular, in these terms – whether we realize it or not.

 

So one common explanation is what we might call a theory of abolition. This says that the Sabbath was an Old Testament ceremonial regulation for the Jews, and Jesus came to abolish it.

 

While we don’t have time to get into all the details of this argument, one of the more important things to note is that Jesus never actually says that the Sabbath is merely an Old Testament ceremonial regulation for the Jews, or that he intends to abolish it. In all the recordings of all the disputes over the Sabbath, Jesus never simply says that now that he’s here the Sabbath is being done away with. Instead of arguing for or against the Sabbath, Jesus is repeatedly arguing about it. Moreover, for Jesus’s disputes over the Sabbath to be based in his intention to abolish it would mean that he basically agreed with the Jewish leaders that the Sabbath was in fact a burden, and that he has come to relieve us of that burden. But that is not the sense we get from these disputes.

 

A second theory of what Jesus is doing with the Sabbath is that he came to lighten the load by adding or emphasizing some exceptions to it. This would frame the debate by saying that Jesus is speaking of exceptions to the Sabbath law and he is urging others to apply those exceptions to situations like healings. So, in Luke 14 he reminds the Jewish leaders that they can pull their ox out of a well on the Sabbath, and in Luke 13 he reminds them that they can untie their livestock and lead them to water on the Sabbath, and so applying the same principle they should also be able to heal on the Sabbath. Pointing to exceptions to the Sabbath principle, Jesus encourages the leaders to think through and apply the spirit of those exceptions elsewhere.

 

The thing about this view is that Jesus does not seem to be citing any exceptions to the Sabbath that are actually given in the Old Testament law. There’s no clause in the Old Testament that specifies that pulling your ox from a well or leading your livestock to water are acceptable exceptions to the normal Sabbath regulations. [John Barach] Jesus does not seem to be appealing to exceptions to the Sabbath … but to the nature of the Sabbath itself, and how it should be understood and interpreted. Moreover, this “exception” theory also subtly agrees with the first-century Jewish leaders that the Sabbath command is a burden and that exceptions are needed for relief. But is that really what Jesus is saying here?

 

A third theory of what Jesus is doing regarding the Sabbath is that he came to correct the overly zealous approach that the Jewish leaders had taken to it. This would say that the Jewish leaders had taken the Sabbath way too seriously, and as a result, they have added to the original laws, and Jesus came to tone their application down a bit.

 

That’s a common interpretation, but it too misses the mark of Jesus’s overall critique of the Jewish leaders. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus does not say that the scribes and Pharisees, that the first-century Jewish leaders, have followed God’s law too closely – he says they have not followed it closely enough. He says they have reduced it to forbidding only murder when it was meant to forbid hate. He said that they had reduced it to forbidding adultery when it was meant to forbid lust. He said that they had reduced it to forbidding breaking oaths when it was meant to command truthfulness. The problem Jesus has over and over again with the scribes and Pharisees is that their many regulations twist God’s law, in a way that weakens God’s law, and the in the end they miss the point of God’s law. In other words, all appearances to the contrary, the problem is not that they have taken God’s law too seriously, but that they have not taken it seriously enough.

 

Are we to believe that that was their pattern in every case except for the Sabbath? That in the case of the Sabbath their laws intensified God’s law rather than twisting it from its true intention? That seems highly unlikely.

 

What each of these theories shares is a view that the Sabbath was a burden. And therefore what God’s people needed in the first century was for Jesus to abolish it, to lighten it, or to lower the intensity of its observation.

 

What I want to argue this morning is that that underlying assumption misses the point in the exact same ways that the Jewish leaders missed the point. What I want to argue is that Jesus, by insisting on carrying out healings on the Sabbath, was disputing the very heart of what the Sabbath was all about.

 

And to see that we need to begin by going back to the Sabbath command itself, in the ten commandments.

 

In the first giving of the ten commandments, in Exodus twenty, the Sabbath commandment is given like this – it says:

 

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord [to Yahweh] your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

 

What I want to draw your attention to is the portion of the command we can often miss. The command calls us to rest. But it also calls us to give rest. It specifically calls us to give rest to those under our authority – people under our authority … and even animals under our authority.

 

It says, in verse ten, that on the Sabbath “you shall not do any work.” But then it adds that along with it, you should not order “your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates” to do any work.

 

When the same commandment is repeated in Deuteronomy five, this point is emphasized even more – the line is added that you should do this so “that your male servant and female servant may rest as well as you.”

 

Far from being a burden to receive or to put on others, the Sabbath command was a call to receive rest and to extend that rest to others – to all under your authority, including even your animals.

 

And when we realize this, we begin to see Jesus’s words, and his works of healing on the Sabbath a bit differently.

 

One theologian puts it like this – he says: “Jesus does not think that healing someone on the Sabbath is an ‘exception’ to the Sabbath rules. He thinks the opposite: Sabbath-keeping means doing good, healing, relieving distress. The Sabbath laws themselves require Israelites to give rest to their sons, servants, and even animals on the Sabbath. That’s what Jesus does on the Sabbath: He gives rest by raising people from their sick beds, by cleansing lepers, by healing withered arms. When Jesus tells the Pharisees that they can get an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath, He is not making an exception. Getting stuck in a ditch is not restful for an ox, any more than it is for you. Pulling him out of the ditch is a way of keeping the Sabbath, because it gives relief to an animal. Jesus does not attack Jewish Sabbath-keeping because He thinks Sabbath-keeping is wrong. He attacks Jewish Sabbath-keeping because they are not really keeping the Sabbath.” [Leithart, 68-69]

 

In other words, in Luke 13, Jesus does not cite that you can lead your livestock to water on the Sabbath because it’s an exception to the normal Sabbath command. He cites it because the Sabbath command itself requires giving rest and relief to others – even livestock – and it is not restful or a relief to go without water for the day. The same is true of the ox in a well in Luke 14. These kinds of actions, Jesus is saying, are at the heart of the Sabbath – the command to give rest to those who need it. In other words, if we see them as exceptions, we miss the heart of the Sabbath.

 

And so in the same way, when Jesus heals on the Sabbath, he is not abolishing the Sabbath, he is not carving out exceptions to the Sabbath, he is not lightening the application of the Sabbath – he is living out the very heart of the Sabbath command, by giving rest and relief to others. And that is the argument that Jesus makes in the case of the man with the withered hand, in the case of the woman bent over for eighteen years, and in the case of the man with dropsy – he is showing the people that the heart of the Sabbath is the giving of rest and relief, and that by framing the Sabbath as a burden, the Jewish leaders have not been too intense in their application of the Sabbath command … they have actually missed the point entirely and even contradicted it.

 

And we can fall into a similar trap. It is far too easy for us to think of the Lord’s Day in terms of restrictions and obligations, instead of seeing it as a call both to receive rest, and to give rest and relief to others, as Jesus does, and as the Sabbath command calls us to.

 

That argument that Jesus makes in those three Sabbath healings in Luke is important – it is in many ways key to understanding Jesus’s works of healing on the Sabbath. And no doubt, since the Apostle John wrote his Gospel last of the four, he wrote it knowing that his readers would already be familiar with that argument.

 

And so, what’s striking, is that that is not the argument that John records Jesus making here, in our text, in John chapter five – at least not on its surface.

 

In our passage this morning, John doesn’t record Jesus making an argument on the call to God’s people to give rest to others on the Sabbath. Instead, he records Jesus answering them in verse seventeen by saying “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

 

Jesus, God the Son, tells the Jewish leaders that since his Father – since God the Father is working on the Sabbath, so he too, as God the Son, is working on the Sabbath.

 

Well … how does that fit in with everything we have said so far?

 

The nature of God’s “rest” recorded as taking place on the Sabbath in Genesis 2 was a topic of discussion in Jesus’s day.

 

Genesis two tells us that on the seventh day, which became the Sabbath day, God “rested from all his work that he had done” in creation … but the rabbis of Jesus’s day realized that that was not meant to communicate that God did not continue to do other work.

 

They realized that God remained active in his care for creation, or else creation would cease to exist. They realized that God gave life and God took life on the Sabbath, since people were both born on the Sabbath and died on the Sabbath. They realized that God still ordered all things. And so while God rested from his work of creation on the Sabbath day described in Genesis chapter two, it was also true as Jesus said that God the Father was at work on the Sabbath day.

 

What work of God then, is Jesus drawing our attention to? To God’s work in general? Or something more specific?

 

I think we begin to get a sense of the trajectory of Jesus’s words here when we look back at the Sabbath command once more – only this time not from Exodus 20, but from Deuteronomy 5 – because in Deuteronomy 5 we are given different reasoning for the basis of the Sabbath – we are given reasoning based not in the rest of God, but in the work of God.

 

In Deuteronomy five, the commandment reads:

 

“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord [as Yahweh] your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Yahweh your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.’”

 

Deuteronomy five tells the people of God that the reason, the basis, of why they should rest, and why they should give rest and relief to others, is that on the Sabbath they are to remember how God gave rest and relief to them, by rescuing them from Egypt.

 

What we see here, then, is that at its heart, the Sabbath is about God giving rest to his people, so that they might then extend that rest to others.

 

That is the work of God that is highlighted on the Sabbath day, and that is the work that Jesus is doing on the Sabbath day – the work of giving rest and relief to the people of God. That is the work he identifies with in John chapter five, verse seventeen.

 

But what Jesus’s healings also point out is that God’s work of giving rest and relief from slavery is not a work that is locked up in the past. It’s not something we just remember each Sabbath day – but it’s something we are also to receive each Sabbath day.

 

And that fact is addressed specifically in the healing Jesus performs in Luke 13. In Luke 13:10-17 we read: “10 Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your disability.’ 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, ‘There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’ 15 Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’ 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”

 

What is Jesus saying here? One biblical scholar puts it like this – he writes: “Here Jesus is portrayed as taking up […] the great theme of sabbath as release from work, [and] bringing into […] sharp focus the theme of sabbath as rest after trouble, as redemption after slavery. […] That is why it was not merely generally appropriate that this woman should be healed, and if it happened to be on a sabbath, well and good. The claim was that the sabbath day was the most appropriate day, because that day celebrated release from captivity, from bondage, as well as from work.” [Wright, 394]

 

In other words, God’s work of bringing rest and relief to his people was not to be something just remembered on the Sabbath day, but it was to be received afresh on the Sabbath day.

 

At its core, the Sabbath is about God giving rest to his people, and his people then extending that rest to others. That is the heart of the Sabbath. That is what the Sabbath is all about.

 

And yet … in the response of the Jewish leaders in our text, and in the other Sabbath-dispute passages, we see that we often think instead of the Sabbath as a burden for us and for others.

 

It’s clear that the Sabbath as a burden was in the foreground of the minds of the Jewish leaders in John chapter five – and we see this come out in verses ten through twelve. The Jewish leaders see the man carrying his mat, and they tell him it is not lawful according to their Sabbath regulations. The man then answers them by saying “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” And how do they respond? Verse twelve says: “They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take up your bed and walk”?’”

 

We should pause and note how astounding that response is. They have just learned of a man being healed after being an invalid for thirty-eight years. And their response is not “Who is the man who healed you?” Their response is “Who is the man who said you could carry that on the Sabbath, after we said you could not?” The burden overshadowed the relief in their minds.

 

But we’re often the same, aren’t we?

 

Our framework for the Sabbath – for the rest from our normal labor and for the requirement that we attend worship with God’s people – is so often a framework of what we have to do. Of what our obligations are. We think of the day as a burden. And when we do that we become blind to the healing work the Lord is doing on that day. We become blind to the ways he is loosing the bonds of his people. We become blind to the rest that he is extending to us. And then we also fail to extend that rest to others.

 

But what we learn from looking back at the Sabbath commandments – what we learn from considering what Jesus has to say about them – is that far from being a burden, the Sabbath is about God giving rest to his people, and his people then extending that rest to others.

 

And we learn that that giving of rest is not just a memory – not just a commemoration of God’s great past deeds. But Jesus’s acts of healing on the Sabbath point us to the fact that God is at work to give his people rest on the Sabbath today as well.

 

Which is one reason why we gather for worship on the Sabbath.

 

What is Lord’s Day worship really for? What is it really about?

 

We can tend to think of it in terms of our actions – in terms of a series of tasks that we do. We praise God. We confess our sins. We affirm our faith. We study God’s word. We celebrate communion. We go out to apply what we’ve learned.

 

In a sense all of that is true … but it’s also incomplete and wrongly emphasized.

 

One liturgical scholar puts it like this – he writes: “Above all, we are called together in order to get, to receive. This is crucial. The Lord gives; we receive. Since faith is receptive and passive in nature ‘faith-full’ worship must be about receiving from God. He gives and by faith we receive. […] The fundamental purpose of the corporate Sunday service, therefore, is to receive by faith God’s gracious service in Christ and then respond with thanksgiving in union with Christ praising the Living God.” [Meyers, 94,103]

 

And that is what we see throughout the worship service. We come in, people who are troubled, burdened, and bound … and God gives us rest and relief – again and again.

 

So, we come in people who are troubled and distracted by many things, many rivals tugging at our hearts and attention – and God graciously calls us to worship. He directs our minds and hearts towards him, our highest good, and so gives us rest and relief from our troubled and divided minds.

 

We come in people who are burdened and weighed down by our sin and guilt – a burden we cannot carry ourselves. And so the next thing God does is cleanse and relieve us once again from our sin. He gives us rest and relief from our guilt and shame.

 

We come in people with worries and anxieties, and so he calls us to bring our petitions before him, giving rest to our anxious hearts, as we entrust our needs and the needs of others to him.

 

And then, knowing our tendency to see the world wrongly, our tendency to make peace with our sin, our tendency to return to the toilsome bondage of the world, and the flesh, and the devil, God instructs us from his word, that we would be more and more delivered from the lies and temptations that come against us, and experience in Christ more and more of the rest and relief we have from slavery to sin.

 

And then, at the climax of the service, God invites us to come and join him at his joyful table. He invites us not to do for him, but to be with him, as we come to his table and find rest for our souls in communion with our God and with his people.

 

The entire service of the Lord’s Day could be summed up in that simple line from Jesus Christ, as he says to us: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

The Sabbath is about God giving rest to his people.

 

Why are we often so resistant to it, then … in our hearts if not also in our actions? Why does it often feel like it would be more restful to just stay home and sleep in on Sunday mornings?

 

There are a few reasons for this. One is simply our sinful hearts. Another is that we can come to Lord’s Day worship with hearts that are not receptive to receiving the rest God is offering us. But a third reason is that we far too easily settle for thin and superficial rest, when we need deep rest.

 

I don’t know if this happens to you … but it makes me think of those nights when you feel too tired to go to bed. You’re so tired … that rather than getting up and putting yourself to bed, you spend in inordinate amount of time sitting on the couch, mindlessly staring at your phone and scrolling, or letting auto-play show you one video after another. And you do that rather than actually going to bed. You need the physically deep rest of sleep … but in your laziness, you settle for the physically shallow rest of sitting on the couch staring at a screen. And that shallow rest, while tempting, does not give you what you really need.

 

In the same way, getting up, and coming to worship, and receptively engaging with God, can feel, to our either lazy or sometimes just weary souls, like too much work. And so we long for or settle for the shallow rest of doing nothing. Or the shallow rest of coming to worship but zoning out while there. And we do not get the deep spiritual rest that our souls need. The call for us is to engage and to receive what God is offering us here.

 

The Sabbath is about God giving rest to his people.

 

And as he gives us that rest … and as we receive it … he gives it to us for our own benefit. But he also gives it to us so that we might extend it to others.

 

That rest we give to others is often physical and straightforward. We are called on to give such rest to others. We are called especially to give such rest to those who might often be at work serving us.

 

But that rest is also spiritual. We need the spiritual rest of being reoriented to Christ every Sabbath so that we might be equipped to offer to others the rest of helping them reorient to Christ themselves.

 

We need to receive the relief God’s forgiveness again and again for the ways we have sinned against him, so that we might be truly equipped to offer the relief of forgiveness, again and again, to those who sin against us.

 

We need God’s help in finding rest from our trials and temptations so that we might offer to others help in finding rest from the trials and temptations they face.

 

We need God to draw close and offer us the rest and relief of fellowship and hospitality at his table … even when we are difficult to love … so that we can then be equipped to offer the rest and relief of fellowship and hospitality to others … even when they are difficult to love.

 

That is the kind of Sabbath we are called to – a Sabbath where God give rest to us, his people, so that we might then extend that rest to those around us.

 

That is the Sabbath rest that God offered his people Israel. That is the Sabbath rest that Jesus gave to the invalid in our passage this morning. And that is the kind of Sabbath rest he offers to you and to me.

 

It is a Sabbath rest that points backwards to God’s great work of redemption. It is a Sabbath rest that meets us now, in the needs we face today. And it is a Sabbath rest that points forward to the ultimate Sabbath rest.

 

We know the turmoil that our sin, our selfishness, our divided hearts, our lack of trust all bring into our lives. The thought of that going on forever – of living our lives for eternity in the kind of turmoil we are so often prone to in this life – that prospect should fill us with dread.

 

Which is why the great promise of Jesus Christ in the gospel is that of eternal Sabbath rest. That all who trust in him will receive the fullness of that Sabbath rest for all eternity, in his presence. Rest from sin and guilt. Rest from bondage to sin and selfishness. Rest from divided hearts. Rest from worry and faithlessness. Rest in the joy of the Lord who loves us, and the peace we have with him and with all of God’s people. Rest that the author of Hebrews tells us still awaits the people of God … and which in worship now we can experience a foretaste of.

 

And so, people of God, today is the Sabbath of the Lord. Do not come to your God reluctantly. Do not come thinking of it as a duty. Do not come thinking of it as a task. Do not come thinking of it as an obligation. Come to receive the Sabbath rest of our Lord. Come to be equipped to extend that rest to others. Come because our Lord says to you: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

This sermon draws on material from:

Augustine. Homilies on the Gospel of John 1-40. Translated by Edmund Hill. Edited by Allan D. Fitzgerald. The Works of Saint Augustine. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2009.

Brown, Raymond E. The Gospel According to John. vol.1. Anchor. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1966.

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. PNTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991.

Leithart, Peter J. The Four: A Survey of the Gospels. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2010.

Meyers, Jeffrey J. The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1971.

Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996.