And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:23-28
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We are in the fourth week of our Series from the gospel of Mark on “The Life of Christ“ and will be looking at Mark 2:23 – 3:12 throughout the week. Both today’s passage and tomorrow’s passage deal with the “Sabbath” and are further instances where the old and the new collide as Jesus comes face to face with the opposition of religious leaders. This past Friday we said that the focus of the old covenant is the "law" which included ceremonial laws (sacrificial worship), civil laws, and moral laws. While some of the "law" is for all time (you shall not commit adultery), many parts of it were temporary (the cross made them obsolete). So, in regard to the Sabbath, is it for all time or is it obsolete? Answering this question gets a bit tricky. We will be looking at this more fully on Wednesday and Thursday when we will examine chapter 4 of the book of Hebrews. For now, let’s just say that “Sabbath” as a principle carries forward but not as a religious observance.
Under Old Testament Law, Saturday, the seventh day of the week was the Sabbath. It was a day of rest (do no work) and a day of worship (bringing your sacrificial offering to the Temple). The Pharisees who confronted Jesus believed that he and his disciples had violated the Sabbath by picking grain on the Sabbath. They considered this to be doing work on the Sabbath and as a result they viewed Jesus and his disciples as having broken the law. By this point in history the Jewish religious leaders had made defining what was to be considered working on the Sabbath both an art and a science. They had developed an intricate and elaborate set of rules and regulations for what did and did not constitute working on the Sabbath. Jesus cuts through all this religious silliness with two statements in today’s passage.
The first statement is this: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” In other words, it is the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that counts. The second statement is this: “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus again is dealing with their opposition with the simple reality, "I am here." The one who will inaugurate the new covenant has come and is in charge. My disciples and I are going about in the reality of all that is to come because I am here. The simplicity of devotion to Christ is a beautiful thing. We are the redeemed. Christ lives in us by his Spirit. We walk by the Spirit and not by a legalistic devotion to rules and regulations.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for helping me increasingly enter into life by the Spirit over life by law. How beautiful it is to know you intimately, enjoy you wonderfully, be transformed by you triumphantly, walk with you powerfully, and live for you fully! I know it is all because you live in me though the amazing gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen!
Be sure to check out the special posts from this past Saturday and Sunday.
Posted on Mon, January 29, 2018
by Ken Hart