Mark 2: 23-28

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
23 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 people, not people for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

v23-24 – Jesus’ disciples did nothing unlawful here. According to Leviticus 19: 9-10, it says

9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.

and then Deuteronomy 23: 25 says,

25 If you enter your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to the standing grain.

  1. Jesus’ disciples pick some heads of grain and they did not put a sickle to the standing grain.
  2. Jesus’ disciples pick some heads of grain because they just need to eat and they are not harvesting (working) during the Sabbath.

God’s law said that crops should not be harvested on the Sabbath (Exodus 34:21). This law prevented farmers from becoming greedy and ignoring God on the Sabbath. It also protected laborers from being overworked.

The Pharisees were so focused on the words of the rule that they missed its intent. God created the Sabbath for our benefit, not his own. God derives no benefit from having us rest on the Sabbath, but we are restored both physically and spiritually when we take time to rest and to focus on God. Both David and Jesus understood that the intent of God’s law is to promote love for God and others.

when I read and study God’s law (Old Testament law) which are mainly from the book of Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers, I need to remind myself to focus on understanding the purpose of God’s law rather than focus on the law itself.

Even though the Old Testament already obsolete because of the New Testament through Jesus, it is still good to know the Old Testament law and it’s purpose especially. I believe knowing the purpose of God’s law helps us to see God’s love to God’s people back then.

Without knowing the purpose of God’s law, we can have some kind of negativity and criticalness toward God on why he established so many laws (600 plus) during Moses’ time. And some of the laws seems too strict and harsh. But after understanding the purpose of God’s law, we will have new perspective on God’s law because see God’s love behind the law.

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