Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Hemmingsen on the Sabbath and Christian Festivals (8)

Here are Hemmingsen’s next three assertiones. Hemmingsen unfortunately lumps all Jews together in claiming that they completely misunderstood the Sabbath, which is obviously false. In assertio 20, it becomes clear what his actual target is: the Pharisees as described in the gospels, who attacked Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

Assertions concerning the Sabbath and the Festivals of Christians (Continued)

18. True Sabbath obedience for the Jews consisted in being exempt from servile works, in observing ceremonies and sacrifices, in discussing and meditating on heavenly teaching, and in performing the exercises of charity.

  1. But as hypocrites always cling to the husk of Scripture, so they also did not understand the true and spiritual works of the Sabbath; they understood the rest of the Sabbath simply as being an exemption from work.

20. Hence it is that the Pharisees accused Christ of having violated the Sabbath, because he was healing on the day of the Sabbath, not understanding how much that healing was useful for meditating on the true Sabbath. For, first of all, that healing was not a servile work forbidden by the law, but rather was clearly a divine work, by which God’s glory was rendered illustrious among men, in a way much more excellent than by all ceremonies and sacrifices: by it, the presence of the Messiah was signified, to whom the entire law of Moses looked; by it, Christ’s teaching was confirmed; by it faith was kindled in many; by it, charity toward one’s neighbors in affliction was declared; finally, by it, true reason for Sabbath-rest was made known.1

  1. The translation is my own.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.