Series: The Gospel: It's Not...
Message: About the Sabbath
Preacher: Mark Johnson
Daily Walk: Mark Johnson
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 94:11-15.
Read: Mark 2:27; Romans 13:10 (NIV). As you read the New International Version, note 1-3 insights.
Reflect: In C. S. Lewis's book, The Pilgrim's Regress, he tells the story of a young boy named John. One dark, cold, wet morning John's parents make him put on "the ugliest clothes that had ever been put upon him," and they take him to meet the Steward, who is the man "who makes rules for all the country round here," and works for the Landlord, who owns all the country. John is afraid, but when he is taken into the room with the Steward he finds he is "an old man with a red, round face, who was very kind and full of jokes, so that John quite got over his fears." But just when things seemed to be going well for John, the Steward "took down a mask from the wall with a long white beard attached to it and suddenly clapped it on his face, so that his appearance was awful."
"'Now I am going to talk to you about the Landlord," he said. "The Landlord owns all the country, and it is very, very kind of him to allow us to live on it at all—very, very kind." Then the Steward took down from a peg a big card with small print all over it, and said, "Here is a list of all the things the Landlord says you must not do. You'd better look at it." John is told that if he does break any of the Landlord's rules, he will "take you and shut you up for ever and ever in a black hole full of snakes and scorpions as large as lobsters—for ever and ever." As John looks at the list of rules he sees that half of them "forbid things he had never heard of, and the other half forbade things he was doing every day and could not imagine not doing. Then the Steward took off the mask and had a nice sensible chat with John again, and gave him a cake and brought him out to his father and mother. But just as they were going he bent down and whispered in John's ear, 'I shouldn't bother about it all too much if I were you.' At the same time he slipped the card of the rules into John's hand and told him he could keep it for his own use."
I don't remember the exact day or place where it happened, but somebody slipped me a list of the Landlord's rules when I was young and told me if I broke any of them He would take me and burn me for breaking the rules and for squandering His great love and kindness. He was, after all, very, very kind to allow me to live at all. No wonder it was so hard to believe that God was loving, or to see how my loving Him and others could be counted as keeping all the rules.
Respond: Pray for a clearer understanding of how love is the fulfilling of the law.
Research: Read The Pilgrims Regress by C. S. Lewis.