"Do You Want to be Healed?" (John 5:1–18)

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March 26, 2017

"Do You Want to be Healed?" (John 5:1–18)

Passage: John 5:1–18
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John 5–6 marks a significant shift in the narrative of the Gospel. Up to this point, the worst response Jesus has met with in his ministry is apathetic disbelief. Even where people do not honor Jesus as the Prophet or believe in him as the Christ or the Son of God, they still find him interesting and potentially useful for their agendas. So, when Jesus cleanses the temple, we do not read of any more significant response than that the Jews demand the authority by which he performs his signs (John 2:18), and when Jesus tells them that he will raise up the temple they destroy in three days (John 2:19), they merely scoff at his answer (John 2:20) without doing anything worse. With this narrative in John 5, Jesus’ opponents begin to recognize the serious threat he poses to their position and power, and they escalate their opposition accordingly.

We saw the first hint that the tide might be turning against Jesus in John 4:1–3, where the Pharisees began to pay more attention to his increasing popularity among the people. When Jesus learned this, he left Judea for Galilee, and now in John 5, when Jesus returns to Jerusalem, the religious leaders (“the Jews”) begin to oppose Jesus directly for a variety of reasons (John 5:18). Then, when Jesus returns to Galilee in John 6, he will experience the intense support of a large crowd of Jews who at one point seek to make Jesus king by force (John 6:15), but who ultimately turn against him and abandon him (John 6:66). In John 5–6, we see the opposition against Jesus rising in both Judea and in Galilee—opposition that will culminate in our Lord’s eventual condemnation and crucifixion. The story of Jesus’ healing at the pool of Bethesda, then, identifies the point where this opposition begins: with the healing of a lame man on the Sabbath. The Jews begin opposing Jesus because they believe that he breaks the Sabbath and that he blasphemously claims equality with God in the process (John 5:18). In reality, Jesus keeps the Sabbath by restoring restful work to those carrying the burden of inactivity and fruitlessness.

Please open your Bibles with me to John, chapter five. We are in the middle of a sermon series in the Gospel of John. Today, we'll be looking at John 5:1-18. Hear the word of the Lord.

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

2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 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.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 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.”

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.John 5:1-18, ESV

This is the word of the Lord.

Why do we rest? That's complicated question to a very simple activity, a rest is a cessation or a stopping of activity. Yet sometimes it's hard to answer exactly why we are doing that. I've been reading a book for the last couple of weeks that is simply called "Rest, Why we Accomplish More When We do Less", and it's really fascinating. The author's main contention is that people who just give themselves to work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work actually accomplish far less than those who deliberately structure their lives around rest.

He looks at all of these extraordinarily productive people throughout history and finds that they all have a pretty standard pattern to their lives. Most of them get up pretty early in the morning, work very solidly with very focused effort and intent for about four to five hours. Then the rest of their lives are given to very deliberate, very purposeful rest. So that includes he talks about the value of naps, for example. I am an avid power nap. Nap for 10 minutes a day can just clear away the cobwebs and you're right back at it. I love those things.

He talks about walking. Charles Dickens walked 10 miles per day. Apparently, he was walking through some fairly unsavory parts of London, so he also had a very large dog that he took with him on these walks, but that was a part of his productivity. Exercise, this is one that I read about. Deep play, you're supposed to have a hobby, something that allows you to engage so deep into the detailed way with it that you're allowed to detach from what you were doing, so that your mind all the science in the subconscious can work out the solutions to what you're doing. Or sabbaticals, taking specific times to get away from what you're doing and engage in deliberate rest so that you come back to your work fully charged.

Well, that's all really fascinating, and it's really interesting, and I'd actually recommend the book. It was really helpful for me. When we come to the issue of the Sabbath, we're coming to something that isn't quite for that reason. Certainly, as we rest on the Sabbath, as we're called to rest on the Sabbath, we are doing so in such a way to recharge us. But our example, the whole reason we are to observe the Sabbath once every week resting from our labors is God himself. When God created the world in six days on the seventh day, he rested from his work. It wasn't because God needed to recharge. It wasn't because he needed to step away from his work to rest his batteries and to get back at it. It was because God was doing something fundamentally different.

Why then do we rest on the Sabbath? Why are we supposed to? In Jesus Day, the issue was that people were overly legalistic about observing the Sabbath. In our day it's probably that we're overly legalistic about insisting that no one ever be stopped from working on the Sabbath. We have a different set of issues, but Jesus confronts both mistakes in this text. Here we see something really profound that Jesus keeps the Sabbath. He keeps the Sabbath that's important, by restoring restful work to those carrying the burden of fruitless inactivity.

The story begins with Jesus coming back to Jerusalem. He was just in Galilee and now he's in Jerusalem. so Galilee is in the north and Jerusalem is in the south in Judea. In chapter six, the next chapter, we're going to see that he's going to be back in Galilee and then he's going to go back to Jerusalem. Jesus is kind of going around to those different regions for specific purposes. When he comes to Jerusalem for a feast, we're not told what feast it is because the feast itself isn't at the center of the issue in this text, the Sabbath is.

So he comes to Jerusalem for a feast, and when he gets to Jerusalem, he comes to this place called Bethesda, which is this area with five roofed colonnades where a multitude of invalids, blind, lame and paralyzed lie around a pool. Now there's a verse here, if you're reading carefully, you notice that verse three skips directly to verse five. That's because at some point, probably what scholars think and the most ancient texts, what we would call verse four doesn't actually exist in the most ancient text. It is probably that some scribe, as he was writing this down, wrote what is in verse four, which you can probably see in your footnotes as sort of in the parentheses, in the margins trying to write down, explain what probably was happening here. Then somewhere along the rest of the line, another scribe took that and just inserted it directly into the text, even though verse four is almost certainly something that John himself did not write. So it's not in most modern Bibles because it wasn't a part of the original manuscripts that the Apostle John wrote.

We have here, though this pool, where in verse seven, the man clearly says that he's expecting that if he could get in the pool, he would be healed. We come to this question, this issue here of this man who's been lying as an invalid for thirty-eight years, and we have to ask a couple of questions. I said earlier that Jesus is keeping Sabbath by relieving the burden of fruitless inactivity. We come to this man, well, I'm talking about this man who's been lying here for thirty-eight years. For thirty eight years, he's been languishing. Physically, he has been suffering. He's been incapable of normal, productive work for thirty-eight years. He's not been profitable. He's not been productive. He's broken. For thirty-eight years, he has awaited healing and none has come so far.

He has a deep physical problem that we also see affects his spiritual demeanor. When Jesus comes to him and asks him if he wishes to be healed, the man can't even answer the question. He doesn't answer the question. It's a yes or no question. Do you want to be healed? In verse six and in verse seven, he says this, not answering the question, "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." The only thing he's able to do is to bemoan his circumstances.

I mean, this is this is tragic. There is this man who is created in the image of the creator and yet his life is utterly barren, fruitless, unproductive. Things are not supposed to be this way. Jesus, as he surveys this man who's a part of his creation, remember the beginning of the gospel of John reminds us of that Jesus, the word who has made flesh is the one who created all things that nothing exists except what Jesus himself created. Here is a man who is not engaging in the mandate that God said to go and subdue creation, to be fruitful, to be to multiply, to feel and be productive in the Earth. This man is doing none of that. Because of that, I understand there's this Sabbath issue, the Pharisees get mad as this man eventually picks up his mat, but that's not the burden in this passage. The burden in this passage is the fact that this man has not been able to work for thirty-eight years.

See, there's this irony in this situation where the Jews insist that the Sabbath is idleness is inactivity. We have here, if that's the case, if that's the only nature of what Sabbath keeping means, then we have here the poster boy of Sabbath keeping. For thirty-eight years, that's nearly 2,000 Sabbath days, this man has been doing nothing but resting on his backside, waiting for the waters to be stirred. The only better Sabbath keeper you could find is someone in a coma. That's not what God wants. That's not what God intends for us. That's not the point of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not about idleness, about inactivity. In fact, we are seeing here a man who is not what he is supposed to be because of the curse of sin.

Now a couple of things that we should see here. Number one, everything in the world that is bad, that is broken, that is fallen, that is unproductive, that is not full and flourishing and free, all of that traces its origin back to the fall. Everything goes back to a spiritual problem that in the beginning, Adam and Eve rebelled against their creator. As a result of their alienation from their creator, from their sin, nothing has ever been the same. Sin reigns, death reigns, disease reigns and unproductivity reigns.

So what, then, if that's the case, why does Jesus heal this man? I mean, it's a good thing none of us would quibble with the fact that Jesus heals this man, but is it to make this man sort of a more productive citizen? Is he trying to make this man be able to achieve the American dream, to work really hard and to make a lot of money and to have his house with his white picket fence and two point five children? All of that stuff? Is that what Jesus intends for this man who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years?

Well, to answer that question, we really have to get to the question of what is Sabbath keeping, because the reason we have this story is not just a generic, bland healing story. This story is intertwined with the issue of Sabbath. Which is why, at the end of verse nine, John drops a bombshell. This is very typical of Hebrew writing. You sort of get through the story and all of a sudden you drop the bombshell to figure out to tell people why this is such a big deal. So Jesus healed someone. Fantastic. Oh, it's the Sabbath Day and he had this man stand up, take up his mat and walk.

The Jews pounce on this, in verse ten saying, "It is the Sabbath and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed." The man sort of pleads, "“The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” The Jews are mad because he told this man, not only was Jesus healing, but he also told someone else to break the Sabbath by picking up his own mat. We find out later in this story that that's why they are persecuting Jesus because he, theoretically, according to their standards, breaks the Sabbath.

So the question is, what does it mean to keep the Sabbath? What is Jesus after and healing this man? To answer that, we have to really go back to the Old Testament and find out what the Sabbath is all about. Exodus chapter 20 we find the Ten Commandments. Now, many of the Ten Commandments only get one verse, or even just a few words in one verse. The Sabbath is so important to God that he gives us a pretty extended treatment, he gives it four verses, and two of those verses are fairly lengthy. So Exodus 20:8-11, God tells us what he wants of us on the Sabbath. This is a part of the Ten Commandments, God's moral law that he gives to us. So Exodus 20:8-11,

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord 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 the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.Exodus 20:8-11, ESV

So Sabbath Day is defined according to a ceasing from work. Again, the background, the foundation, the anchor of the Sabbath goes all the way back to creation. God created over six days and on the seventh day, he rested.

So what then does it mean to rest? This is here the Jews and Jesus start getting into an argument. In fact, Jesus is picking a fight here because he has to go after this issue. Well, if we look through the rest of the Old Testament, when the Sabbath comes up, we come to Jeremiah seventeen. In Jeremiah seventeen, we do find some material about burdens on the Sabbath. You were not allowed to carry burdens on the Sabbath. It's very important to understand what's happening here, because that's probably what the Jews were talking about. Jeremiah 17:19,

19 Thus said the Lord to me: “Go and stand in the People's Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, 20 and say: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. 22 And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. 23 Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction.

24 “‘But if you listen to me, declares the Lord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25 then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever. Jeremiah 17:19, ESV

So at the core of God's promises to his people is to remain in Jerusalem. This is right before, by the way, they did not remain in Jerusalem and were sent into exile. God said, you've got to keep the Sabbath. You've got to not bear burdens on the Sabbath Day. Well, what becomes fairly clear, especially in Nehemiah when this happens again, is that the burdens that he's talking about are not the burdens of a healed man who suddenly walks after thirty-eight years. These are people who are bringing in merchandise. They're going to sell it. They're going to make a whole lot of money. They're bringing burdens in for sale. The same issue comes up in Nehemiah.

So what happens here in John? Chapter five is not a case of a man bearing a burden. It's actually a man rejoicing in God's work of healing in his life. Now, remember what is the Sabbath Day when we go back to? We go back to Genesis chapter two, where at the end of Genesis chapter one, after God was finished making everything, he saw everything that he is made and behold it was very good and there was evening and there was morning.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.Genesis 2:1-3, ESV

God sets the standard not because of resting, not because he is tired, not because he needs to recharge, but because his work was done and it was very good. God rejoiced in his work and he set a pattern and an example for his people to follow that on Sabbath Day after Sabbath Day after Sabbath Day, God's people would rest and rejoice in the works that God has done. It's hard to know which is a greater marvel, the fact that Jesus healed a man who has been lame for thirty-eight years, or the fact that the only thing the Pharisees gleaned from it is that Jesus worked on a Sabbath.

An act of God happens in their midst, and they are more concerned about their legalistic rules. Because, of course, to clarify, the Pharisees had gone beyond the teaching of scripture. They listed thirty-nine types of work and if you did any of those types of work, you were guilty of profaning the Sabbath. By those rules, those traditions that legalism Jesus was in clear violation of the Sabbath.

Jesus here doesn't break the Sabbath. Understand if he did, he could not be perfect. If he didn't fulfill the law, he could not be our savior. If he was flawed or blemished in any way, he could not take our place as a substitute sacrifice a blameless, spotless sacrifice for us on the cross. Jesus fulfills the law; he doesn't abolish the law. He instead shows us what real Sabbath keeping looks like. We'll talk more about that in a moment.

Notice here, then, that Jesus, after he heals a man, he does this act of God to heal this man on the Sabbath. Notice what he comes back to do in verse fourteen. After healing this man's physical needs in verse fourteen, he comes to him and says, "See, you are, well, sin no more that nothing worse may happen to you."

Jesus tells us something interesting about ministry. He starts by addressing this man's physical needs, his bodily ailments, and then he comes back and handles his spiritual needs. Now, it doesn't always work this way. Sometimes Jesus does this in the opposite order. If you remember last week, we looked at the previous text at the end of John chapter four, where Jesus healed an official son. The official came to Jesus and said, my son is dying. Jesus, rather than saying, okay, we're going to handle this physical need first and going and healing the boy, he starts criticizing the man's faith. He says, "Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe." Jesus attacks the spiritual there first. Then he does heal the official's son.

Here are the orders reversed. Jesus first heals this man who is so overcome by despair and hopelessness that he can't even answer Jesus's question in verse seven. So Jesus then, once the man is healed, comes back and begins to minister to this man's spiritual needs. He tells him, you've got to repent. Don't sin anymore. Do not continue in sin so that nothing worse may happen to you. The physical needs are met. Now the man is actually free or in a better position to understand what Jesus is proclaiming to him about his spiritual needs.

You see, one of the ultimate issues at Sabbath observance is that it points to our spiritual condition. In Exodus 31:13, God says to his people,

“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.
Exodus 31:13, ESV

I'm the one who make you holy. I'm the one who make you righteous. You don't do it for yourself. I sanctify you. That's Exodus 31:13. Jesus is telling this man on the Sabbath you have got to rest from the works that you were doing by looking to me.

Now what's sad about this situation is that in verse fifteen, the man doesn't ask more questions of Jesus. He doesn't try to figure out what exactly Jesus is saying. Jesus says something provocative, sin no more that nothing worse may happen to you. Unlike the Samaritan woman, he just doesn't talk to Jesus anymore. In fact, we read that he goes away to betray Jesus's identity to the Jews. He figures Judas going away from Jesus and betraying Jesus to the religious leaders. Jesus is healed this man, but this man still does not believe.

What Jesus demonstrates here is that the ultimate the primary purpose of the Sabbath is to demonstrate to us again and again and again that you and I are not capable of working out our salvation. The whole purpose week by week when we rest is that we are expressing trust that God alone can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. That this was the entire purpose behind God's sending his son into the world to live a perfect life, fulfilling the Sabbath, to die in our place and to be resurrected and to ascend to his father, Jesus. His work is finished and we rest in that work. We remember that Sabbath Day by Sabbath Day.

Jesus here is telling this man to keep the Sabbath by resting from his works, repenting from his sin ,and looking to him in faith. The only salvation, the only holiness, the only righteousness that we can have is when we look to Jesus in faith. Jesus here is keeping the Sabbath in its fullest sense. He is behaving exactly as God did, doing this work of God. He's seeing a man rejoice in the works of God on the Sabbath Day, just as God did at the beginning of creation. He's calling this man to repent according to the spiritual fulfillment of the Sabbath.

Jesus keeps the Sabbath here, and he does it by abolishing this man's burdensome idleness. The question is, we still haven't gotten to the point, what is he want from this man? What does he want from us as we keep the Sabbath? This takes us to the last section. Again, the whole thing that I've been trying to argue from this text is that Jesus keeps the Sabbath by restoring rest for to those carrying the burden of fruitless inactivity. Jesus demonstrates what restful work looks like in verses sixteen through eighteen.

Look at these verses. This was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. " And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working. This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."

What Jesus is saying, look, I am God. He's claiming equality with God. I am the eternally begotten Son of the Father and so if my Father stopped working, the entire cosmos would fall apart. I have to keep working to uphold everything by the word of my power. My father is working, and so I am working because I am equal with my father. The Jews pick up on this and they persecute him all the more.

We figure that out in verse eighteen. But Jesus here is claiming that just as God worked at the beginning of creation, just as God on the Sabbath Day set that part aside, it wasn't that he stopped working. God continues to work, but he's telling us something about his humanity here. By contrast, he's saying, Look as God, I have to keep working and the way I worked as God here in this situation is by healing this man. Creation, redemption, restoration, that's the act of God in this situation. Yet on a human level, again, Jesus is the Christ, he's a human being, fully human and fully God. He's giving us an example and a pattern of what it looks like to live on the Sabbath.

What do you tell the man to do? He said not only in verse eight to get up, take up your bed and walk. The reason that he did that was so that the taking up the bed would be this symbol of rejoicing in the works that God had done in his midst. Just as on the seventh day at the beginning of creation, God rejoiced in his works, resting from his works. The act of taking up the mat was not bearing a burden wasn't Sabbath breaking, it was rejoicing in God's works.

That's why we worship. One of the parts of the Sabbath day that we are commanded to do is enter into worship, where we rejoice in God's work as creator, as providential upholder of the world, as redeemer for sending Jesus Christ into this world to save us. That's part of what God is after from us on the Sabbath Day, to urge worship.

We also see here that Jesus performs this act of mercy. Jesus sees a man who is under the burden of the oppression of the brokenness of the fall for thirty-eight years in a particular way. Jesus takes pity on this man to heal him in his sickness. Jesus cares for the physical as well as for the spiritual when he seeks this man's repentance.

Look, in a true church, we cannot be only a church that seeks the physical good of people. We are not a charity. We are not a social service. We can't just sort of give ourselves to the administration of mercy, goods, and services, but we also cannot pretend that the spiritual is divorced from the physical. That if we just preach the word and if we just talk about theology and appeal to people's minds and souls, that will be enough. God says that as God's people, we can't just say, be warmed and be filled. We have to actually show mercy to people in need. Jesus on the Sabbath Day gives us an example of showing mercy and of commanding worship a joyful response to the works of God.

This is why in the church we have both elders and deacons. Elders in the church are given to the ministry of the word. I'm an elder as a teaching elder, I'm a pastor, but we also have three ruling elders here and we are given to the shepherding and the ministry of the word. We also have four deacons. They do a remarkable job carrying for caring for mercy ministry needs in our midst. When people have physical, tangible needs, the Deacons step in to work with people, to not just to give handouts, but to seek the wholeness of people. Again, poverty is a spiritual condition. Sickness is a spiritual condition. Now the elders are not called to totally ignore mercy needs. In James chapter five it says that when someone is sick, the elders should come and anoint that person with oil and pray over that person. That's a that's a great privilege of an elder. Also, the Deacons are not just sort of there to hand things out. There are also to engage with people, to try to point them to wholeness that is beyond just bodily to spiritual. Jesus comes back to this person and engages his spiritual needs, after meeting his physical needs. As a church, we need both ministries of the word and ministries of deed because Jesus Christ has called us to care for whole people.

The reason we can do this on the Sabbath Day, the reason we're commanded to do this on the Sabbath Day, the reason on the Sabbath Day, we not only preach, but we also open up the food pantry and care for people's material needs in that way. It's because we are in this way, just like this man in this passage, rejoicing and participating in God's works. We take up the offering like we did just right before this, not because we're trying to build a bigger building or something like that or expand what we can do with our money, except in the sense that if we want to carry on the mission, we want to care for people. God calls us to remember that he has provided for our physical needs, so we give money to help those who are in need and also to pay for the proclamation of the Gospel.

We also we do this because these things are connected. God calls us to care for acts of mercy as we proclaim Jesus Christ. These things hold together. This is a part of our mission. This is a part of what it means to be a church. This is a part of what it means to care for people. Jesus sets the example of rejoicing and walking in the works of God on the Sabbath Day.

So let's walk through all this just briefly and recap Jesus sees all of these areas have brokenness. In the midst of this brokenness and the midst of this unfruitful unproductive inactivity, he provides healing, he heals this man. Then Jesus also comes back and addresses the spiritual need of this man, proclaiming to him what Exodus 31:13 says about the Sabbath. That it is to point to our need to look to God in trust, to look to the finished work of Jesus Christ for salvation. Then Jesus also gives us this example for the Sabbath Day of worship and mercy as we seek to see people come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the mission that God has given to the church. Jesus tells us we’re supposed to stop, not because we need a break from our common work, not because our common work is unimportant. God loves our common work. But because God wants us to enter into and participate in his work of caring and redeeming the world as we proclaim the gospel of reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

The question then, is on the Sabbath, on the Lord's Day, are we resting? Are we resting from our stuff so that we can give ourselves to God and to his work? The question then is what would it look like if we did?

Pray with me. Heavenly father, we ask God that you would be gracious to your people, God. The Sabbath is something that your people have struggled with forever. It's not just us. Our particular brand is that we don't want to rest. We want to keep going. We want to keep working. We want to keep producing to achieve that American dream. God, we ask that you would be gracious to us. Lead us into not just rest for today, not just rest so that we can get back at it, but rest where we remember and set aside a day is holy for your works. To remember all that you have done for us in Jesus Christ and to bring us into your work of serving those in our midst who have both physical needs and who need to hear the gospel. We pray that you would do all this and accomplish this in our midst for the sake and the glory of your son, Jesus Christ, and whose name we pray. Amen.