Sabbath and Keeping It Holy

John 5:1-18 The man went away and told the Jews it was Jesus who made  him well.

 To a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years he said “stand up, take your mat, and walk.” What was the crowd’s reaction – the man was not supposed to be carrying a mat on the Sabbath. When they heard Jesus had performed the miracle – they persecuted him for breaking the Sabbath. Many read this passage especially the part where Jesus says, “My father is still working, and I also am working,” and use it to ignore the commandment to remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy. I think there is another way to look at this story.

 Another way to look at John 5 is to consider it is a story about healing. When we are admonished to remember the Sabbath, we are reminded to set aside at least one day in the week to engage in spiritual healing. Isn’t that what we are doing when we attend church or Sunday school class. I am a huge advocate of believing we heal by resting whether it be by enjoying a choral evensong, a quiet morning with a fire and the NY Times, and yes even a gathering of friends to watch a football game as well as attend church. Each of us heals spiritually differently, just as we work differently. Even hard physical work such as a long morning’s run, mowing the lawn, or chopping firewood can, if we bring the right attitude to our work, be as spiritually healing as a rousing sermon accompanied by a gospel choir.

 What’s important is we experience the healing presence of God at least once a week. And what about those NFL players, or preachers, or store clerks who have to work on the Sabbath. What did Jesus say, “I…am working.” Yes, they can say I am working by healing others, and allowing others to heal.

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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