QUESTION: "You said that Jesus was a homeowner. But Jesus Himself said: 'Foxes have holes (homes), and birds of the air have nests (homes); but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head' (Luke 9:58). It is hard to imagine a homeowner who 'hath not where to lay his head.' Did Jesus mean something other than what He said?"
ANSWER: By way of a brief background to this question, remember that Luke, the author of Acts and his own Gospel, wrote (as a historian naturally would) in chronological order (see Luke 1:1, 3).
Checking the context of the passage in question, we read in Luke 9:51-56: "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Jesus] should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him [make arrangements for a place to stay]. And they [the residents of the village] did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem."
The Samaritans in this particular village did not allow Jesus to stay there because He was on His way to Jerusalem. The location of the Temple was a bone of contention between the Jewish people and the Samaritans (see John 4:20). The Samaritans maintained a rival "holy site" on Mount Gerizim.
Now read Luke 9:57-58, remembering the preceding verses: "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
So how do we understand these verses in context? Jesus had wanted to lodge in a Samaritan village on His way to Jerusalem. The citizenry wouldn't allow it. Therefore, Jesus — in the light of their denying Him overnight accommodations — told the young man that He had no place to stay at the moment.
In other words, at that particular time ("as they went in the way" [verse 57] from one Samaritan village to the next [see verse 56]. He was having difficulty in finding a place to stay overnight on His journey to Jerusalem. It was exemplary of His, at times, difficult ministry.
Jesus did NOT say in Luke 9:57-58 that He did not have a home. A more detailed explanation of this scripture and this whole subject is available in our booklet entitled The Real Jesus.
Q. "I feel that your insistence on Sabbath keeping is an affront to the liberty of the gospel of Christ. I fail to see why Christians 'have to' keep the ritual law as given in the Pentateuch, but I agree that the moral law is unchangeable. As Christians we must love God and our neighbors, for 'love is the fulfilling of the law.'"
A. We respect your right to have an opinion, but we also have an obligation to clarify the issues.
First of all, the Sabbath is not a part of a ritualistic law. It is one of the basic Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5). When a young man asked Jesus how he could enter into eternal life, Jesus replied: "Keep the commandments." Jesus then proceeded to quote several of the commandments of the decalogue to show which law He meant (see Matt. 19:16-19).
Secondly: Since the Sabbath is one of those decalogue commandments, the breaking of which is sin (I John 3:4), a person who has knowledge of the true Sabbath must observe it to avoid sinning.
Thirdly: Jesus Himself talked about the liberty of the gospel. He said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Not understanding what Jesus meant, the Pharisees retorted that they "were never in bondage to any man" (verse 33). So "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin [transgression of the law] is the servant of sin" (verse 34).
Some of the Pharisees were indeed in bondage to sin. And anyone who knowingly breaks God's Sabbath is committing a sin and is, therefore, in spiritual bondage. James said: "... To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
Fourthly: It is fulfilling God's law of love to keep the Sabbath. "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments [including the Sabbath] are not grievous" (I John 5:3). Jesus said: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Further: "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me..." (verse 21).
In summary, keeping the Sabbath is one of the four basic ways in which we love God. It is an unchanging moral law — not a ritualistic law. For a more complete understanding of the fourth commandment, read our free booklets Which Day Is The Christian Sabbath?, Which Day Is The Sabbath Of The New Testament? and Has Time Been Lost?
These three attractively printed publications comprehensively answer most of the commonly asked questions about this subject. Remember, they are provided absolutely without charge by the tithe-paying membership of the Worldwide Church of God.