1 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.
9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
There is a lot we could talk about it this passage, but I want to focus on the phrase where Jesus says that He is “Lord of the Sabbath”.
Clearly the Pharisees had taken the concept of the Sabbath to the extreme and demanded that no one should lift a finger on the Sabbath. However, it occurs to me that in our efforts to get away from such legalism perhaps many of us (myself included) have neglected to actually make Jesus Lord of our Sabbath.
Since there are no restrictions on what we can do on our Sabbath day, we may use that day to squeeze in multiple activities such as shopping, household chores, kids’ events, etc., etc. …. instead of setting the day aside for worship, rest and renewal.
God made the Sabbath for us because He knows that we need it to thrive in this world. It is meant to be life-giving, not life-draining. It is meant to be a gift, a time apart from the relentless demands of daily life, a time to rest in God’s presence and be refreshed and restored by Him.
The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. I am challenged to look afresh as what might our Sabbaths look like under His gracious rule?
Lord Jesus, help us to keep your Sabbath in a way that honours You. Not out of legalism but out of the knowledge that You have designed it as a blessing for us to worship and to rest in You.
Written by Shelley Witt