Jesus Is The Greater Sabbath
In our passage today, we see an example of Jesus defying the expectations of the religious elite. The Sabbath is indeed something ordained by God for our good (see: Exodus 31:12-18, Hebrews 4:8-11). But the Pharisees missed the point of the Sabbath. To them, keeping the Sabbath was one more thing they could hang their hat on. Jesus wants them to see that the true intent of the Sabbath is to seek rest and peace in God.
The two main issues the Pharisees take are eating and healing on the Sabbath. Many of the rules that the Pharisees were holding to come from rabbinic teaching called Shabbat. There are 39 things prohibited by the Shabbat on the Sabbath. These 39 prohibitions are not God’s design for the Sabbath.
When we think of how this applies to us, we need to ask ourselves in what ways are we adding more pressure to following Jesus than needs to be there? This doesn’t mean that we should not seek to live obedient, radical lives for God’s glory. But we should not place undue regulations on ourselves and others that God does not place on us. We cannot be our own savior, and when we begin to think about our spiritual disciplines, making disciples, or serving others as ways that we gain approval from God, we begin to go down that road. So my encouragement to you is to follow Jesus boldly, with radical obedience, but do so with growing dependence on Christ and not yourself.
By: Graham Withers