Lord of the Sabbath, fulfilled in Christ; revealed in us
Mark 2:13-3:6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.
14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
18 John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22 No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
23 And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees were saying 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 he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
3 He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
In today’s text it says: And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Many people today misunderstand and misrepresent the fact that Jesus associated with sinners and outcasts in His day, believing and teaching that if Jesus were here today, He would prefer the company of sinners and outcasts to that of people in the church. To truly understand and truly represent what Jesus association with sinners and outcasts was really about, we need to look at what He said about that association. Jesus didn’t associate with sinners because He preferred their company or because He embraced or tolerated their lifestyle and sin. He said: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus didn’t call them on their cell phones to hang out. Luke 5:32 says: "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called people to repent. In Matthew 4:17, describing the beginning of Jesus ministry it says: From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” If Jesus were here today, I am sure that just as then He would associate with outcasts and sinners. I am equally sure that His purpose would be to call them to repent. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Hebrews 13:8-9 says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace. Jesus never changes. The way He viewed sin then is how He still views sin today. It was because of grace that He associated with sinners; to call them to repentance. It was because of grace that He died on the cross so that we could repent and be redeemed. Jesus did not and does not relax the commandments of God and neither should people today. In Isaiah 5:20 God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law. In today’s text we see another element of the law that is fulfilled in Christ. When He was questioned and criticized regarding the Sabbath, Jesus said: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Deuteronomy 5:12 says: 'Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.’ The point of the Sabbath was not about what the people were not supposed to do. It was about what they were supposed to do; it was to set aside the day as holy unto the Lord. Through the fulfillment of the law, Jesus is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He actually is our Sabbath. In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus says: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Even as we walk and work with Christ, we have Sabbath rest in Him. In John 14:23 Jesus says: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” Through Christ Jesus, the law of the Sabbath is fulfilled. It is no longer a day that is set aside as holy, but rather it is we ourselves, it is those who love Jesus and keep His word who are holy. We are not made holy by what we do, but rather by what He did in dying on the cross. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Because of grace, because of the fulfillment of the Sabbath through Christ, we are recreated; holy and righteous. We walk and work in peace and rest in all that we do. We do good in response to the grace of God and His abiding presence in our lives.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for Your grace. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Thank You that loved me while I was a sinner. You did not tolerate or embrace my sin but in Your love You redeemed me from my sin and called me to repentance. Thank You that in You and through the finished work of the cross all of the law is fulfilled. I have my Sabbath rest and peace. I am holy because You are with me and in me. Amen.