September 21 - Luke 6:1-11

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Luke 6:1-11 – Lord of the Sabbath

A few things that stick out at me while reading this. It is Jesus who answers the charge of the Pharisees regarding his disciples’ choice to eat grain on the Sabbath. As their teacher … their leader, he is responsible for them. It is Jesus who is training these men into a deeper spiritual life and it is Jesus who takes responsibility for their actions.

As we look at this passage, we also must understand that as Jesus takes responsibility for their actions, the disciples would not knowingly do something that would stand in contrast to Jesus’ teaching. They make plenty of mistakes along the way, but this is a Law … a tradition that has stood for centuries and for them to choose to eat grain after picking it from the field implies that they know more about Christ’s will for them than the Pharisees do.

Jesus is separating himself and his disciples from the norm in Judaism. They do not fast when others do, they eat with sinners and now they interpret the Sabbath quite differently. They are learning from Jesus that it is the person who important, not simple obedience to the Law.

When Jesus declares himself as The Son of Man, to be Lord of the Sabbath, the Pharisees recognize a challenge. They watched him closely, sure that he would give them a reason to accuse him of sin. It didn't take long.

Another Sabbath comes and while Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, a man was there whose right hand was shriveled and useless. Like vultures, they waited in the wings to see what Jesus would do.  But, he knew what they were up to and rather than hide from them, he asked the man to stand in front of everyone.

How could the Pharisees deny Jesus the opportunity to do good, especially on the Sabbath? How could they possibly consider salvation to be a sin because of the day on which it is offered?

Salvation has come to Israel through Jesus Christ. He has completely redefined the Law. He has even redefined the Sabbath. The commandments regarding the Sabbath now take on their true meaning – restoration of individuals to a right relationship with God.

How this infuriates the Pharisees, but their time has yet to come.