CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE THIRD COMMANDMENT -- "Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy." -- The Third Commandment isn't necessarily a commandment about a day; rather, it is about God's Word and the honor which it is given by people. God's command to keep the Sabbath Day "holy" is really a command to set aside specific time to be in and around God's Word. In the seven-day creation in Genesis, Moses succinctly states the purpose of the Sabbath: "And on the seventh day, God rested from all of his labors." This was not some trivial moment for God to sit back and admire his creation (though, he could very well have done that since everything he made was "very good"). No, God resting on the seventh day was to provide an explicit example of what he wanted mankind to do: to set aside a day to rest from the every toil and focus on the one thing needful. He gives us rest through his Word. He gives us peace through his Sacraments. It is Jesus himself who is the source of rest for Christians.
It didn't take long after Jesus' ascension for Christians to move their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. This move, while unnoticed in our society, shifted the focus from the Old Testament command of the seventh day to an observance on the day Christ rose from the dead–Sunday. It was on that day that he sealed for us eternal rest and reminded us of the peace we have when he said, "Peace be with you." For this reason, the Luther's explanation in the Small Catechism is appropriate: "that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but regard it has holy and gladly hear and learn it." So then, the Third Commandment teaches us to "set apart" a day from the rest (whichever day it is) by hearing the Word of God through which we are renewed in repentance and faith in Christ.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT -- "Honor your father and mother." -- Under the Fourth Commandment we are reminded that God stands behind fathers, mothers, and all who are in authority. And not only does he stand behind them, but he works through them. In this regard, then, we are to honor them and show them respect–not because they have earned or deserved it–but because God has commanded it and placed them into such a high office. In this commandment, parents and those in authority are reminded not to abuse such an office but to realize the awesome responsibility that has been bestowed on them by God.
Luther's Small Catechism
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