Mark 2: 23-28 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
27 And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.
Now before you excommunicate me from writing a devotional blog, please hear me out. Jesus fulfilled every letter of the law. He was constantly in the synagogue. But He recognized and understood the purpose of the Sabbath. He worshipped His Father.
Here we have a incident when Jesus was with His friends and have mercy they were hungry and had the audacity to pick a few ears of corn (?) to eat out of a portion of the field reserved for those in need. (Leviticus 23:22) Now I am not advocating we break the law on our way to worship for our personal pursuits but let’s face it, Jesus was not here on earth for His personal pleasure: The cross loomed on the horizon every single day once His ministry began. He knew how to focus on the important and let the petty go.
The Pharisees had expanded the “law” of “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy……..” (Exodus 20:8-11) to ridiculous limitations. They thought picking an ear of corn to eat because they were hungry was work and there was to be NO WORK on the sabbath. Just the act of walking more than a specified number of steps was considered work. One of the commands of the Law was that no one should travel on the Sabbath. (Exodus 16:29 “Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out”). The way the Pharisees applied this was to say that, of course it was acceptable to leave your own house on the Sabbath, but you could only take a certain number of steps away from your house.” (Fakegesis February 25) Even today, “Chabad.org encourages their practitioners only to walk on the Sabbath (no driving, biking, roller blading, bus riding, etc.), and to not go more than 2,000 cubits (.596 miles) from outside their city limits. This distance is corroborated by the Babylonian Talmud.” This is not many steps for all you with FitBits, Jawbones, or other digital step counters! So, you were able to walk further in the “big city” than the small town.
Where were Jesus and His followers headed? Did they have a legitimate destination? They were headed to the synagogue. (Mark 3:1) Can you remember your last trip to church? Did you go over the speed limit by even one mile per hour attempting to be on time? Did you stop to purchase cookies for the nursery? Was the infraction of the “law” justified? If so, what justified the action?
Jesus got pretty bent out of shape over this pettiness. So much so that He marched into the temple, healed a withered hand in front of the Pharisees, and asked the question, “Who is the Sabbath for?” (Matthew 12:8-13) The Pharisees missed the entire point of the Sabbath! Do you wonder who worshipped more on this particular Sabbath: the man with the healed hand or the Pharisees? We all know the answer to this question: The man with the new hand is still worshipping the Creator!
Today, we pick and choose the laws we want to keep and enforce. No drinking and driving is acceptable but going 74 mph in a 65 mph speed zone is “okay” because they don’t give tickets until you are 10 mph over the speed limit. I know, now I am meddling! The fact is, we justify the laws we break. Jesus did not fail to keep the whole law. He knew not only the law, but understood its intent and heart. The Pharisees were more interested in the law than the people. Because Jesus pointed out to them the error of their ways, He “ruffled their feathers” and He became enemy number one. Not much has changed in 2000 years. Jesus said, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17) Jesus like all mankind was tempted to view the law as a suggestion. We view all laws as suggestions based on our own desires and what benefits our personal agendas. Jesus, however, kept the whole law (Romans 10:4) for us and because He did so, His perfect righteousness is now imputed to us! Jesus kept the Law: all was embodied in “love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
My Life is in You Lord by Don Moen
Treading in deep murky water,