Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Mark 1:21; 6:2; Luke 4:17–19, 31–37; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Luke 6:1–11; 13:10–16
There was no rest last Saturday in Nepal. On April 25, at 11:56 a.m. a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck just 50 miles from Kathmandu, the capital of a country known for holding the highest mountains in the world. At the time of this writing, over 4,300 people are estimated to have died— with casualties expected to rise higher.
Hospitals are flooded with the injured. Morgues are overflowing with the dead. Thousands are trying to flee the area as hundreds of aid workers are attempting to come and help. Families and rescue workers are frantically digging through rubble to find survivors. Aftershocks have frightened people from attempting to re-enter their homes so thousands are living in tent cities in open areas.1
Amid the devastation there is help trickling into the region. Relief supplies are slowly showing up. Plastic sheets, tents, dry food rations, clean water, and blankets are making their way to the people in need. Understandably, there has been some chaos at the local airport as agencies from around the world are sending cargo loads of rescue equipment and medical workers to bring much-needed relief.
It’s a time of unrest. Tempers flare as some people impatiently wait for assistance. The major loss of life raises questions in the hearts of many who wonder why this happened. Some have voiced that the “gods” are angry. As we consider our Sabbath school lesson topic for this week which focuses on the Sabbath, there might be those who ask if such calamities prove that the God of the universe is pouring divine wrath on the earth.
Satan has ever tried to pervert the true character of God. One of his most deceptive schemes was to twist and contort the Sabbath until it became a detestable burden of turmoil. Unnecessary rules were piled on the people until they felt crushed under the rubble of arbitrary laws that benefited selfish leaders.
Jesus came to rescue the Sabbath! The day that was intended to be a time of worship, refreshment, and peace, was reclaimed by the One who created the Sabbath. Christ did not hesitate to throw aside false teachings about the seventh day in order to show us a God of healing and compassion. Luke is especially sensitive to record the lengths to which Jesus restored life and health on the Sabbath.
God is not the author of death and destruction. The Lord is the Creator of life and restoration. As we near the end of earth’s history, it is the wrath of Satan that brings calamities to our world. Despite the trauma, brokenness, and death, there is a Sabbath Healer who reaches into the midst of our pain with a helping hand.
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