The problem of the Sabbath (Lk 14:5-14:5)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘If one of you

Has a child

Or an ox

That has fallen

Into a well,

Will you not

Immediately

Pull him out

On a Sabbath day?’”

 

καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται, καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said to the lawyers and the Pharisees (καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν) that if anyone of them had a child or an ox (Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς) that had fallen into a well or pit (εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται), would they not immediately pull him out (καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν) even on a Sabbath day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου)?  Jesus turned the question of the Sabbath around.  He wondered what these lawyers and Pharisees would do if their son or their ox fell into a pit or well.  He pointed out that they would immediately pull him out of the well, no matter what day of the week it was.  Would you help someone in distress on Sunday?

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Do not heal on the Sabbath! (Lk 13:14-13:14)

“But the leader

Of the synagogue,

Became indignant

Because Jesus

Had cured

On the Sabbath.

He said

To the crowd of people.

‘There are six days

On which work

Ought to be done.

Come on those days!

Be cured!

But not

On the Sabbath day!’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἀρχισυνάγωγος, ἀγανακτῶν ὅτι τῷ σαββάτῳ ἐθεράπευσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ἔλεγεν τῷ ὄχλῳ ὅτι Ἓξ ἡμέραι εἰσὶν ἐν αἷς δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι· ἐν αὐταῖς οὖν ἐρχόμενοι θεραπεύεσθε καὶ μὴ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου.

 

Luke uniquely said that this physical healing made the leader of the synagogue become indignant (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἀρχισυνάγωγος, ἀγανακτῶν).  Jesus had cured this crippled lady on the Sabbath (ὅτι τῷ σαββάτῳ ἐθεράπευσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  This leader said to the crowd of people (ἔλεγεν τῷ ὄχλῳ) that there were 6 days when work ought to be done (ὅτι Ἓξ ἡμέραι εἰσὶν ἐν αἷς δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι).  They could come on those days to be cured (ἐν αὐταῖς οὖν ἐρχόμενοι θεραπεύεσθε), but not on the Sabbath day (καὶ μὴ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου).  This synagogue leader took offense at Jesus for physically curing this crippled woman on the Sabbath at the very Sabbath service itself.  He told the synagogue crowd that healings should take place anytime during those days, but not on the Sabbath.  Would you think about going to a doctor on a Sunday?

They went to the tomb on the first day of the week (Mk 16:2-16:2)

“Very early

On the first day

Of the week,

When the sun

Had risen,

They went

To the tomb.”

 

καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα, ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου.

 

All 4 gospel stories. Matthew, chapter 28:1, Luke, chapter 24:1, John, chapter 20:1, and here in Mark have this visit to the tomb take place in the early morning of the first day of the week, Sunday.  Interesting enough the same Greek word is used for the day Sabbath and the week “σαββάτων.”  Thus, this would have been the 3rd day since the death of Jesus on Friday.  Mark said that very early on the first day of the week (καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων) when the sun had risen (ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου), these 3 women went to the tomb (ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα).

The Marys visit the tomb (Mt 28:1-28:1)

“After the Sabbath,

As the first day

Of the week

Was dawning,

Mary Magdalene

And the other Mary

Went to see

The tomb.”

 

Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων, τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον.

 

There is no confusion about the day of the week when the empty tomb was first found.  All 4 gospel stories have it take place after the Sabbath, on the early morning of the first day of the week, Sunday.  Interesting enough the same Greek word is used for the day Sabbath and the week “σαββάτων.”  Thus, this would have been the 3rd day since the death of Jesus on Friday.  Mark, chapter 16:1-2, has something similar.  However, the other Mary was identified as the mother of James, but also with Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee.  Luke, chapter 23:56-24:1, said that it was the women from Galilee who brought spices to anoint the body.  Only Luke did not mention Mary Magdalene.  John, chapter 20:1, said that it was Mary Magdalene alone who came to the tomb.  In all these stories, there was either one or more women, no men, who came to the tomb.  Matthew said that after the sabbath (Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων), as the first day of the week was dawning (τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων), Mary Magdalene (ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ) and the other Mary (καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία) went to see or experience the tomb (θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον).  The idea of visiting a tomb or grave site would not have been out of the question, since this was a common practice.

Christian Worship Practice

Sunday worship on the Sabbath is the key Christian ritual, with special emphasis on the Easter and Christmas ceremonies.  Sunday is the day of worship rather than Saturday because Sunday is the day of the Lord’s resurrection.  Thus, every Sunday is a little Easter celebration.  Worship centers on Bible readings and their interpretation with sermons and testimonials.  Prayers, hymns, chants and the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharistic meal, remain a mainstay of most Christian worship services.  The various Christian symbolic actions or sacraments grow out of a Trinitarian baptism based on a belief in Jesus Christ.