THURSDAY 16th FEBRUARY 1984
RULES BEFORE REALITY
READING: Mark 2:23-28 English - Wilson Chinese - Stephen
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
23 One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; 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."
COMMENTARY - Vera
Originally God had given the Jews a very simple commandment about the Sabbath day. It was "work six days only, and rest the seventh." This seventh day was called the Sabbath.
Religious lawyers had taken this simple idea and developed hundreds of rules and regulations about what was "work" which could not be done on the Sabbath. The rules included four which said it was wrong to cut down crops; it was wrong to beat out the grain and to separate the grain from the outer husks; it was wrong to toss the grain in the air to allow the husks to blow away; and it was wrong to prepare any meal on the Sabbath day. So the rule that God had given, to rest on the Sabbath, had been turned into a rather more complicated rule to stop people doing farm work on this day.
But soon the rules became more important than anything else. So that any activity which looked like cutting down crops, or beating out the husks, and so on, was illegal. This meant that if a person happened to break off one piece of grain as he walked through a corn field, and then if he rubbed it in his fingers, and then if he blew on the grain to blow the husks away, he was guilty of an offence. If he then put the grain in his mouth, he could be charged with preparing a meal on the Sabbath day. And this is what the disciples of Jesus had done.
The rules had become more important than the original idea. We often see this today, especially in business or government. Often people are stopped from putting good ideas into practice because someone is more concerned with the rules than the idea.
Heavenly Father, help us always to have a right attitude to the place of rules in our lives. Help us to know and love you first.
In Jesus' Name we pray. A-men.