“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath’” Luke 6:5. Do we exist to obey laws or do laws exist to benefit us? One of the Ten Commandments for the Israelites was to keep the Sabbath. Nibbling on a few heads of grain to satisfy hunger was allowed by the Law, but the Pharisees saw that being done on the seventh day, in a very technical sense, as doing work and called Jesus out on it. Jesus used the feeding of David’s men with the consecrated bread when they were fleeing Saul as an example from the past and then an illustration in the present to get to the very heart of the issue: “which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” God didn’t create laws, then, just for something for us to obey; they are to help us as individuals or as a collective to draw closer to Him. As a society, we create laws that we deem are necessary to benefit society. A police officer could ticket a man for driving the speed limit if the conditions are icy and he is a danger to others or himself. It is only in grasping this concept that we can draw deeper into our relationship with the Lord of the Sabbath when we are under grace and truth. Do you?
I. Luke 6:1-11. Was what Jesus’ followers were doing ‘unlawful’? Technically, yes, but that was a strictly by the letter of the Law. They were doing work on the Sabbath. By the example of David eating the consecrated bread (1 Samuel 21:4-6), however, Jesus pointed out that obedience to God’s commands are also in spirit. The Law exists to serve man rather than man existing to serve the Law.
II. Romans 2:25-29. Though written to Jews who were trusting in their circumcision to save them, the same could be said to Christians who only trust in an outward checklist of hearing, belief, repentance, confession, and baptism to enter heaven one day. An inward circumcision of our hearts, a living out of a submissive obedience, is also necessary. This is why God, not ourselves, is the Judge when someone dies. We can know if the person ever outwardly obeyed in baptism to receive the promise of eternal life, but only God can judge how that person lived out his obedience in daily living.
III. 1 John 2:3-6. We must live in Jesus by grace and truth (John 1:17). This does not, however, give us a license to sin (Galatians 5:13) or go to the opposite extreme by making Christianity a list of dos and don’ts (Colossians 2:20-23). Rather, our daily walk must be as Jesus walked, being a true worshipper, worshipping in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Though God and Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus while in flesh had to submit in every way just as we do. He set us an example by showing us that true obedience to God is in both spirit and truth.