Pentecost 15 Wednesday
“And Jesus answered and said to the scribes and Pharisees: It is right to heal on the Sabbath?”
By God’s grace we know how God’s command concerning the Sabbath is to be understood, for it reads: “You shall sanctify the Sabbath” or holy day, Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12. Here listen to the words: What does it mean to sanctify or consecrate a day, an hour, a week? Certainly not what the Jews or our mad saints dream, namely, to sit utterly idle and not do anything. Instead, it means, first of all, to do during that time something which is a holy work. This work is one that is properly God’s alone, namely, that above all things God’s Word is preached in a pure and holy way, unlike these scribes and Pharisees who falsify and pervert God’s commandment because they consider an ox or animal to be better than a human being. Part of the Third Commandment is also that the others hear and learn God’s Word and help that it be preached purely and be kept pure…This preaching office is the aspergillum (sprinkler of holy water) which we all should grasp together in order to sanctify ourselves and others thereby. Second, we should grasp by our heart the Word of God we have heard and, thereby, sprinkle ourselves so that it may produce power and fruit in us, and we publicly commit to it, and to intend to remain with it in life and death. Third, once we have heard God’s Word, we should also bring before God a common incense, namely, that we call upon him and pray to him together, which we know to be certainly pleasing to him, especially when it is done in the common assembly. We should also unanimously praise and thank God with rejoicing for all his benefits, temporal and eternal, and for all the miracles he does in his church. And, thus, everything that happens in such an assembly of the whole congregation or church is an utterly holy, divine business and work and a holy Sabbath whereby God is served rightly and holily and all people are helped.