Daily Devotionals

Daily Devotional

April 20, 2019

A Day of Healing and Joy

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” Luke 13:14, NKJV.

“And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her; and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”

The compassionate heart of Christ was touched at the sight of this suffering woman, and we should suppose that every human being who looked upon her would have rejoiced that she was loosed from her bondage, and healed of an affliction that had bowed her down for eighteen years. But Jesus perceived by the lowering, angry countenances of the priests and rabbis that they felt no joy at her deliverance. They were not ready to utter thankful words because one who had been suffering and deformed by disease was restored to health and symmetry. They felt no gratitude that her deformed body was made comely, and that the Holy Spirit made glad her heart till it overflowed with thankfulness, and she glorified God.

The psalmist says, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.” But in the midst of the words of gratitude is heard a discordant note. “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day.” He was indignant that Christ had caused an unhappy woman to sound a note of joy upon the Sabbath. In a loud voice, harsh with passion, he said to the people, “There are six days in which men ought to work; in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.”

If this man had really had conscientious scruples in regard to the true observance of the Sabbath, he would have discerned the nature and character of the work that Christ had performed…. The work that Christ had done was in harmony with the sanctification of the Sabbath day. The people on this side and that side wondered and were glad at the work that had been wrought for the suffering woman; and there were those whose hearts were touched, whose minds were enlightened, who would have acknowledged themselves the disciples of Christ, had it not been for the lowering, angry countenances of the rabbis. – The Signs of the Times, April 23, 1896.

From Devotional: To Be Like Jesus, p. 148.

Daily Devotional

April 19, 2019

The Sabbath a Sign of Covenant Relationship

It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17, NKJV.

If men and women would acknowledge the true Sabbath, they would not, as they now do, despise the Word of God. The observance of the seventh day would be a golden chain binding them to their Creator. But the commandment which points out who the true God is – the Creator and Ruler of the earth – is dishonored and disobeyed. This is the reason why there is so little stability in the world. The churches have refused God’s sign and misrepresented His character. They have torn down God’s sacred rest day, exalting a spurious sabbath in its place. Oh, that men and women would cease to lock themselves out of heaven by their own perversities. – Manuscript Releases 5:82.

A breach has been made in the law of God, and He is calling for a people that will repair this breach. A spurious sabbath has been exalted instead of the Sabbath of Jehovah. Soon laws will be passed compelling all to observe the first day of the week instead of the seventh. We must meet this difficulty, and we shall find trouble enough, without stirring up contention among those who profess to be keeping God’s commandments. – Manuscript Releases 5:82, 83.

With these plain words [Exodus 31:16, 17] before us, who of those who know the truth will dare to make less prominent the distinguishing features of our faith? It is an established fact, to be made prominent before all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, that the Lord God made the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” – Manuscript Releases 5:83.

The Sabbath was God’s sign between Him and His people, and evidence of His kindness, mercy, and love, a token by which His people are distinguished from all false religionists of the world. And God has pledged Himself that He will bless them in their obedience, showing Himself that He is their God, and has taken them into covenant relation with Himself, and that He will fulfill His promise to all that are obedient. – Manuscript Releases 5:84.

From Devotional: To Be Like Jesus, p. 147.

Daily Devotional

April 18, 2019

The Sabbath Designed to Bring Us Into Harmony With God

And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27, NKJV.

When accused of Sabbathbreaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, and declaring that He worked in harmony with the Father. Now that the disciples are attacked, He cites His accusers to examples from the Old Testament, acts performed on the Sabbath by those who were in the service of God.

The Jewish teachers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and in the Savior’s answer there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings. “Have ye not read so much as this,” He said, “what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread …; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?” (Luke 6:3, 4). “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). “Have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple” (Matthew 12:5, 6). “The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:28)….

Jesus did not let the matter pass without administering a rebuke to His enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. He said, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7). Their many heartless rites could not supply the lack of that truthful integrity and tender love which will ever characterize the true worshiper of God….

It is the service of love that God values. When this is lacking, the mere round of ceremony is an offense to Him. So with the Sabbath. It was designed to bring men and women into communion with God; but when the mind was absorbed with wearisome rites, the object of the Sabbath was thwarted. Its mere outward observance was a mockery. – The Desire of Ages, 284-286.

From Devotional: To Be Like Jesus, p. 146.

Daily Devotional

April 17, 2019

Doing Well on the Sabbath Honors the Day

Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Matthew 12:12, NKJV.

When questioned, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?” Jesus answered, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days” (Matthew 12:10-12).

The spies dared not answer Christ in the presence of the multitude, for fear of involving themselves in difficulty. They knew that He had spoken the truth. Rather than violate their traditions, they would leave a human being to suffer, while they would relieve a brute because of the loss to the owner if it were neglected. Thus greater care was shown for a dumb animal than for a person, who is made in the image of God.

This illustrates the working of all false religions. They originate in the human desire to exalt self above God, but they result in degrading humanity below the brute. Every religion that wars against the sovereignty of God defrauds human beings of the glory which was theirs at the creation, and which is to be restored to them in Christ. Every false religion teaches its adherents to be careless of human needs, sufferings, and rights. The gospel places a high value upon humanity as the purchase of the blood of Christ, and it teaches a tender regard for the wants and woes of humankind….

When Jesus turned upon the Pharisees with the question whether it was lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill, He confronted them with their own wicked purposes. They were hunting His life with bitter hatred, while He was saving life and bringing happiness to multitudes. Was it better to slay upon the Sabbath, as they were planning to do, than to heal the afflicted, as He had done? Was it more righteous to have murder in the heart upon God’s holy day rather than love, which finds expression in deeds of mercy?

In the healing of the withered hand, Jesus condemned the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it. “It is lawful to do well on the sabbath days,” He declared. By sweeping away the senseless restrictions of the Jews, Christ honored the Sabbath, while those who complained of Him were dishonoring God’s holy day. – The Desire of Ages, 286, 287.

From Devotional: To Be Like Jesus, p. 145.

Daily Devotional

April 16, 2019

Do Soul-saving Work on the Sabbath

I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Isaiah 13:12, NKJV.

If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating of the bread that had been set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to supply their need by plucking the grain upon the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the Temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than upon other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful; but the work of the priests was in the service of God. They were performing those rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the object of the Sabbath. But now Christ Himself had come. The disciples, in doing the work of Christ, were engaged in God’s service, and that which was necessary for the accomplishment of this work it was right to do on the Sabbath day.

Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God’s work in this world is the redemption of humankind; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the “Lord of the Sabbath,” One above all question and above all law. This infinite Judge acquits the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating….

Upon another Sabbath, as Jesus entered a synagogue, He saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched Him, eager to see what He would do. The Savior well knew that in healing on the Sabbath He would be regarded as a transgressor, but He did not hesitate to break down the wall of traditional requirements that barricaded the Sabbath. Jesus bade the afflicted man stand forth, and then asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” It was a maxim among the Jews that a failure to do good, when one had opportunity, was to do evil; to neglect to save life was to kill. Thus Jesus met the rabbis on their own ground. “But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Mark 3:4, 5). – The Desire of Ages, 285, 286.

From Devotional: To Be Like Jesus, p. 144.