The Sabbath (Jn 5:9-5:9)

“Now that day

was the Sabbath.”

Ἦν δὲ σάββατον ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ

John indicated that this day was the Sabbath (Ἦν δὲ σάββατον ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ).  This problem of Jesus healing on the Sabbath was a common problem in the synoptic gospels also, especially the healing of the paralytic in Luke, chapters 6:6-11, Matthew, chapter 12:9-13, and Mark, chapter 3:1-5, as well as the unique story of the man with dropsy in Luke, chapter 14:1-6.  John would join the other synoptics with this story about a man at the pool being cured on the Sabbath.  Do you think that people should be cured on Sundays?

Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27:57-27:57)

“When it was evening,

There came a rich man

From Arimathea,

Named Joseph,

He was also

A disciple of Jesus.”

 

Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ·

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Mark, chapter 15:43.  Luke, chapter 23:50-51, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Matthew said that when it was evening (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), a rich man from Arimathea (ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας), named Joseph (τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ), who was also a disciple of Jesus (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ) came forward.  Notice that it was evening since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days.  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

Jesus heals the man’s hand (Mt 12:13-12:13)

“Then Jesus said

To the man.

‘Stretch out your hand.’

He stretched it out.

It was restored,

As sound as the other.”

 

τότε λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ Ἔκτεινόν σου τὴν χεῖρα. καὶ ἐξέτεινεν, καὶ ἀπεκατεστάθη ὑγιὴς ὡς ἡ ἄλλη.

 

Matthew has Jesus cure the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath.  This is similar to Mark, chapter 3:5, and Luke, chapter 6:10.  After this discussion about the Sabbath, Jesus said to the man with the withered hand (τότε λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ) to stretch out his hand (Ἔκτεινόν σου τὴν χεῖρα).  He then stretched out or extended his hand (καὶ ἐξέτεινεν).  It was restored, so that it was just like his other hand (καὶ ἀπεκατεστάθη ὑγιὴς ὡς ἡ ἄλλη).  After all this discussion, Jesus finally healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath.

Jesus compares sheep to human beings (Mt 12:11-12:12)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Suppose one of you

Has only one sheep.

If it falls into a pit

On the Sabbath,

Will you not lay hold of it?

Will you not lift it out?

How much more valuable

Is a human being

Than a sheep!

Thus,

It is lawful to do good

On the Sabbath.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἕν, καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον, C

πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου. ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν.

 

Matthew has Jesus respond to the Pharisees with his own example about sheep and humans.  This is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 3:3-4, and Luke, chapter 6:8-9, but Matthew was the only one who compared sheep to humans.  Jesus posed a question to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  Suppose a man had only one sheep (Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἕν).  Suppose this one sheep fell into a pit or a ditch on the Sabbath (καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον).  Would this man not grab it and lift it out of the pit (καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον)?  Just think, how much more valuable are human being when compared to a sheep (πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου)!  Thus, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath (ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν).  If you help sheep on the Sabbath, surely you can help humans on the Sabbath.

Can you heal on the Sabbath? (Mt 12:10-12:10)

“A man was there

With a withered hand.

They asked Jesus.

‘Is it lawful to heal

On the Sabbath?’

Thus,

They might accuse him.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν· καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεῦσαι; ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ.

 

Matthew has the discussion about the Sabbath continue in the local synagogue.  This is similar to Mark, chapter 3:1-2, and Luke, chapter 6:6-7.  In this synagogue, there was a man with a withered or dried out hand (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν).  They, the Pharisees, asked, inquired, or interrogated Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) whether it was lawful to heal, cure, or serve anyone on the Sabbath (Εἰ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεῦσαι).  They were trying to see if they could accuse or charge Jesus of breaking the Sabbath (ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ).  Jewish law allowed people to help in cases of distress on the Sabbath.  Clearly, this was a trap question.

The priests in the Temple (Mt 12:5-12:5)

“Have you not read

In the law

That on the Sabbath

The priests in the temple

Break the Sabbath.

Yet they are guiltless?”

 

ἢ οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὅτι τοῖς σάββασιν οἱ ἱερεῖς ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ τὸ σάββατον βεβηλοῦσιν καὶ ἀναίτιοί εἰσιν;

 

This saying is unique to Matthew.  He has Jesus cite an example in Numbers, chapter 28:9-10, where there was a special sacrifice only on the Sabbath.  This sacrifice had two male one-year old lambs without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering.  This was the burnt offering every Sabbath.  This was in addition to the regular burnt offerings and the drink offerings.  However, this sacrifice was not mentioned in any other place in the Torah.  Jesus asked them if they had read the law (ἢ οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῷ νόμῳ) where on the Sabbath (ὅτι τοῖς σάββασιν), the priests in the temple (οἱ ἱερεῖς ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ) broke or profaned the Sabbath with these sacrifices (τὸ σάββατον βεβηλοῦσιν), yet they were guiltless (καὶ ἀναίτιοί εἰσιν).

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.