SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Thursday August 8, 1996

Christ and the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).

What new Exodus did Christ face in His public ministry as the God-man? Luke 4:18, 19 (compare Isa. 61:1, 2).

Christ said He came to set the prisoners free. Israelites were in worse slavery than that experienced under Egyptian taskmasters. Bound by their traditional chains, they were attempting to work their way to heaven. Two tractates of the Mishnah (which presents the traditional laws of the Jews) are given over to Sabbath rules and regulations.

What was one method Christ used to dramatize the good news about the Sabbath? Luke 13:11-14; John 5:1-15.

Christ often healed on the Sabbath to illustrate His desire to set people free. He linked healing ministry with Sabbath observance. He attempted to show that "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). The man at the pool of Bethesda had been a captive there for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). Christ knew that this man would ever afterward associate the Sabbath with the restorative presence of the Saviour. To be what God intended it to be, the Sabbath must open up to us how the presence of Christ makes a radical difference in our lives. If we lack the divine presence in our lives, the "Sabbath experience" remains incomplete, even if we are attempting to observe the seventh day.

Why did Christ die on a Friday? Luke 23:54-24:1.

Two beginnings for the race took place on Creation and crucifixion Fridays. These days also marked two ends -- the end of Creation week and of the re-creation sacrifice. The first full day following both Fridays was a Sabbath celebration. At crucifixion weekend, the Sabbath took on additional meaning. Christ's death constituted the greatest exodus ever. He died so that humanity could go free. Calvary is the ultimate revelation that there is a radical distinction between the Creator and the creature. He did for us that which we could never do for ourselves. Crucifixion Sabbath celebrates ultimate spiritual freedom.

How can we as a church more effectively celebrate on the Sabbath this greatest exodus?