Relief Society Lesson: Jesus Christ is our example of honoring the Sabbath
In preparing this outline, I copied and pasted all the scriptures they suggested we study into a word document for easy reference. It made six pages, single spaced. This amount of text is overwhelming for any class to try to absorb. I assume that anyone reading this post either has or intends to do the full scripture reading themselves, so I will not reiterate each scripture here. Instead I provide a short bullet-pont summary.
What did Jesus do on the Sabbath?
- Picked corn, rubbed it between fingers
- Disagreed openly with Pharisees
- Quoted scripture
- Taught in the synagogue
- Read thoughts
- Healed the man’s withered hand
- Healed a woman’s infirmity, seemingly a form of paralysis or a spinal issue
- She glorifies God
- He rebukes hypocrisy
- Says to paralyzed man “take up thy bed and walk”
- Testified of God to Pharisees, who were upset
- Testifies he is the Son of God
- Heals congenitally blind man
- Explains that infirmities are not the result of sin
- Makes clay
- Testifies he does the Father’s work
- Gives directions – he told the man to go to the pool of Siloam
In putting together this summary I noticed a few patterns of what the Savior did on the Sabbath
- He rebukes hypocrisy and speaks truth to power regardless of personal risk
- He does good for other people, especially those who he doesn’t know at all but whose needs present themselves
- He testifies of God
To me, then, these three points form a good framework for discussion. One approach would be to divide into three groups, each with a designated facilitator (possibly warned in advance and armed with some discussion questions) to really delve in. Alternatively, the entire class could discuss each topic collectively.
Speaking Truth to Power
In every one of these stories, the Pharisees or the hypocrites murmer together and are upset by why Jesus is doing.
- How do we sometimes act like Pharisees in this respect? What tendencies do we have as a culture to impose our own practices on the Sabbath worship of others? How can we become more like Christ and less like the Pharisees?
- The Pharisees in this context were bullies, planning to hurt Christ. Have you even encountered bullying at church? At home? Professionally?
- What does Christ’s example teach us about responding to these threats?
- How can we identify bullying within our own congregations/homes and change these negative patterns?
- How can you know if you are acting like a bully?
- What are positive strategies for letting church leaders know if their approach to leadership is autocratic or harmful (however unintentional it may be?)
- Is activism an appropriate Sabbath activity? In what ways?
- Have you ever written to a lawmaker or other authority figure to express your views? Have you ever made public issues a matter of personal prayer followed by action? What were these experiences like for you?
- Women in particular are often conditioned to be silent and to get along. How is speaking up compatible with meekness? Can a gentle personality also be bold? What can we do as a Relief Society to practice following the Savior’s example in speaking up when we need to? How can we better support one another as moral voices?
Doing good for others
- Christ was on the lookout for opportunities to connect with those who are often overlooked
- What groups of people are frequently marginalized? Has anyone had meaningful experiences serving with groups in this category?
- Christ found creative solutions
- Anointing eyes with mud has never before or since been a way of helping someone’s vision.
- Have you ever had a creative solution to a problem? How can we be supportive of unconventional solutions from leaders? In what ways are our attitudes sometimes barriers to spiritual innovation?
- Christ talked about it being lawful to do good on the Sabbath. How can you decide in your own life whether something fits with what the Savior would want?
Testifying of Christ and of the Father
- When others questioned his actions, Christ explained that he was doing what the Father would want.
- How can you bear testimony of Christ and the Father?
- What actions can you do on the Sabbath to bear a non-verbal testimony of the Father?