“Should God forbid the sun to perform its office upon the Sabbath, cut off its genial rays from warming the earth and nourishing vegetation? Must the system of worlds stand still through that holy day? Should He command the brooks to stay from watering the fields and forests, and bid the waves of the sea still their ceaseless ebbing and flowing? Must the wheat and corn stop growing, and the ripening cluster defer its purple bloom? Must the trees and flowers put forth no bud nor blossom on the Sabbath?
“In such a case, men would miss the fruits of the earth, and the blessings that make life desirable. Nature must continue her unvarying course. God could not for a moment stay His hand, or man would faint and die. And man also has a work to perform on this day. The necessities of life must be attended to, the sick must be cared for, the wants of the needy must be supplied. He will not be held guiltless who neglects to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. God’s holy rest day was made for man, and acts of mercy are in perfect harmony with its intent. God does not desire His creatures to suffer an hour’s pain that may be relieved upon the Sabbath or any other day.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 206, 207.
It’s easy today, with hindsight, to mock the hardness and coldness of those religious leaders who attacked Jesus for His Sabbath healing. And they certainly will be judged for their actions. At the same time, try to put yourself in their sandals. These man-made rules had been around for so long that these leaders all but thought the rules were the very essence of Sabbath-keeping itself; hence, they truly believed that Jesus was violating the Sabbath. How would we feel were someone to come along today and, claiming great light and truth, maybe even doing miracles, yet was in our view trampling on the fourth commandment? How might we react? What important lesson can we learn from this exercise about knowing how to separate truth from mere tradition and why it is not always easy to do?
Examine more in class this idea that God rested after His work of Creation and His work of Redemption. How are we to understand the significance of this amazing fact?
Place yourself in the shoes of someone who believes that Jesus’ miracles on the Sabbath showed that He was abolishing it. Compare what the Bible teaches He said and did with what you would imagine Him doing were He really making this change. What do you imagine He would have done differently?
The Bible reveals the Lord as the Lord of the seventh-day Sabbath, the most basic sign of Him as Creator and Redeemer.