#DailyDevotion What Was The Sabbath For Anyway?
Mark 3:23 One Sabbath [Jesus] was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And 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.”
Well there are a couple of things we can learn from this passage. One of them is the Pharisees had more laws, precepts, and statutes more than the Lord did. We know the Law of Moses didn’t forbid the plucking of grain in the field and eating. Harvesting was a whole other issue. Grinding the grain and making bread out of it also was against the Law. But they were making a law where God did not make a law.
Now Jesus takes this occasion to show another point though. There is the law of necessity. He gives the example of David when he and his men were in need of food entered the house of God (which also was forbidden by the Law) and ate the bread of the Presence. Now the Lord could have struck David dead right there. He could have sent Nathan or another prophet to condemn David for what he did. However, the Lord didn’t. David was seeking to preserve life.
So Jesus tells them, the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Now did this mean anything goes in Jesus’ day on a Sabbath? Well no. The Sabbath was meant to benefit man. It was to give him a day of rest. It was meant to give him time to hear God’s Word, meditate upon it and learn from it. But it wasn’t meant to be a burden on the Israelites but to lift there burden. If there was an issue of life, of preserving life, of doing good rather than allowing harm to come to someone, then they could do something to preserve life and do good. The Pharisees themselves did recognize this. They allowed the saving the life of an animal on the Sabbath.
But they were after Jesus. They were looking for some cause to accuse Jesus. Jesus wouldn’t let them. He makes a bold pronouncement, “The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus is implying he is the Son of Man here. Who is this Son of Man? He is the one coming down with the clouds in Daniel 7 to judge the living and the dead. He is the one given the authority of the Ancient of Days being made equal with Him, i.e. the Father. Being one with the Father he has the authority of the Father. As such, he can dictate how the Sabbath is to be observed.
Now we as Christians, have our Sabbath in Jesus. He has fulfilled the Sabbath for us. The Old Testament laws do not apply to us having been fulfilled in Jesus. When we have been joined to Christ Jesus, we have entered into the eternal Sabbath. Jesus is our rest. (Hebrews 4 and 5) Never the less, we gather to hear God’s Word, receive his gifts and build one another up in the faith in Christian freedom. Since the earliest of times we’ve chosen to do so on Sunday, the day of the resurrection.
Heavenly Father, grant us faith in Jesus that we may enter into his rest and enjoy the eternal Sabbath he has provided for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.