Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 8, 2018

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 2:23-28.

“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.


The Pharisees at best were following the letter of the Law and not the Spirit of the Law.  And, it was a stretch even under the letter of the Law for the Pharisees to call the picking of just enough grain to eat unlawful.  The Pharisees were also more motivated by their own self-righteousness than they were about genuine care and concern for Jesus and His disciples.  “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”  Matthew 23:4.

Jesus knew that it was more restful and better to pick just enough grain to satisfy their hunger than to obey the Pharisees’ interpretation of the letter of the Law and be hungry throughout the Sabbath.

The Pharisees, and us today, need to be understand that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”  Verse 27.

Accordingly, we read the purpose of the Sabbath is that man (and even his animals) may rest and refresh himself.  “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.”  Exodus 23:12.

More generally, even though the Law is holy and righteous and good, the result of the Law is death for us because of sin within us.  God provided the solution that we are released from the Law and joined to Christ, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  Romans 7:4-6.

“But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;  for apart from the Law sin is dead.  I was once alive apart from the Law;  but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;  and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;  for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.”  Romans 7:8-11.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”  Galatians 3:24-25.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;  …”  Psalm 23:1-3.


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