Daily Lectionary: Exodus 34:29-35:21; Luke 7:36-50

We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it. (Small Catechism: Third Commandment)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It’s a curious thing that while the explanation of the Commandment is concerned with the Sabbath day, it never mentions a day. The Old Testament injunction for the Sabbath day goes all the way back to creation. “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 2:3). As justification for the Third Commandment, God Himself gives this commentary: “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 20:11).

The Sabbath day was written into nature, yet the Small Catechism doesn’t seem concerned at all about resting on the seventh day of the week! What’s changed?

It’s not that the Law has gone away. The principle of rest still remains—if you work and work and work, you’ll work yourself into an early grave. It’s necessary to rest. But the basis of rest isn’t just to take a breather in order to get back to work again. The basis for Sabbath rest is divine worship.

The Sabbath is a day for us to rest and for God to work. In the Old Testament, that day was the seventh day, or Saturday. But Christ fulfilled every Sabbath since the beginning of time with His rest in the tomb on the seventh day of Holy Week. And by His resurrection on the first day (eighth day) of the week, He brought God’s Sabbath rest to every day of the week.

Now, the holy day is every day that is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:5). God’s Word excludes all our work, and bids us rest in the work of Christ. And so we hold God’s Word as sacred and gladly hear and learn it. That is the true Sabbath rest. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

“You shall observe the worship day That peace may fill your home, and pray, And put aside the work you do, So that God may work in you.” Have mercy, Lord! (These Are the Holy Ten Commands, LSB 581:4).

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