These are the catechetical notes for older children learning the catechism. Each week has an assigned part of the Small Catechism for you to teach your children as well as a corresponding Bible passage to reinforce the Catechism. Your children are expected to memorize the assigned catechism text.
Make sure to recite the “core texts” of the catechism (Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer) every day as part of your devotions. Remember that consistency is key and “repetition is the mother of learning” (repetition est mater studiorum). If you have any questions, please feel free to call, text, or email.
Trinity 22 Small Catechism (Learn-by-Heart)
REVIEW FIRST TWO COMMANDMENTS WITH “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?”
Third Commandment (with What does this mean?)
F: What is the Third Commandment?
C: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
F: What does this mean?
C: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
Overview for Fathers
Fathers, Luther summarizes the Third Commandment in the following way:
“First of all, we keep holy days for bodily causes and necessities, which nature teaches and requires. We keep them for the common people, manservants and maidservants [employees], who have been attending to their work and trade the whole week. In this way they may withdraw in order to rest for a day and be refreshed.”
“Second, and most especially, on this day of rest (since we can get no other chance), we have the freedom and time to attend Divine Service. We come together to hear and use God’s Word, and then to praise God, to sing and to pray (Colossians 3:16).”
Luther’s Large Catechism, § 83–84, pgs. 126–27
Discussion Questions on the Third Commandment
- What is the “Sabbath day”? (Small Catechism, question 48)
After God made the world in six days, he rested on the seventh day (Read Genesis 2:2–3).The word “Sabbath” means “rest” in Hebrew.
- What did the Old Testament Jews do on the Sabbath? (Small Catechism, questions 48–49)
The Old Testament Jews set aside the Saturday, “the seventh day,” as a day of rest and a day of prayer (worship) in order to keep what God had commanded them (Exodus 20:8–11). They refrained from unnecessary work.
- Why do we not observe the Sabbath on Saturday?
The early Christian Church began to observe the day of worship on Sunday because it is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Sabbath day by “resting in the tomb.” Likewise, Christians are not obligated to keep the Old Testament festivals and feasts, because the Old Testament ceremonial law has now been set aside (Colossians 2:16–17).
- Is the Sabbath day only about refraining from work?
No, the Sabbath day is also about hearing the Word of the Lord. In the New Testament, Jesus shows us that the Jews gathered in the synagogues to hear preaching. Likewise, Jesus himself read Scripture and taught on the Sabbath days (see Mark 1:21, 6:2; Luke 4:16, 4:31). He also healed on the Sabbath days in the synagogue (see Mark 3:1–5).
For this reason, Luther summed it up in his hymn on the Ten Commandments:
“You shall observe the worship day
that peace may fill your home, and pray,
and put aside the work you do,
so that God may work in you.
Have mercy, Lord!“
(Lutheran Service Book # 581, stz. 4)
- How do we break the Third Commandment? (Small Catechism, question 50)
We break the Third Commandment (1) by failing to gather together for the Divine Service on Sunday morning, (2) by rejecting or disregarding God’s Word when it is read or preached to us by our pastor, and (3) by encouraging others to despise the Church and God’s Word.
- How do we keep the Third commandment? (Small Catechism, question 50)
We should set aside time to attend the Divine Service on Sunday mornings. Also when we hear God’s Word and preaching, we should not despise it or ignore it, but rather pay attention to it and try our best to learn it. If we have questions about Holy Scripture, we should ask our pastor.
- What are the ways that “God works in us” on Sunday morning? (Small Catechism, question 52)
If we think about the outline of the Divine Service, there are basically three ways that God works in us during the Divine Service:
(1) Confession and Absolution = God forgives us of our sins.
(2) Service of the Word = God teaches us.
(3) Service of the Sacrament = God forgives us, feeds our souls, and strengthens us by Jesus’ body and blood.
- Why else did God give us the Third Commandment? (Small Catechism, question 52)
Besides His Word and Sacraments, God has also given us fellow Christians (a congregation) so that we can support one another in the faith. He has given us a pastor so that we have someone who can care for our souls. He has also given us brothers and sisters in Christ who are our true eternal family (see Luke 8:21).
This Week’s Bible Passage: Luke 6:1–11
- When the disciples were hungry what did they do?
They ate the heads of grain (wheat) by rubbing them together in their hands.
- Why did this upset the Pharisees?
They thought that keeping the Sabbath mean that all work was forbidden, even plucking grain and eating it. According to the Old Testament, breaking the Sabbath day was punishable by death (see Exodus 35:2).
- What justification does Jesus give for the disciples?
King David once went into the temple and ate from the bread of the Presence (the bread that was set before God in the temple). God did not destroy David, but provided for him. Similarly, the disciples are now eating bread in God’s presence (Jesus) and Jesus (the Son of Man) is the same Lord of the Sabbath in the Old Testament.
- What happened on the next Sabbath?
The next Sabbath day, the Pharisees were trying to use the same excuse (that no work be done on Sabbath) in order to trap Jesus. Jesus went into the Sabbath and was teaching and then saw a man whose hand was withered and healed it.
- Why would this upset the Pharisees?
The Pharisees would have considered this to be work, and would have condemned Jesus (see question 2 above).
- What justification does Jesus give for his healing?
He asks the Pharisees whether it is lawful to do good and to save life on the Sabbath. The obvious answer is yes. Therefore, clearly, healing (or mercy) was certainly lawful on the Sabbath day.
- What is the application for us?
Likewise, we are not to use the Sabbath or the Divine Service as an excuse not to do good things for our families or neighbors. But most importantly, we should realize that the Sabbath day is the day that Jesus takes care of us and heals us with his forgiveness. As Luther says, “Set aside the work you do, so that God made work in you.”
- What does this have to do with Divine Service (Sunday morning service)?
Jesus fed the disciples with bread, taught them, and healed them. Likewise, every Sunday morning Jesus feeds us with his body and blood, teaches us, and heals us by giving us forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.