Lord of the Sabbath (12-13-14)
Grab your Bible and let’s go deeper into Luke 6
Luke 6:1-5: One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 3Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Reaping grain was one of the 39 forms of work or labor that was forbidden under the oral law found and studied by Jews in the Torah. Jesus’ response to the Pharisees is not that the son of man had come to do away with the Sabbath, but instead he said he was actually the LORD of the Sabbath. He is saying I am all about the Sabbath….We’ll come back to this!
We have to realize: The most workaholic culture in the history of the world is us! Our ability to understand the practice and necessity of real rest is a huge issue for us! Here are a few trends to help us see where we are:
- OVERWORKED: Jobs are insecure. If you don’t help turn a profit you are done. Higher positions within companies used to pay 15-20% more than lower ones. Today’s companies sometimes pay 100-200% more for upper end positions making the competition to perform in order to get and keep those upper end jobs that much more demanding. Also, the people on the bottom end of the employment ladder have to work multiple jobs just to keep up, so they are extremely overworked as well!
- OVEREXPOSED: Technology means you can work anywhere, which means we work everywhere. On my phone I can check my email, text people, look up things and research on the internet. That’s just my phone.
We are more desperately in need of true rest than ever before. It’s no wonder that over the years the Sabbath has been slowly moved from the goal of the week to a holiday that most of us will hardly ever take!
Let’s look back at Luke 6. After the Pharisees challenged him and said: “Hey look what you are doling is wrong…you are not keeping the Sabbath…shame on you,” Jesus replies to them with an example out of 1 Samuel 21 that they would know well. Look at verse 3 of Luke 6 with me: Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
In 1 Samuel 21 we see that David, while running for his life, ran into the tabernacle and grabbed some bread that was only to be used by the Priest as part of the Sabbath worship and he ate it. God did not punish him for this act that was against ceremonial law. So why does Jesus point this out? Because he is reminding the Pharisees that ceremonial law is provisional…it’s useful for a season…until the ceremony changes down the road. He is highlighting the difference that moral law is not provisional. There is nowhere in the bible that says breaking moral law is acceptable in a pinch.
God never says, “You were in a hurry, so it was ok you committed adultery.” Or, “You got bored so it was ok you worshipped an idol.” The Sabbath rules and ceremonial laws were allowed to be set aside. So what does this mean? Jesus is setting up the Pharisees to see that ceremonial law is only good and needed until something else comes along to make them obsolete!
In this case what could that be? Well he says in the next verse: “…Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” This is brilliant! He is saying I am the one all the Sabbath regulations pointed to. I am the SABBATH!
What does this mean for you and me? If you want rest you have to go to him and if you have gone to him and have not found deep rest, then you probably have not really gone to him at all! This means you still don’t know what you have in Christ. You have not fully taken hold of it yet!
What does it mean that Jesus is the LORD of rest? In Genesis 1 verse 31 we read: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Continue in Genesis 2:1: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
God did not rest because he was tired!!!! Every time God made something he said “it is Good” and by the end, after the last grain of sand was put in place, he sat back as he looked at it all and he said, “It is VERY good!” God models for us that true Sabbath rest is to be fully satisfied.
To have deep soul rest is to be utterly satisfied with what has been done. The only way you and I can truly walk away and rest is to be satisfied! The only way you and I are ever going to be fully satisfied in today’s culture and daily demands is to rest in the LORD OF THE SABBATH: JESUS!
To worship and enjoy Jesus is Sabbath rest! Only he can tell you that you are loved not based on what you did this week, not on how many sales you made, or how well your kids obeyed you or how beautiful you are. Only he can show you that your true value lies in his eyes! The Lord of Sabbath, Jesus Christ, proclaims: “Prove yourself no more… rest in me!”
Now, look with me at Hebrews 4. The Hebrews writer is talking to Christians about what is means to believe in Jesus. Hebrews 4:9-10: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” ONLY through Jesus can we find true Sabbath! All the work we do to accomplish things in life will never satisfy. There will always be more. There will always be tomorrow!
Jesus, himself, says to each of us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
He is saying, “Only If I am the center of your life, only if I am the one who brings your identity will you find everlasting rest, peace, satisfaction!
The difference between a Christian who is living deeply with Christ and one who is not is the evidence of REST. Of peace. Of Satisfaction!
Now watch this, this is so cool! Look at the last verse of the passage in Luke 6:11 . There is a great irony in this verse. The Pharisees where raging mad that Jesus was claiming to be God when he said he was Lord of the Sabbath, so how did they respond?
: “But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”
They talked about how they would have him killed. But, by having him killed they did not rid themselves of this guy rebelling against their tradition. By killing him they made Jesus the Lord of the Sabbath! They made him the answer to our restless lives. Now he stands victorious offering us new life in his blood. New life in Jesus is what it is to be a Christian. Jesus came and lived the perfect life…the life you and I were supposed to live. Jesus died the perfect death…the death you and I were supposed to die.
To be a Christian is not to say I am going to try to be like Jesus…NO! You have Jesus in you if you have repented of your sin and trusted in him alone for salvation.
Get this this morning! It is not your work you lean on to be satisfied. It is HIS WORK we lean on to be satisfied! That is why we can find true deep rest in HIM! As a result of our surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, when God looks at us he doesn’t see failed and flawed efforts. He sees the perfection and righteousness of Christ’s blood covering us. And DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAYS? He says: IT IS GOOD!
How do we find stillness when finances are tight, tragedy overwhelms us, the kids seem out of control, nations are at war, relationships are strained, and there’s just too much left to do at the end of the day? “Be still, and know that I am God!” – Psalm 46:10
You have to trust and rest in the Lord of the Sabbath!
By His grace and for His glory,
-Shepherd / Soldiers for Jesus MC / Bakersfield CA