Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”(Mark 2:27-28 NLT)
False religion is always a perversion of true faith. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had set up a vast system of rules regulating what people could not do on the Sabbath day. Jesus appeared and told the people what they could do, not what they couldn’t do. The Sabbath was meant to serve the people, not the people to serve the Sabbath.
The law was ultimately to benefit man, not the reverse. Jesus used David’s eating of the showbread (vs. 25-26), which was not permitted by the law, to illustrate this point. Matthew Henry wrote about these verses, “Ritual observances must give way to moral obligations, and there are things that may be done out necessity that otherwise may not be done.” If your son or ox falls into a ditch (Luke 14:5), will you not pull them out, be it on the Sabbath or any other day?
Legalism takes what God meant to be a privilege and turns it into an obligation. It was meant to bless us, not us performing to gain acceptance. The Pharisees had turned a joy into a chore. When our relationship with God starts to wane, keeping rules takes its place. The keeping of the Sabbath is a sacred practice if followed as intended. What God had designed to refresh them, the law keepers had made into an exercise of works righteousness.
Is the Sabbath you are keeping making you feel physically or emotionally more rested or tired? If the latter is true, you may be a Sabbath keeper.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing