Who Is The Sabbath For – Part 1

Have you ever broken the Sabbath?

Jesus broke it all the time! Of course He got in trouble with all the religious folk when He did.

Have you ever been in trouble with the religious folk? Hey, maybe you have even been one of those religious folk?! I can answer “Yes.”, to both questions.

(Mk 2:23-28, 1Sam 21:1-6)

One time Jesus’ disciples got in trouble with the Pharisees for picking heads of grain to eat while they passed through grainfields . Walking through grainfieldsThey were hungry and naturally reached for easily available sustenance.
But those very observant always around Pharisees were saying to Jesus,
who was going through the grainfields with His disciples,
“Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

Isn’t it interesting the Pharisees “were saying”, and not “said”? Obviously they were continually asking Jesus. They had a point to make. Looks like the Pharisees were ‘beside themselves’ over this supposedly egregious action.

Then Jesus calmly asks, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry?” Whoa! A little in the face challenge for the experts in the word Pharisees, don’t you think? Then just in case they forgot, Jesus went on to remind the Pharisees how David entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, along with his companions. Gasp! Holy boundaries were broken!

David and his men were desperate and in great need.  David knew the right protocol concerning God’s house and His holy bread, but David also knew God. He knew God was His provider and that He was intimate and caring beyond rules and rituals. God is not caught up with ‘stuff’, He is focused on and cares about His kids. David knew that. So he and his men could be that bold and eat the very Bread of the Presence. Hmm, I wonder if this incident could help dispel some of our notions about holy places and stuff in church buildings that are only for the clergy to access and not the lay people?

Jesus also reminded the Pharisees that only the priests are supposed to eat this holy bread, this Bread of the Presence. Now why would He do that? They would have known this. Was He trying to help them see past their narrow religious view of things by emphasizing the rules David broke?

It is also worth noting that this Bread of the Presence had just been put out ‘fresh’ that very day! Talk about divine timing. Nothing like fresh baked bread! Oh my, how God blessed the hunger of David and his men.

Isn’t it wonderful to realize we can have fresh bread every day too? fresh Bread of the PresenceHe never has day old bread for us or stale bread. It is always fresh. Jesus is always fresh, the Bread that came down out of heaven. We are to partake of Him, of His life.  He is our sustenance and our nourishment. There are no rules to follow in order to partake. Like David, we can also be so bold.
Let’s enjoy the wonderful fresh Bread of the Presence every day!
Hey, it’s just like in Lam. 3:21-23 –
His lovingkindnesses, compassions, mercies – they are new every morning.
Oh the fullness of freshness in Him! Freely partake.

Jesus used this incident to then tell the Pharisees an eternal truth that had been hidden in Him. Now that He is manifest, now that God set up this divine circumstance, Jesus declares – “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  Whoa, that must have rocked the Pharisees’ boat! Jesus just redefined the Sabbath!

So who is the Sabbath made for? Man.

But do we really understand what that means? Or do we still see it through the filter of religion?

The Greek meaning for made is – to become, come into existence, begin to be. In other words, “The Sabbath was ‘to become, to come into existence, to begin to be’ for man…”

God had a greater yet to be announced purpose when He first commanded “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.” He might have started with a ‘day’ in earth time when He had Moses write down that commandment, but since He is outside of time there was something bigger coming. He was bringing forth the eternal One, His Son, who would be Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of the Rest. Jesus declared He is in charge of the Sabbath, He is in charge of rest. And to clarify, He stated the Sabbath came into existence for man. Rest came into existence for man. In other words, God does not need the Sabbath!

God knows we need rest. He is mindful of our frame, of our weakness, of our weariness and fatigue. He wants to nourish and sustain us. He knows we need that refreshing on a daily basis. By Jesus declaring His Lordship over the Sabbath and stating it was made for man, He set in motion an accessability such as David had long ago.

Rejoice! God made the Sabbath for us! He did not make it for Himself. Do you get that! He made the Sabbath for us with no rules, no commands, no special day. It is for every day. Just eat.  The fresh Bread of His Presence does a body good.

Dig In

  • As you enter more and more into the true Sabbath (which is so not part of a certain day) you will be growing in fullness.
  • Don’t settle for day old bread or the same ‘ol same ‘ol. In Him it is to be new every morning.
  • His Sabbath, His rest, the Bread of the Presence is readily accessible, just like walking through grainfields.
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