Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exod 20:8).
Have you ever wondered why Jesus healed so regularly on the Sabbath? Considering the danger He faced for so doing, why did Jesus seem to choose the Sabbath for healing? To understand, let’s briefly look at the Sabbath.
The first Sabbath was a celebration. God had created everything “very good” in six days, and all that was left was to complete the work he had done by ceasing and enjoying it. In fact, the question the Lord asks Job “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?… when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7) sounds like a reference to the first Sabbath service, all creation rejoicing in the “very good” of God’s work. Yet, as we know all too painfully, we no longer live in the original “very good.” Rather, the world is weary and heavy laden. Particularly for those who have undergone an abortion.
Consider: worldwide there are roughly 40 million children killed each year by abortion.
While not every situation is the same and not every country is the same (for instance, the dynamics of elective abortion in the US are not the same as forced abortion in China), that means that there are 40 million children slain, 80 million women and men wounded. For women, alongside the guilt that many feel, abortion leads to an increased risk of several maladies, among them certain cancers, infertility, depression, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, insomnia, and suicide. Abortion is a heavy weight indeed, and borne on a massive scope.
Herein lies a great opportunity for the Church. To think in terms of a missionary, if we consider those involved in abortion—mothers and fathers, abortionists and other clinic workers, friends or others who have encouraged an abortion, public servants who have supported it, and the like—there is a people group of hundreds of millions, likely approaching a billion, who bear the guilt of abortion, perhaps many of whom have turned away from God because they believe they have forfeited their place with Him. In other words, the Church’s call in responding to abortion is not only to defend the unborn and support their parents but to bear witness to the world that “there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). When the Church is silent about abortion, we imply either that abortion is not that big a deal, and therefore participate in the injustice that leaves children slain and women and men broken and/or hardened, or we imply that abortion is an unspeakable sin and of such magnitude that there is no hope for forgiveness or restoration. In either case, the Gospel is withheld from the weary and heavy laden who desperately need rest.
One day the Lord will restore all things to His original intention. One day, in Christ Jesus, God will wipe away every tear from every eye, righting every injustice, even to the point of raising the dead to life. At that point, the work of God will be complete, and once again all creation will worship God, forgiven and whole. Once again all creation will celebrate the Sabbath, rejoicing in the “very good” of God’s work. The Sabbath is therefore a pledge and a vision that all need to hear, including those burdened due to abortion. Thanks be to God, we have good news indeed.
Perhaps Jesus healed on the Sabbath because it was the most appropriate day to do so.
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).