Mark 2:23-3:7 Keeper ?

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—  so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. –Psalm 67:1–2 (NIV)

Discuss: what do you think it means for God’s face to shine on us ? Read Psalm 80 – notice the same phrase about God’s face comes up 3 times. What do you think this is saying ?

Jesus Christ is God’s “Yes” to Humanity.  – Agree ? Disagree ?

When we say “Yes” to one thing we are also saying “No” to others.   We see this in the 10 commandments – the first is our “Yes” to God, and the others are more of a “No” flavour.

One thing that was included in the Noes was Sabbath

Read Exodus 20:9-10 – What do you think sabbath is ? How do you respond to sabbath ?

Read the following thoughts and see if it might change your reflections on Sabbath.

  • A day to rest
  • A day to do what you want to do (not what you ‘should’) – Marva Dawn
  • A day to be a human being not a human doing.
  • To remind us that we are loved regardless of our actions
  • A day to trust.
  • A day of re-creation.

Does that change any of your views about sabbath ?   If you were going to give yourself a mark out of ten for being stressed and busy, where 1 is so laid-back people don’t know you are standing and 10 is tearing out your hair, packed overfull – what scare would you give yourself ?

Do you practise any form of sabbath ? What does rest look like to you ?

Most forms of rules get more complicated over time. Some examples – The jews believe that traveling was work, but that it wasn’t if you were traveling over your land. Some rich people therefore, sent our their servants to drop an item of old clothing every 3 kilometres so that they could legally travel on the sabbath.

It’s regarded as working to start or stop and engine. Therefore some high-rises in jewish settlements have special controls on the elevator that mean that on sabbath, the elevator constantly travels between floors automatically stopping on all of them, so that no one needs to push a button.  If you have a fridge with a fridge light, then you need to take the light out for the sabbath, or you can’t open the fridge.

It is in this context that the following stories come, where the pharisees are seeking to be a kind of self appointed  sabbath keepers.  However it’s probably worth knowing that Sabbath was also the public identity of the Jews (something they were famous for).

Read Mark 2:23-3:7

In the first story Jesus quotes an ancient hero of the jewish faith and points out how he broke the sabbath (based on their laws). Note it is highly questionable that the disciples were really breaking sabbath, by eating as they were. This is more likely an overly legalistic reading of scripture.

What do you think Jesus means when he says  “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

I’ve called the Pharisee’s sabbath keepers and Jesus people keepers ? Is that fair ? What might that look like for us ?

Then Jesus claims authority : “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath”

The second story has a similar theme.

This second response of Jesus asks “Is Sabbath keeping the same as People keeping “?

“Which is lawful on the Sabbath:to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill”

Where are we followers of Jesus famous for our Naysaying? What might it mean to be people keepers.

As I’ve been reading and writing this, I’ve been struck by the importance of spending time with people. Time that isn’t marked but “should’s” and Nay’s.   What has struck you ?

Is sabbath – rest linked to this – How ?

Stop and pray together.

Read this scripture at the start

Try setting a timer – and sitting still together for 5 minutes -read this scripture at the start and end of 5 minutes

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—  so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. –Psalm 67:1–2 (NIV)

Don’t try to talk to God, to each other, Just try to sit in each others’ presence and in the presence of God.

When you have done this talk about what that was like ?


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