Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
The Lord Jesus, when He was on Earth said, “When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father… John 14:9.” He also said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do John 5:19.” What do we see Jesus doing? We see Him going about teaching, preaching, and healing all manner of sickness and disease (Matthew 4:23); we see Him healing every sickness and every disease among the people (Matthew 9:35). We can see then that the Father’s will is to heal.
We can also see something else about the healing ministry of Jesus. The Lord Jesus’ miracle healing ministry included several healings done on the Sabbath. In fact, in Luke 4:14-32 Jesus opened His preaching and healing ministry on the Sabbath. Have you ever noticed how the Gospel writers by the Holy Spirit did not mention that He did miracles on many different days although we know He did? The word Sabbath means to rest from labor and the seventh day. The very first healing we see from Jesus and what displays the heart of the Father is done on a certain day called the Sabbath. This is no coincidence.
God established the concept of rest from labor long before God gave the Law to Moses that incorporated the Sabbath rest principle in the Law (Genesis 2:2, 3). The Sabbath under the Law was to be kept holy where the people were to enter into rest Exodus 16:23-30. Six days labor, do all thy work, but the seventh do no work. Notice as the concept of the Sabbath was put into the Ten Commandments and further developed that the work that is forbidden by the Sabbath is man’s work Exodus 20:8-11. The Sabbath was a day when men were commanded not to work. Despite the Word of God warning about keeping the Sabbath, rarely did it define or give examples of what constituted work. The Pharisees (separate ones), a religious and political party known for insisting the law of God be observed especially rituals of purity did define it. By the time of Jesus’ ministry they had categorized Sabbath restrictions especially work in a code of oral traditions and thousands of specific rules for every situation or contingency. Of all the many regulations the Pharisees kept, the Sabbath laws stood at the top and they thought they kept these laws the best while looking down on others.
Now into this religious setting comes the ministry of Jesus healing on the Sabbath (Luke 4:31-37; Luke 4:38, 39; Luke 6:6-11; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14:1-5; John 5:1-18; 7:23, 24; John 9:1-4). The first two had no opposition from the Pharisees, but last five all had significant opposition. Why on the Sabbath?
- They are the core of His assault against the religious Pharisee-ism; the religious thinking of His day; religious system of His day; their adding requirements beyond God’s Word that became burdens and bondage.
- They demonstrate the grace and mercy of God and that healing is the total work of God.
Remember the Sabbath was a day when men were commanded not to work so if a healing or miracle took place it had to be by the work of God, the grace of God because the Lord would not honor man’s own efforts on that day. That is why Jesus delighted in healing on the Sabbath. It pointed out God’s mercy and grace. Healing is a part of the total finished work of God.
The Old Testament concept of rest was introduced as a Sabbath rest and to cease from your labor and work. God announced in the Old Testament another day that would make this rest available. That day was the day of our redemption (Psalm 118:22-24) which we know to be the day Jesus died on the cross and paid the full price for our freedom. The Sabbath in the law was just a shadow of a reality and good things to come (Colossians 2:16, 17). The rest available under Christ knows no shadow. The rest, the ceasing from work and labor, is not for one day in a week but for a life available through faith in His finished work. This rest remains or continues to exist for us to enter into every day by a walk of faith in His grace.