Dan Starcevich

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Rest in What God Has Done

Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

Mark 2:27

With these few words Jesus turned the whole religious world upside down.  Jesus shifted the focus away from what does God demands, to what has God done.

Let me remind you of the situation leading up to this.  One sabbath day Jesus and the disciples were walking through a grain field picking heads of grain as the went.  The Pharisees watched as His disciples collected the stalks of grain, rolled them in their hands to separate the grain from the stalk, and them blew the stalks away and ate the grain.  This prompted them to ask Jesus why they were violating pharisaic sabbath regulations.  As far as they were concerned picking the grain was harvesting, rubbing the kernels of grain between their palms was threshing, and blowing away the chaff was winnowing. The disciples were working on the Sabbath, and that was not lawful (cf. Ex 34:21).  

Jesus replied by asking them if they had ever closely considered 1 Sam 21:3-6 where David and His men entered the tabernacle and ate the consecrated bread even though the law only allowed the priests to eat it (vv. 25-26)?  It was clear to David that getting food for His men was the priority, why wasn't it clear to the Pharisees? 

To make the point crystal clear, Jesus corrected their understanding of the sabbath by teaching them that the sabbath was instituted for the good of man, and that man is not to be deprived of the necessities for life for the sake of keeping sabbath regulations (v. 27).  Jesus then drew the conclusion that He was Lord, the only authorized interpreter and applier, of the Sabbath regulations (v. 28).

It is clear from this that the human need for food was more important than keeping a rule.  After all the sabbath rest was put in place so people could rest from labor, not to suffer hunger pains.  Jesus was showing that God, in His grace and mercy, had acted for the good of people in providing a day of rest.  A point that the Pharisees missed because they were so preoccupied with the rules.

The ultimate good that God has done is of course providing Jesus Himself.  God provided Him to take away the penalty for our sins.  In Him the love of God for the world, and the wrath of God for sin come together.  Jesus bore God's wrath so we can receive God's love.  

We are blessed to have a hard working church.  We are willing to use the gifts that God has given for the good of everyone.  We are generous with our spiritual gifts, our time, our effort, and our money.  Let's not get so caught up in our hard work for God that we lose sight of God's work for us and leave our first love, Jesus Himself.  Take a day of rest.  Don't use it to plan you next project.  Instead spend it reflecting on all that God has done for you in Jesus.