Daily Devotional

A Park in Time

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. . . . “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” Luke 4:16-18, NIV.

A park is a refuge in space. My friends who live in Manhattan tell me how precious Central Park is to them. They live and work surrounded by towering buildings and pavement. The pace of city life is frantic, unrelenting. But when they step into Central Park, everything changes. Trees offer shade. They find grass for spreading a blanket and sharing a picnic. My friends say that while in the park they feel a thousand miles away from the pressure, the stress, the frantic pace.

The Sabbath is a refuge in time. For 24 hours every week God invites us to put aside the struggle to earn a living, to get A’s in school, to keep an immaculate house. During those 24 hours He invites us to act out the rest we have in Jesus. The Sabbath is the gospel in dramatic form. For a whole day we rest in the accomplishments of our Saviour. We shut out all the demands and expectations of the world and luxuriate in the promises of God.

Notice how Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4). During a Sabbath worship service Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61, a passage that predicts the coming of the Messiah in the language of the Jubilee, the time when Israelites should release captives and set free the oppressed (Lev. 25:10, 40, 54).

Luke then follows with two healing episodes. Both of them occurred on Sabbath. The first one happened in Capernaum during a Sabbath service at which Jesus healed a possessed man, freeing him from spiritual slavery to a demon (Luke 4:33-37). The second occurred later the same day in the home of Peter, where Jesus and the disciples had gone to eat after church. There Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law’s high fever (verses 38, 39).

Notice the way Luke tells these stories. First Jesus announces His mission as Messiah by quoting Isaiah about freeing the oppressed. Next He brings spiritual healing to a man possessed by a demon. Then He gives physical healing to a woman suffering from a fever. I think Jesus was telling us something about the meaning of the Sabbath, don’t you?

Why do you spend all your time among towering problems and dead-end pavement, when God has provided a weekly park in time for you to enjoy? Why not follow the custom of Jesus?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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