Which Day is the Sabbath?

Pentecost 15 Sunday

Luke 14:1-4

“And it happened that he came to a house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a Sabbath to eat bread; and they were watching him. And look, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded and said to the scribes and Pharisees: Is it right to heal on the Sabbath? Yet they were silent. And he touched him and healed him and let him go.”

We Christians know by God’s grace how to keep the Sabbath. For we have learned it from this Lord of ours, the Son of God. It is true that at the time, the particular day of the Sabbath was ordained for the Jewish people, also a particular place, and a particular priesthood and worship. For all this had to take place only in their land and at the temple in Jerusalem by the Levites who were of priestly lineage, from which alone servants of the church had to be chosen. Yet we, who are in the kingdom of our Lord Christ, are not tied in this way to one lineage or place so as to be required to meet
in one place and to be served by one lineage or one kind of particular people. Rather, we all are priests, as is written in 1 Peter 2:5, 9, so that we all should at all times and in all places proclaim God’s Word and work and so that those who have the grace and understanding of Scripture may individually be called to the preaching office out of all kinds of persons, lineages, and stations in life in order to teach others. In the same way, we are also lords of the Sabbath with Christ and through Christ, as he himself says in Matthew 12:8: “The Sabbath is made for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the Sabbath.” This is why “the Son of Man is a Lord also of the Sabbath,” Mark 2:27. Therefore, all who believe in him are also lords of the Sabbath…We now have the freedom that, if the Sabbath or Sunday does not please us, we may take Monday or any other day of the week and turn it into a Sunday. Yet this must be done in an orderly manner, so that there is a day or time which is suitable for us all. This is not something where each has the authority to make something special for himself in the things pertaining to the whole congregation or the common church, or to change the appointed time or day, unless a particular common need requires it.

St. Louis ed., 12:1963-1964.

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