The last number of Sundays in the Gospel of Mark we have seen Jesus in three separate conflicts with the religious leaders of the day. In each instance Jesus’ ministry is questioned and then vindicated. This pattern of conflict followed by Jesus’ vindication of his ministry continues in two more vignettes that both revolve around the same topic – the Sabbath. Already in his Gospel, Mark has given us a picture of what a typical Sabbath day in the life of our Lord looked like. But now he reveals that Jesus’ observance of the Sabbath didn’t quite fit the Pharisees’ notion of what was acceptable – Jesus didn’t fit into their expectations of Messiah and so conflict ensues once again.
But before we get to a survey of this conflict and Jesus’ triumph, it would be prudent to spend this Lord’s Day discussing the relationship between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. Should we believe that the command to observe a weekly Sabbath continues in the present age? And, if so, in what form does it continue? Answering these questions will help us to profit more fully from the story of Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees because knowing whether or not Sabbath observance continues to be required of the people of God will affect the points of application that we draw from the conflict. So to ask again, should we believe that the command to observe a weekly Sabbath continues in the present age?