Back before Christmas, I was blogging about the incredible liberty we have in our diets because of the freedom Jesus has given us by setting us free from the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament law. I was reminded of another area of liberty that Jesus has given us in my morning devotions recently. In the 2nd chapter of Mark’s gospel Jesus is questioned because his disciples picked some heads of grain on the Sabbath. Jesus in responding shared the story of David and his men eating the consecrated bread. Then he added these words “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (v. 27-28, NIV).
Throughout Jesus’ ministry He was always challenging the Pharisees and scribes legalistic view of what was appropriate or inappropriate to do on the Sabbath. This was without question one of the most serious areas of conflict in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Perhaps the clearest example of this area of conflict is found in the 9th chapter of John’s gospel. That chapter contains the story of the man born blind who was healed by Jesus on the Sabbath day. One of the key features of the story is found in the method Jesus used to heal the man. In verses 6 & 7 we read, “Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with salvia and put it on the man’s eyes”. “Go” he told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went and washed and came home seeing” (NIV). Over and over again the man is questioned as to how Jesus healed him (v. 15, 19, and 26). You see it was a violation of their sabbatical regulations for someone to make spittle and apply it to the eyes on the Sabbath. I believe Jesus directly challenged this regulation by His actions to show the stupidity of these legalists’ rules. As you read the gospels notice how many times Jesus’s conflict with the Pharisees centers on His exercising His liberty as “Lord of the Sabbath”.
Now I must be very careful at this point to emphasize that Jesus in no way voided the Sabbath principle. I believe the principle of a day of rest is a principle that is given for our emotional, spiritual and mental health. It is very important in the midst of our busy lives and schedules that we figure out a way to take a day of rest. What Jesus opposed was a ridiculous legalism that would tell people how to regulate every area of their lives on the Sabbath. We need to yield to Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath and seek Him as to how best to have a day of rest in our schedules, knowing that He is indeed Lord of ALL. John1:1-4
All for Christ,