Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
Second Sunday After
Option #1: "The Purpose of The Day of
Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.
Whenever the cameras pan over a Moslem city, you see the
minarets. They are towers that broadcast the call to prayer four times each day.
Many Moslem countries mix religion and politics. It wasn’t long ago that an
Afghan man had death threats because he had become a Christian. America has
always had freedom of religion. We are free to worship or not to worship. So how
do we decide? And how do help our family or friends decide correctly? In his
response to the law-oriented Pharisees, Jesus teaches us THE PURPOSE OF THE DAY
I. Not to lay another guilt trip on us
A. It was a capital crime in the OT to violate the Sabbath--Ex 31:15-17;
B. Pharisees added to God’s law--Matt 23:23-39; Matt 11:28-30
C. King David showed that laws--e.g., Ex 29:32-33--are made for
humanity’s benefit, not for its harm--text, vv25-26
D. Jesus sets His people free from the law’s accusations and
II. The Day of Rest in the New Testament is to give an
opportunity for self-examination, meditation, and spiritual growth-- text,
A. Self-examination--1 Cor 11:28, 2 Cor 13:5, Ps 119:59
B. Meditation--Josh 1:8ff; Ps 48:9, 77:12, 119:15-16, 27-28, 143:5-6
C. Growth--1 Cor 3:6-9; Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:17-18
Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Mark 2:28:
God ordained the Sabbath not only to be a picture of that rest which remains
for the people of God, but to be also a means of promoting the welfare of
people in general... God prohibited work on the Sabbath day, lest servants
should be oppressed by their masters, that the laboring beasts might have
necessary rest, and that people might have a proper opportunity to attend to
spiritual and eternal truth.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "Grow up into him in all things":
We must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. If we would
ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesus--in his presence--ripened by
the sunshine of his smiles. We must hold sweet communion with him. As
the sun rises first on mountain-tops and gilds them with his light, and
presents one of the most charming sights to the eye of the traveler; so
is it delightful to see the glow of the Spirit’s light on the head of
some saint who has grown in the Spirit.
Object: loaf of bread to illustrate John 6:35: "Man was not made for the
Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man."
Jesus lived 2,000 years ago in a world very different from ours and in a
country far away from ours. They worshiped on Saturday, the seventh day, the
last day of the week. We worship on Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead
on Sunday and because the Holy Spirit was given on Sunday.
In Old Testament times you couldn’t work on the Sabbath Day; you couldn’t
even pick up sticks or you would get in deep trouble. On one Sabbath Day,
Jesus’ disciples were hungry, so as they were walking through a field of
grain they picked kernels of wheat and ate them. The Pharisees said that
this was wrong.
That’s when Jesus said something that many people today don’t understand. He
said: "The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath." What
does this mean? It means that God tells us to worship because it is good for
us. We need it. What food is to our bodies, the words of Jesus are to our
souls. Jesus said: (John 6:35) "I am the bread of life. He who comes to
me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
Our souls, our spiritual lives, grow when we are fed with God’s Word. That’s
what Jesus means when he says that "The Sabbath (the day of worship) was
made for man." It was designed for our good.
So I hope you won’t let silly things keep you away from God’s house. You can
go have fun on the weekend; just find a place to worship where you are. If you
have a friend over, bring your friend to church with you. We wouldn’t stop
eating just because it’s the weekend when we want to have fun. So why should we
stop feeding our souls?
"God Uses Cracked Pots!"
Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
The Point: Our
"crackpot bodies" and lives ultimately serve to point to Jesus Christ.
Congregational personalities and conflicts blur our vision.
God "cracked" Christ for us and, through the Spirit, turns our eyes from
ourselves to the gracious work of Christ which brings life to us and,
through us, to others.
The above is inspired by
and adapted from a sermon study by David Schmitt.
1. Mary Dessein
retells this Indian fable about a water-bearer. A water-bearer carries two
large pots on a yoke across his shoulders, up the hill from the river, to
his master's house each day. One, has a crack and leaks half its water out
each day before arriving at the house. The other pot, is perfect and always
delivered a full portion of water after the long walk from the
river. Finally, after years of arriving half-empty and feeling guilty, the
cracked pot apologized to the water-bearer. It was miserable. "I'm sorry
that I couldn't accomplish what the perfect pot did." The water-bearer says,
"What do you have to apologize for?" "After all this time, I still only
deliver half my load of water. I make more work for you because of my flaw."
The man smiled and told the pot. "Take note of all the lovely flowers
growing on the side of the path where I carried you. The flowers grew so
lovely because of the water you leaked. There are no flowers on the perfect
2. Mahatma Gandhi said
"My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my
successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet. Why should He
have chosen me, an imperfect instrument, for such a mighty experiment? I
think He deliberately did so."
3. Leonard Cohen:
"Ring the bells
that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack,
a crack in everything. That’s where the light gets in, that’s where the
lights gets in."
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was revised on:
Monday, November 13, 2006 12:59:36 PM