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Pharisee & Me, Introduction

August 17, 2010

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

It sounds simple doesn’t it? Keep the Sabbath day holy. It isn’t even all God had to say on the subject.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:9-11

That should pretty much tidy it up shouldn’t it? Answer all of the questions we may have? But wait, what does work mean? How do we know when we are working and not working? Shouldn’t someone help us better understand? I think it is pretty easy to see how the Jews got into trouble and maybe even more easy to see how they couldn’t see the problems they had created.

I recently stepped back into the religious world of my youth for a time. The world where certain things are clear. Work is work and we have defined work and didn’t God say we can’t work so what is the problem, don’t work.

The struggle I found myself in is with the fact that my brain doesn’t even work that way. In Matthew 12:1 the Matthew records that Jesus was harvesting grain with his followers on the Sabbath. Would you call that work? It certainly took effort. Jesus response is something very interesting. He says that he “desires mercy not sacrifice.”

The remainder of Hosea 6:6 may add to the discussion, “and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Could it be that when we define work and we spend our time coming up with rules that we suck out the desire, the passion, the I’m going to live that way because I want to out of following Jesus?

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:2

The Pharisees said it looked like work and I have to be honest, it probably would have bothered me. I think there is something larger at play, a desire for honest, heart felt love. It is something that just going to church won’t fix. Listening to sermons won’t heal. It is something much deeper and personal.

There is something there, something I need to think about, something that needs to consume me. It is easy for me to identify the pharisee in others, the problem is often times the pharisee is me.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 1:28 pm

    We have a love/hate relationship with rules. We like rules. Rules create boundaries. Rules establish what’s acceptable and what’s not. Rules = safety, comfort, control. We hate rules. Rules exclude others. Rules inhibit creativity. Rules become little lords in themselves. How do we live with rules without loving rules? There is a Pharisee in me that is just dying to get out. Sometimes I let him. I usually regret that!

  2. August 18, 2010 3:55 pm

    Thanks for your words JD. It is a struggle. I think the post I have for today touches on what you are saying.

    Thanks for your comment.

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