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HONORING THE SABBATH
(Keeping the LORD in our Sabbath)
Human need must always take precedence over ritual law, and even the Pharisees, who vehemently opposed JESUS, had always taught that people should adhere to that principal. Strangely, however, when JESUS applied this same principal in their presence, over and over again, they acted as if HE were violating GOD’s Will by attending to the needs of the people.
One Sabbath day when JESUS and HIS disciples were walking through some wheat fields, HIS disciples begin to pick off some of the heads of the wheat, rub off the husk with their hands and eat them. A group of Pharisees who were spying on the group, begin to rebuke them for their actions. “It is against the law to do such things on the Sabbath” they cried.
Here in this passage the disciples were being scrutinized and rebuked by Israel’s religious hierarchy for several actions that they deemed to be contrary to the Word of GOD, and as forbidden work on the Sabbath. Here they actually cite these four, rather ridiculous, violations;
· Reaping (by picking the wheat),
· Threshing (by rubbing the husk from the wheat in their hands),
· Winnowing (by tossing the husk in the air to let it blow away), and, believe it or not,
· Preparing their food on the Sabbath (the very fact that they then ate the wheat).
In verses 3-5 JESUS reminds these teachers of religious law of what King David did when he and his companions were hungry (1 Samuel 21:1-6), and they went into the House of GOD and ate the special “showbread” (the Bread of Presence) that was reserved for the priests only. He took these twelve loaves of special bread that was placed weekly (on the Sabbath) on a table made of solid gold, three feet long, eighteen inches wide, and nine inches high, and he ate it, and gave some to his men. In that particular incident, David’s human need took precedence over their religious rules and regulations, JESUS cites. Then JESUS exclaimed, “I, the SON OF MAN, am master even of the Sabbath”.
I’ve often said that it is extremely important that man approach the Scriptures with an open mind, and time and time again, it was clearly demonstrated by the Pharisses that, they did not come to GOD with an open mind. Despite all of their deep studies, somehow, they regularly seemed to miss the moral and spiritual message in GOD’s Word. It is something that has become the absolute downfall of leadership in the professed Christian Churches, even here in the twenty-first century. So often, man has come to Scriptures, not to learn of GOD’s Word, but rather, to find their own theology, within GOD’s Word. Man has long sought a god that is made in his own image, instead of desiring to serve and worship the GOD WHO made us in HIS. When we come to GOD’s Word with no sense of need, we always miss the most profound importance of its meaning. Here in this passage of Scripture, once again, we see these leaders of religion in Israel, doing just that.
In verses 6-11, on yet another Sabbath day, even as JESUS was teaching in the synagogue, we see a man with a deformed hand catch the attention of JESUS. The teachers of religious law closely watched JESUS to see what HE would do, because they were eager to find some legal charge to bring against HIM. JESUS, knowing their thoughts, said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand here where everyone can see you”. After the man came up, JESUS said to HIS critics, “I have a question for you. Is it legal to do good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing harm? Is this a day to save a life, or to destroy it?
JESUS intently looked around at each of them, one by one, and then said to the man with the deformed hand, “Reach out your hand”. The man reached out his hand and it became normal again. The religious leaders became very angry, and they began to discuss among each other what they should do about JESUS.
Here in Luke 6:1-11, conflict with the religious hierarchy in Israel over Sabbath-keeping heats to a boil. Their emphasis on ceremonial observances has clearly distorted what GOD’s intent was on giving man a Sabbath day of rest. They, perhaps unwittingly, had set aside the more important issue of caring for the needs of others.
JESUS clearly understood that the man in question was not in a life-or-death situation, however, what JESUS is demonstrating and expressing here is that, anything that impairs the quality of human life, as GOD intended it to be, does, over time, destroy life. When we fail to set right, those things that impair the quality of life, we, in effect, show disrespect to GOD’s greatest gift, which is life. And JESUS says that, when HE returns, HE is going to judge us according to how we reacted to “human need”, in our lifetime (Matthew 25:31-46).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website