Scripture: Mark 2:23-28
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields; 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 Abiathar 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.
The Lord of the Sabbath feeds and nourishes us
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 Ahimelech the priest (1 Samuel 21:1-6). The
only bread he had was the holy bread offered in the Temple. On
every Sabbath morning twelves loaves were laid before God on a
golden table in the Holy Place. Each loaf represented one of the
twelve tribes of Israel. No one was allowed to eat this bread
except the priests because it represented the very presence of
God. In their hunger and need for physical nourishment and
strength, David and his men ate of this bread which Ahimelech
offered to them.
Jesus' reference to the bread of the Presence (Mark 2:24) alludes to the true bread from heaven which he offers to all who believe in him. Jesus, the Son of David, and the Son of Man, a title for the Messiah, declares that he is "Lord of the Sabbath." Jesus healed on the Sabbath and he showed mercy to those in need. All who are burdened and weary can find true rest and refreshment in him. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord's Day?
"Lord Jesus, may I give you fitting honor in the way I live my life and 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."
1 Praise the LORD. I will give thanks to the LORD
with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the
2 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who have pleasure in them.
5 He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant for ever. Holy and awesome is his name!
10 His praise endures for ever!
Version of the
1973, and Ignatius
Edition of the
Version of the
2006, by the
of the National
Council of the
Churches of Christ
in the United States
of America. Used by
for quotes from the
writings of the
early church fathers
can be found here.
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