This is lesson 6 of 6 in Good Work, a bible study on the gift of work.
- Main Point of the Passage: Jesus overturned the Pharisees’ understanding of the Sabbath.
- Main Point of the Lesson: God gave humans the gift of rest.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will integrate intentional rest into their rhythm of work.
- Key Verse: “Then he told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.’ Mark 2:27
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: What’s the best way to eat a potato?
Share Question: How does it affect you if you don’t get enough rest?
Introduce the Passage: God game humans the gift of rest. God himself rested after the first six days of creation (Genesis 2:2–3). When the Israelites left Egypt, God fed them manna each morning in the wilderness. The gift of manna also came with the gift of the Sabbath. On the sixth day he gave them two days’ worth of bread so they could rest on the seventh day. (Exodus 16:29).
By Jesus’ day, the religious leaders had made the Sabbath into a complex net of rules which they attempted to use as a trap. When Jesus and his disciples violated these rules, Jesus overturned the Pharisees’ understanding of the Sabbath. In fact, they were so angry that they began to plot to kill Jesus.
Study Question: As we read Mark 2:23–3:6, let’s list answers to this question: what did Jesus say or do that made the Pharisees so angry?
Possible answers include:
- He allowed his disciples to pick and eat grain on the Sabbath (vv. 23-24). [The Pharisees might have pointed to Exodus 16:24–30 as evidence that this was unlawful.]
- He reminded them that David also fed his companions in a way that violated the law (vv. 25–26). [See 1 Samuel 21:1–6 and Leviticus 24:5–9.]
- He told them that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (v. 27). [See Exodus 16:29 and 23:12.]
- He told them that “the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (v. 28).
- He silenced them by asking whether it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath (v. 4).
- He healed a man on the Sabbath (v. 5).
Connect-the-Dots Question: Read these passages and identify ways in which Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament idea of the Sabbath?
- Colossians 2:16–17
- Luke 4:16–21
The “year of the Lord’s favor” refers to the Sabbath year or the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:1–12).
- Hebrews 4:3–11
Count-the-Cost Question: If you chose to take a day of rest each week, what challenges would you face?
Let’s-Do-It Question: What could you do differently to receive the gift of rest God has given you?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of rest. Teach us what it means to enter into your rest. Amen.