Scripture: Mark 2:23-28
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made
their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees
said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"
25 And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was
in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered
the house of God, when Abi'athar was high priest, and ate the bread of
the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and
also gave it to those who were with him?" 27 And he said to them, "The
Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; 28 so the Son of man
is lord even of the Sabbath."
Meditation: What does the commandment "keep holy the Sabbath" require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command? The religious leaders confronted Jesus on this issue. The "Sabbath rest" was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God's goodness and the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. Jesus' disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath.
In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the scriptures that human
need has precedence over ritual custom. When David and his men were fleeing
for their lives, they sought food from Ahim'elech the priest (1 Samuel
21:1-6). The only bread he had was the holy bread offered in the Temple.
None but the priests were allowed to eat it. In their hunger, David and
his men ate of this bread. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that the Sabbath
was given for our benefit, to refresh and renew us in living for God. It
was intended for good and not for evil. Withholding mercy and kindness
in response to human need was not part of Godís intention that we rest
from unnecessary labor. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your
neighbor and celebrate the Lordís
"Lord, may I give you fitting honor in the way I live my life and in
the way I treat my neighbor. May I honor the Lord's Day as a day
holy to you. And may I always treat others with the same mercy
and kindness which you have shown to me. Free me from a critical and intolerant
spirit that I may always seek the good of my neighbor."