Eight Significant Sabbaths

22 Oct
Sabbath - 1

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Luke mentions that on a certain Sabbath day Jesus was invited to eat a meal in the home of a prominent Pharisee (Luke 14:1). This particular Sabbath is probably significant, because it was the eighth and final Sabbath that the Gospel narratives mention in Jesus public ministry.[1] One other Sabbath is mentioned in the Gospel narratives, but on it Jesus lay dead in the tomb after his crucifixion (Luke 23:50-54). All that is said about Jesus in the Gospel narratives is in one way or another built up around these seven Sabbath days, and, since no one Gospel writer mentions all of them, taken together they unite the four in a manner in which one might otherwise miss, if one simply reads the four narratives individually.

In the beginning of his public ministry and on the first Sabbath (Luke 4:16), Jesus entered the synagogue claiming to be the Messiah (Luke 4:17-21), but the people rejected him and tried to cast him off a high precipice in order to show he wasn’t who he claimed to be (Luke 4:28-29; cf. Luke 4:9-12).

Later, on the second Sabbath mentioned in his ministry, Jesus was confronted by a man possessed with a demon, who claimed Jesus would only bring the nation to destruction by claiming he was the Messiah, but Jesus cast out the demon and healed the man (Luke 4:31-37). Afterward, in Peter’s home, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law who lay in bed, sick. She was then able to rise and serve them (Luke 4:38-39).

On the third Sabbath mentioned in Jesus’ public ministry, he was accused of breaking the Sabbath, but it was his accusers who weren’t celebrating the Sabbath as it ought to have been done. Jesus showed how Scripture claimed that he, the Messiah, was Lord over the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5). Therefore, not only were his accusers wrong, but they should have been looking to him to show them how they should have been celebrating the very day that celebrates God’s creative power.

On the fourth Sabbath Jesus healed a man with a withered right hand (Luke 6:6-10). He was asked if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath, but Jesus asked his enemies if it were lawful to do evil or good on the Sabbath. They, themselves, allowed one to defend himself in the event of an attack of the enemy, even if the attack occurred on the Sabbath day. Through healing the man, Jesus showed his enemies how illogical their traditions were when they claimed those traditions caused men to obey God. Nevertheless, just as the man with the withered right hand was unable to work out his own will with that hand, they were unable to serve God through their traditions. Only through the power of Jesus, the Messiah, were they enabled to serve God.

On the fifth Sabbath Jesus healed a man who had been impotent for 38 years (John 5:1-9), which typified the 38 years all Israel was immobile or stalled in one place in the wilderness, unable to move forward into the Promised Land. The impotent man represents man’s insensitivity to spiritual matters, and such a thing can be healed only by God. When questioned why he unlawfully healed the man on the Sabbath, Jesus claimed equality with God (John 5:17-18), but, since his enemies welcomed honor, not from God, but only from among themselves (John 5:44), they couldn’t possibly honor the Messiah, i.e. Jesus (John 5:41), because he came, not in the name of men, whom they welcomed, but in the name of God (John 5:43).

On the sixth Sabbath Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9:1-14), showing that a physically blind man was able to distinguish spiritual truth (John 9:30-33), while Jesus’ accusers, who could see physically, remained spiritually blind to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah (John 9:34), even though he continually did what the Messiah was prophesied to do when he came.

On the seventh Sabbath that is referred to in the Gospel narratives (Luke 13:10-17), Jesus healed a woman who was unable to straighten up, but was bent over for 18 years. On this occasion Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of his enemies and the bankruptcy of their traditions by showing that they, through their traditions, exercised more mercy toward animals than they did for the descendants of Abraham.

On the eighth Sabbath Jesus pointed toward the resurrection and the coming of the new age which is the Kingdom of God (Luke 14:1-15). Jesus healed a man who probably suffered of heart disease (Luke 14:2-4), which, no doubt, pointed to the heart condition of Jesus’ host and the guests at their gathering (Luke 14:7-13). The eighth Sabbath pointed to the circumcision of Isaac on the eighth day (Genesis 21:4), and at this time Jesus seemed to be particularly concerned with desires of the flesh, as though he had come to circumcise the nation.

Moreover, Milcah bore eight men to Nahor, Abraham’s brother, and the eighth son, Bethuel, bore Rebeccah (Genesis 22:20-23), who is a type of the nation (or the Church/believers). She was the wife of Isaac, who typified Jesus, the Messiah, and son of David, who was the eighth son of Jesse (1Samuel 17:12). Additionally, the Messiah was to be the Savior of the nation, and Noah, the eighth patriarch, is seen as the savior of mankind, in that he and his family were saved from the Flood (2Peter 2:5), i.e. a total of eight souls (1Peter 3:20).

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1Corinthians 15:50), and Jesus was pointing out in Luke 14:1-15 that, if the nation wanted to be saved and be brought into the new age (Kingdom of God), they needed to circumcise their fleshy hearts and believe and submit themselves to their Messiah.


[1] The eight Sabbaths are 1) Luke 4:16; 2) Luke 4:31-37, 38-39; 3) Luke 6:1-5; 4) Luke 6:6-10; 5) John 5:1-9; 6) John 9:1-14; 7) Luke 13:10-17;and 8) Luke 14:1-6

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Posted by on October 22, 2017 in Gospel of Luke


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