Jesus is the Son of Man
Jesus is our Sabbath
Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Luke chapter 6. If you do not have a Bible or know someone who needs one, please see me after the service so we can give you a Bible as our gift to you.
As we have been walking through Lukes Gospel, we have already seen that Jesus ministry is coming into conflict with the Pharisees. Remember we look at who they were, those who help Gods Word in the highest esteem. Those who heold to the highest standard of holiness and Gods law, so much so that many of them added onto Gods Words and his law so that they could be even more holy and righteous, above the everyday, normal Israelite of the day.
We have already seen that Jesus was not saying that the law needed to be lessened, but instead, he was the fulfillment of the Old Testament law. And he was not saying that the Pharisees were wrong in wanting to hold strictly and faithfully to the law of God. But hew is stating that the Pharisees had a fundamental misunderstanding of the law, its purposes and its fulfillment.
Today, we are going to see two more instances of this misunderstanding, in the context of the Sabbath. We will see two examples of Jesus and his disciples acting, in the eyes of the Pharisees, against Gods laws regarding the Sabbath and keeping it holy.
So, lets go ahead and read this mornings passage, Luke chapter 6, verses 1-11. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to read along in your preferred translation. Luke 6:1-11. Luke, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit records the following:
On a Sabbath,[a] while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.
6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Thus says the Word of God.
So here, on a Sabbath, we see Jesus and his disciples. The Sabbath at that time especially was of utmost importance, was of vital importance to Israel, to the Jewish people. The Sabbath was instituted as the last day of the week and by the way days were recorded, that meant from Sundown Friday night to Sundown Saturday night. That’s still considered the Sabbath in the Jewish religion.
Now, we as Christians today, formally acknowledge the Sabbath as the 1st day of the week, Sunday. This occurred because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ taking place ona Sunday morning. Luke tells us in Acts that the church would meet on the first day of the week. So, if there is any question, that’s why we meet in church on Sunday mornings instead on Friday nights or Saturdays.
Back to the story, Jesus and his disciples were walking on a Sabbath, and they were walking along a grain field. As they got hungry, the disciples pick some of the grain around them and rubbed it between their fingers and ate the grains.
Now, the scriptures were very clear that this was lawful. We read back in Deuteronomy 23:25: If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.
This was a provision put in place by God to help take are of those who were hungry and needed help. Obviously, there were limits to it. You couldn’t take your scythe and start harvesting the grain, but you were legally allowed, and the way I read it, encourage to grab a handful of grain, if you wanted to.
Now, that they did this wasn’t a problem. The problem that the Pharisees had was that the disciples did this in the Sabbath. We see that the Sabbath was included in the 10 commandments. Looking at Exodus 20:8-11, it reads:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Now, its important to see that this law regarding the Sabbath was rooted in creation, rooted in Genesis. We will get back to that in a few moments. But the idea was that there would be a day of rest, a day of not working. And so work was not allowed on the Sabbath. Rest was commanded.
No one would have, or should have thought that what the disciples did in this instance was working in the Sabbath. But the Pharisees did. They were so worried about breaking Gods law that they added 39 clarifications to their understanding of the law. This would include grabbing the heads of grain being harvesting and this would include the rubbing the heads of grain as threshing. Work being done on the Sabbath. Therefore, against the law.
You know, chalk another one up in the “Reasons Im not Jesus,” but if I were him, Id be pretty tired and frustrated with the Pharisees at this point. I might even have smited them at this point. Smited? Smote? Whatever. The point is that Jesus is able to see through all the things being done to him and against him and see that the Pharisees, first and foremost, sinners in need of Gods grace and forgiveness, and second, they were serving a purpose of Jesus teaching us the truth of these situations that we don’t completely understand.
So the Pharisees expressed their outrage over the disciples working by harvesting and threshing on the Sabbath and Jesus responds by bringing up a story about David from 1 Samuel 21. In short, there was bread that was not supposed to be eaten by anyone but the priests. David and his army were on the run from King Saul and his men and had no food. The priest gave David and his men the holy bread and they ate of it. The point, as RC Sproul says, is that “ceremony does not outweigh the fundamental needs of human life.”
David and his army, not to mention the disciples, they did not commit vandalism. They were not acting frivolously. They acted out of genuine hunger. Mercy was given, both by the priest in the temple and by God in putting these provisions into the law.