The Sabbath: Jesus Sets The Record Straight

15 January 2015

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;"(Hebrews 1:1-2)

Jesus spent a large portion of His public ministry "setting the record straight," in both teaching and living example.

In the following confrontation with the Pharisees (one of many regarding observance of the Sabbath), Jesus teaches us much more than the true  purpose of the Sabbath. He refutes many of the false ideas of the Pharisees and shows that the law was never intended at a step by step guide on how to get to heaven.

"At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?(Matthew 12:1-5)

Jesus argues two very interesting points as He sets the record straight.

First of all, Jesus shows that the law is not mearly a set of rules and steps on how to get to heaven. He mentions the case of David in 1st Samuel 21. In this even, David and his men eat the shewbread in the temple and are not put to death for violating the ordinance. If the law was to be interpreted as the Pharisees say, then we would have record of God requiring David be put to death, but we do not!

Next, Jesus mentions the work of the priests on the Sabbath day. If we take a look at Numbers 28, it is easily seen that the work the priests do on that day FAR exceeds the commandment to "do no servile work." And yet they are not punished either. Why?

Because adherence to the law is not the way to heaven, the law shows us the holy and righteous character of God. It was given to teach man reverence for a God that is far greater than anything in His creation. It is to help man better understand his God and his relationship to the Almighty.

When this is applied to the observance of the Sabbath we can understand why Jesus concluded in Mark 2:27

"And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:"

By this law, man can understand that he is a creature designed by God. He can see that God instructs him to take much needed rest. We will learn later that the Sabbath, as well as most other aspects of the law, are shadows of much greater things to come. But here we can see that that design of the Sabbath, rather than adding to the list of things to-do, is  God showing care and compassion for His creation.

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19th January 2018 13:19

Tags: harmony_of_the_gospels, hebrews, mark, matthew, pharisees, sabbath

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Elder Bryce Lowrance

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