13th May 2011

Who Is Lord?

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the cornfields, and his disciples began to pick some ears of corn, rub them in their hands and eat the grain. Some of the Pharisees asked, Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? Jesus answered them, Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 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. Then Jesus said to them, The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Luke 6:1-5 (NIV UK)

Perhaps you can identify with gathering fresh food from a field? Delicious!

Most scholars place the above story in early May when the corn would have been in the ear but not yet ready for reaping. Note that the Pharisees were watching, maybe in order to accuse Jesus. Anyway, when they saw his hungry disciples pick the corn, they accused them of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus’ reply infuriates the Pharisees and shows an extensive knowledge of scripture. He uses David as an example. David had envisioned the first temple and was highly regarded by the religious leaders. Jesus says that David did something similar to if not worse than what his disciples had just done. It involved the bread of the Presence (1 Samuel 21:6), not something as mundane as ears of corn. On the Sabbath when the bread was replaced in the holy of holies (see Leviticus 24:8) David and his men, who were hungry, ate the leftover consecrated batch, which only priests were permitted to eat. Human need, Jesus implies, is more important than ceremonial laws.

Besides, Jesus knew that priests worked on the Sabbath (e g Numbers 28:9-10). Matthew’s account of this story refers to this happening in the temple, and Jesus states, referring to himself, that “one greater than the temple is here” (Matthew 12:5-6). If the priests in the temple, doing the temple work, could break the Sabbath regulations without condemnation, how much more may the servants of Christ, who is holier and greater than the temple, break them without being condemned by the Pharisees?

Hence “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”. He has divine authority over Old Testament laws and patterns of worship.

We all have our collection of rules and regulations out of which we operate. Perhaps they comfort us and make us feel secure, and we get upset if someone tramples over them. Don’t let them get in the way of doing our temple work. Jesus is Lord over them too.

Father, help me to submit to the authority of Jesus.

Study by James Henderson

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