Article 2 Sabbath Breaking



By Rev. Ronald Stelzer

Caiaphas Continues The Impeachment
I am Caiaphas, the high priest. We are gathered on this sad and solemn occasion to do something which we don’t want to do, which we wish we didn’t have to do, but something necessary for the good of our nation and according to the law of the land – to exercise our solemn and sacred duty of oversight and bring articles of impeachment against Jesus of Nazareth. I know it is late at night, and this assembly was hastily convened, but this is a matter of extreme urgency, and it cannot wait. The first article of impeachment was for blasphemy. Now we must show abundant, incontrovertible evidence – proof in fact – of this man’s repeated and unrepentant breaking of the law of the Sabbath. We can demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus of Nazareth is guilty of bribery and treason and high crimes and misdemeanors. He was repeatedly confronted by our Department of Justice, but he refused to amend his ways. No one is above the law!

The Sabbath Sets Us Apart As People Of God
We acknowledge that he had the power to heal, but his insistence on repeatedly doing it on the Sabbath despite our remonstrations shows where his power comes from. It is black magic from Beelzebub, the Devil.

The Sabbath Day is sacrosanct. It distinguishes us as the people of God. We all know God Himself gave us through Moses on Mount Sinai the commandment to “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” We are strictly forbidden by God Himself as well as by our own sacred traditions from doing any work on this day. Need I remind you how many times this Jesus broke this law?

Jesus Claims That He is the Only Way
He’s either extremely crazy or extremely arrogant – probably both! He’s so full of himself. Hear his claims: “I am the Light of the World. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Resurrection and the Life. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes unto the Father but by Me.” He dismisses all other religions as Dead Ends. He says , “It’s My way or the highway.” In fact he says, “My way is the Highway, the ONLY Way.” He claims our Jewish religion without him is not enough. That Moses is not enough. He thinks he’s God’s gift to the world.

Some of our elderly fathers can testify that this fellow has been delusional since childhood. He hid from his parents in the Temple, and his excuse was that he must be in his Father’s House doing his Father’s business.

Jesus Heals On The Sabbath
To put it mildly, he and his disciples have a very careless and cavalier attitude toward the Sabbath. They have been seen walking through fields on the Sabbath and picking up grain from the ground and eating it. We all know and he knows we are not to do any harvesting on the Sabbath.

But that was the least of his infractions. He had the gall to heal on the Sabbath – IN THE SYNAGOGUES no less. He healed a cripple at the Pool of Bethesda, in our Holy City Jerusalem! He has no sense of shame. That it was on a Sabbath Day in synagogues or in the shadow of the Temple of Jerusalem made no difference to him. He didn’t care when it was or where he was.

He irreverently and flagrantly ignored God’s law and our traditions, and rationalized his abuses of power – saying it was lawful to do good – saying if one of our animals fell into a pit on the Sabbath, we would pull it out. Oh, he was clever at making up hypotheticals and excuses and justifications for his misbehaviors. He said we circumcise on the Sabbath, so why couldn’t he heal on the Sabbath? Then he added blasphemy to Sabbath-breaking by claiming the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, and that he himself was lord of the Sabbath! Outrageous! Shocking!

Jesus Accused of Bribery
What shall we call this? Bribery – he used his demonic powers to get people to follow him. The Romans have a phrase for it: “QUID PRO QUO.” It is also treason – for it is contrary to our laws. He invites God’s judgment upon our land by breaking God’s law and ignoring our patriotic duty to keep it. If this isn’t high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment, in God’s Name, what is!? I rest my case. Who would dare to speak in his defense?

John “The Disciple” Takes The Stand
My name is John. I am one of Jesus’ disciples. I admit Jesus’ ways are a bit unorthodox – even unprecedented. But I must say everything he did, including what he did on the Sabbath, was out of love and compassion for needy and suffering people. I never thought he was bribing people or pandering to people. In fact, he challenged us – warned us – if we were to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. He said we would be hated by the world if we followed Him. Doesn’t sound like bribery to me!

Jesus Transformed Me
Jesus was often mistreated, but He did not retaliate. Once, when a Samaritan village wouldn’t let us pass through it because we were on our way to Jerusalem, my brother James and I asked Jesus if he wanted us to call down fire from heaven and consume them. He rebuked us and told us that’s not why He had come into this world. I guess that’s why people called us – James and I – Sons of Thunder. But the more I followed Him, over the years my whole personality was transformed. I became known for love – imagine that! Through His influence. I wrote a lot about love in my gospel and three short epistles. I became known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Actually, He loved us all. He washed our feet the night before He went to the cross to die for us. And I alone of all His disciples was at the foot of the cross and heard Him say: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

The Father Decides
I’m embarrassed to say my brother James and I were slow to pick up on his unselfish, sacrificial spirit. We once got our mother to ask Him for a favor: to put us on His right and left hand when He came to power. He said we would drink of the cup He would drink – by which we would be hated by the world because of our allegiance to Him – but he said it was not his decision, but His Father’s, who would sit at His right and left in His kingdom.

We Did Not Recognize Him
You are right to say that Jesus claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath. I believe He is. As I said in the beginning of my Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. By Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. The world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God . . . born of God.”

I agree with what that Roman centurion said when Jesus died as the earth itself darkened and shuddered. He said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” But more than that, He was God, and He is God. And as God, He made the law of the Sabbath, and He is the one who has the right to interpret the law He made, and to change it if He so desires. Let God be God.

It is futile and foolish for mere man to impeach God.

The Impeachment Continues
Read Article 3: Dishonoring Authority

About The Author
Pastor: Rev. Ronald Stelzer is a 3rd generation minister in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and 2nd generation teacher and coach in Lutheran schools.

He was raised in a six-child family in Kansas and Indiana, graduated from St. Paul's Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Davidson College in North Carolina and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and Fort Wayne.

He and wife Margaret of 35 years have six grown children and six grandchildren. He has served two years in sports ministry with Athletes in Action, a year in youth missions with Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, four years as chaplain/teacher/coach at his high school alma mater, and 35 years as pastor of Our Savior, where he helped found and lead Our Savior New American School 28 years ago.

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