Shepherd God, quiet my racing pulse, restore my jaded spirit, and lead me beside still waters, I pray.
Read MARK 2:23–28
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Be filled with the Spirit … Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.’1
I can’t help wondering whether all this fastidiousness about Sabbath-keeping is really the issue with the Pharisees. We read that they are looking for an excuse to arrest Jesus.2 Is it really because His disciples are picking heads of grain on the Sabbath? Or is it because of His ever-growing popularity? Is it jealousy? Or worse, Is He a threat to the whole complex of religious observance that they have carefully built up, which holds them in prestige? Have they invested their very identity in their tradition?
It is so very easy to confuse worshipping God with maintaining the traditions that support our worship. Transfer of our loyalty can grow imperceptibly out of things that are good in themselves. We love our church buildings, our Christian music, our form of worship, our lifestyles – how we dress, who we mix with, what we do or don’t drink, etc. Even what we believe, since we pay great attention to some things in the Bible (teaching about sexuality?) and read right past others (giving generously to the poor?).3 Then someone does something that crosses the line, and we find ourselves in turmoil.
Jesus crosses the line over and over again, calling people back to what it means to live as the people of God.4 We read of God’s requirements in Micah 6:6–8, ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. James writes of true religion as being ‘quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry … look[ing] after orphans and widows in their distress and … keep[ing] oneself from being polluted by the world’.5 Jesus would love it if we would take away from these readings some new thoughts about what it really means to live for Him. And to put them into practice.
Think about your church family and your own lifestyle. What is Jesus saying to you?
Lord Jesus, as God’s kingdom appeared in You, a new day dawned, and many things were seen in a new light. Give me eyes of faith to see Your work in my world.
1 Eph 5:18,19 2 Mark 3:2 3 Mark 10:21; Gal 2:10; 2 Cor 9:6,7 4 Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18 5 James 1:19–27
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