The Ninth Sunday after Trinity,
August 1, 2020
Mark 2:23-28 (NIV) “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" 25 He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." 27 Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
The public reading of this text is often included with the verses from the previous two devotions. God had very specific laws regarding worship and other ceremonial activities for his chosen people in the Old Testament. The wording of the Third Commandment reminds us of those laws. For example, no work was to be done on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath was to be a day of rest from every-day work so that God’s people could join in sacred assembly and hear God’s Word. This and all the ceremonial laws about their worship were pointing to Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the laws of God and is our eternal Sabbath, who gives us our eternal rest.
The Pharisees were very rigid about rules such as the Sabbath and had even added human rules to God’s rules. Plucking, picking heads of grain to eat was something they regarded as work, as preparing food to eat, and thus breaking the Sabbath laws. But Jesus reminds them of what King David “did when he and his companions were hungry and in need.”
The Sabbath was made to give rest and opportunity to serve God on a special day, one day out of seven. Such regular rest from our daily work is still needful today. From a physical perspective, no one can keep working all the time and still retain his or her health.
Even today we schedule opportunities to worship at least once every seven days. But should only one hour each seven days be devoted to God? (There are 168 hours in a week!)
Our society might be called a ‘leisure society’ with a 5-day work-week being typical, and many experiencing a 4-day work week! And when does God fit in to our daily lives?
May our day of rest be more than just a day away from work. May it be a day of special service to God!
O God, whose never-failing providence guides all things both in heaven and on earth, we humbly beg of thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which will be profitable for us. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord.