No one can say that Jesus was overly concerned with what the religious leaders thought about Him.
He was a man on a mission, a three-fold mission:
- As the Living Word of God, to reveal God the Father to the People of God,
- As Immanuel, God with Us, to show us how life should be lived, and,
- As the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, to live a sinless life and thus qualify to pay the price for our sins and conquer evil at the cross.
With such a Messianic mission, He did not have much time for critics.
The Lord of the Sabbath
Both Luke and Matthew record Jesus’ statement that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. In John’s gospel much of what Jesus said and did exemplified His lordship over the Lord’s Day. This was the behavior that confounded His enemies.
- He walked in power the leaders did not possess.
- He spoke with an authority the scribes could not match.
- He brought a new understanding of worship the priests could not begin to comprehend.
- He had real answers for the questioning hearts of the people and a healing touch for their frailties and diseases.
- He walked in a joy that exuded strength, just as Nehemiah had promised.
- His laughter could brighten the darkest hour and His very word could calm a storm.
How could the leaders ever hope to match Him? They didn’t try; they criticized Him for doing such wonderful things on the Sabbath.
News of The Father
Jesus presented Jehovah in a new way—He was their Heavenly Father. To do this, Jesus made it clear that He was the Son of God. It was an outrageous claim. They were all children of Abraham, children of the Covenant, but to claim to be the Son of God was novel and ridiculous. Yet, this was the justification Jesus gave for His radical attitude toward the Sabbath and for His miracles and revolutionary teaching.
Thinking of Jehovah as the Heavenly Father, placed Him in an understandable frame of reference. The “heavenly” Father must be far superior to any earthly father. He would be trustworthy and unfailing, holy and compassionate, wise and understanding. This was the Good News of the Gospel. As the Son of such a Heavenly Father, Jesus represented Him perfectly—the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, to use John’s words. Later on Jesus would sum up this part His mission by telling His disciples that when they had seen Him, they had seen the Father. They were equals.
The religious leaders seized this confession as the most damaging evidence against Jesus:
“Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”
To answer their charge, Jesus explained His relationship with God the Father:
- He did nothing on His own, only what He saw the Father doing;
- He walked in the Love of the Father, in constant communication with Him;
- He had life from the Father and could share it with whomever He pleased;
- The Father would judge the world through the Son; and
- He was worthy of the same honor as the Father.
The battle lines were drawn. There was no ambiguity, no misunderstanding. Jesus claimed to be Messiah. What could the leaders do about that?
For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Lord Jesus, I remember the words of Paul, that in all things You “must have supremacy.” It is only right. You are Lord of all! You are Lord of the Sabbath and every other day of the week! You are the Victor over death, hell, and the grave and the Lord of Life. I will honor Your Holy Day for it is a precious gift. It is an outflow of Your mercy and wisdom. I will worship and I will rest. Throughout the week I will remember that You, the Lord of the Sabbath, are with me always! Thank You, Lord! Amen.
Jesus Is Lord of All
Words and Music: Bill and Gloria Gaither
1. All my tomorrows, all my past, Jesus is Lord of all.
I’ve quit my struggles, contentment at last, Jesus is Lord of all.
King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus is Lord of all.
All my possessions and all my life, Jesus is Lord of all.
2. All of my conflicts, all my thoughts, Jesus is Lord of all.
His love wins the battles I could not have fought, Jesus is Lord of all.
3. All of my longings, all my dreams, Jesus is Lord of all.
All of my failures His power redeems, Jesus is Lord of all.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.