They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. The day that Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes was a Sabbath. So again the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” he told them. “I washed and I can see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for He doesn’t keep the Sabbath!” But others were saying, “How can a sinful man perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. John 9:13-16 HCSB
While traveling in Israel I was present over a Sabbath. Orthodox Jews in Israel are prohibited from performing any work on the Sabbath. Consequently, elevators in tall buildings in Israel are shut down each Sabbath because the act of summoning an elevator would be classified as work.
To make mud, Jesus would have had to put water and dirt together, which would have been considered work by the Pharisees. They had gone to great detail to establish rules that would define what one could and could not do on the Sabbath. So by making the mud, Jesus was breaking the Sabbath ordinances according to the Pharisees. When God instructed, “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy,” (Exodus 20:8) He never intended for man to make a set of rules and regulations to prevent acts of ministry. Jesus’ actions prove that God is more interested in people resting and praising God for what He has done rather than following a set of rules.
Challenge: God intends for us to keep the Sabbath holy by resting from our normal work and devoting time to praise Him with a worshipful attitude. He knows that we all need to take a day to rest. Today’s busy culture makes it difficult to slow down and truly rest on the Sabbath. Simply following a list of rules and regulations does not create personal holiness nor does it make the Sabbath holy. Take time to rest and worship God each Sunday.