Today you should read: Luke 6:1-11
Many stories in the previous few chapters illustrate Jesus’ power and authority. In today’s passage, as Jesus and some of His disciples were walking through a grainfield, they were picking off heads of grain and eating them. However, because you can’t just eat the grain and you have to rub off the chaff (i.e. threshing), they were doing “work,” which is a “no-no” on the Sabbath.
When I say “no-no,” we must understand that nothing in the OT prohibits such actions. In fact, Deuteronomy 23:25 actually allows for this exact practice. However, threshing on the Sabbath was strictly prohibited in the Mishnah, the oral tradition of interpretation surrounding the Mosaic Law. The idea was that the Jews did not want to break the Mosaic Law, therefore they created rules to keep themselves away from breaking the Law, so that they didn’t even get close. Eventually, these rules became synonymous with the Law itself in the mind of many religious leaders, and it was through these rules that they held true power in the community. The Law was intended to reflect the heart of God, the rules presented in the Mishnah often only reflected judgement and hypocrisy.
Because Jesus and his disciples were “threshing” on the Sabbath, some of the Pharisees called him out. Jesus’ response was a reminder of King David when he and his men ate the bread of the presence because they were hungry (1 Samuel 21:6), and then he said something astonishing—“The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” As these words left Jesus’ lips you can imagine the Pharisaical jaws dropping, loud gasps, hands wringing, and other dramatic gestures.
These men had studies the prophet, Daniel, which has a clear-cut Messianic claim, that says,
13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.”
Let me ask a dumb question, “If the Son of Man will come and have ‘everlasting dominion’ over everything, does that include the Sabbath?”
Starting in verse 6, we have another Sabbath situation that illustrates the failure of the religious leaders to understand God’s heart in the Sabbath. Jesus’ question in verse 9 is essentially asking, “Is it ok to do good on the Sabbath? And oh, by the way, a failure to do good is the same thing as doing harm!”
Because the religious leaders did not do “work” on the Sabbath, that means they failed to do good on too many occasions. The Sabbath is for rest, yes, but not at the expense of loving your neighbor as yourself. Thus ask yourself today, what habits or hobbies do you have in your life that hinder loving God and loving others consistently?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
3 thoughts on “January 19, 2018”
Great commentary this morning Tyler, thanks! And a great reminder that Jesus is Lord… by wrapping our faith in a tangle of rules, it’s almost as though we’re trying to take his lordship back from him.
Hebrews 11:6 says that those who come to God must believe that He is a rewarded of those who seek Him. The passage we read today shows how God is more interested in love than in rules of engagement. His love sets us free. Freedom from rules and freedom to be compassionate. Christ came to meet our needs by releasing us from the law. We can truly live. Have I been looking at Christ as bringing us rewards or as a God that is exacting more parameters to be complied with? His love allows us to go to Him for His care and in turn, care for others. “And the greatest of these is love.”
I am currently reading a book on The Battle of The Bulge that took place during WWII in Bastogne, Belgium from December 1944 to mid January 1945. You may recall from history that it was one of the most decisive victories for the American Military and led to the final defeat of Nazi Germany just 4 months later in May 1945.
There is a story in the book about an old Belgium woman that perfectly illustrates honoring the Lord by doing good on the Sabbath. During The Battle of the Bulge the American forces were nearly completely surround by the Nazi Army and supply lines were completely cut off. Soldiers were beginning to starve and suffered greatly in the harsh winter conditions. A group of American soldiers stumbled into the home of an old farmer and his wife in Bastogne one Sunday evening freezing and nearly starving to death. The old woman rushed to help them and began baking bread with the only flour she had left to feed her husband & herself. The soldiers were well fed and kept warm for the evening. The old farmer told the soldiers that it was the first time in 60 years he had ever seen his wife do any form of work on the Sabbath. All the soldiers that were there that cold Sunday evening in Bastogne recount the story in great detail. Belgium was liberated by Allied Forces shortly after this event and the old woman was celebrated as a hero. Clearly this wonderful, godly woman understood that doing good on the Sabbath honored the Lord more than following man made laws regarding abstaining from work.