The Gospel of Luke | Sabbath Works | Luke 6.1-3|

by | Feb 17, 2021

“One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 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

Jesus taught much on the Sabbath and I would argue this is not his most widely known teaching. That probably would be when he talks about how people are made for the Sabbath, not Sabbath for people (Mark 2.27).

But this teaching is really “delightful” (to quote my friend Dr. Billy Abraham!). I picture a bright sunny Saturday (Sunday for us), perhaps in the Spring or Summer when grain is ready to be harvested. The disciples are in a good time in Jesus’ ministry. They chose well by saying yes to this discipleship and now their master and rabbi has actually given them the authority to not only go for a walk on the Sabbath (this was typically limited by distance and by demand) but also to pick heads of grain and eat the kernels for a snack. I am envisioning them walking together, picking the grain, eating and being merry. They are doing exactly what I think God intended them to do on the Sabbath — to enjoy it!

However the Pharisees, who also seemed to be lurking and observing Jesus’ every move with his disciples (kind of like ours modern cable new outlets) — asked him, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Now Jesus knew the 613 Laws of Moses, he understood what it said to do and not to do. So when asked this question Jesus does just say something like, “Because we feel like it!” He answered theologically by quoting 1 Samuel 21. David did the same thing when his men were hungry on the Sabbath. Then Jesus said, what we now take as a “mic drop” — “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Jesus wasn’t ignorant of the Sabbath laws, he was defining and modeling the guidelines he helped create with God the Father. Jesus was showing the Pharisees that God’s laws were not intended to stifle anyone but rather be for their good, safety, protection, happiness and blessing. The restrictions on the Sabbath were meant for the well-being of God’s people. And this action, along with other like healing on the Sabbath that Jesus would later perform, were good, right and holy.

If we obey God’s instructions, we will receive exactly what God intended — grace, full and abundant life. But if we sin and turn away from his ways, we will find ourselves in a pit of despair which will require much confession, repentance and healing from which to climb.

God’s ways are best and Jesus demonstrates an example of what it means to live and walk with God in freedom, hope and release.

This week we have been sheltering in place. Not because of the Covid virus but because of the winter blast that has hit Texas in February. Many have lost heat, running water, and some have suffering sickness and death. God did not intend for this world to have trials and tribulations, original sin brought that on, but he did say he would be with us in the midst of the storms. Today Jesus is with us, helping us to find Sabbath rest on a Wednesday, and to walk with him through the day.

Why not move toward the Lord today? Walk with him, speak to him, read his word, dust off your Bible. Allow the Lord who created us for joy to fill you with peace and joy.

“O Lord God, you are a comforting and all-knowing creator. You made us for fellowship with you and for one another. You made us to govern this land, it’s animals and people. Help us be like Christ in every situation. Help us know the power of your life and walk in light of that love. Come Holy Spirit, pour out your warmth on all who are cold, feed the hungry, encourage the lonely. Be the God who visits us not only in our waking hours but also in our dreams. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen