INTRO: It is not easy living under a microscope! But that is exactly what Jesus had to do. Every word, every action was watched by the "keepers of orthodoxy" of that time ... the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus was anything but what they expected in the Messiah. Doubtless they thought that the expected Messiah would be one of them ... or, at least, he would consult with them. And as soon as it was apparent that Jesus did not meet their expectations of the Messiah, they engaged Him in one confrontation after another. In the text I have read the disciples of Jesus are apparently walking through a field of grain. They pulled some to the grain, and Luke's gospel tells us they rubbed the heads in their hands ... and ate the grain. Immediately, the Pharisees confronted Jesus!
I. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM SCRIPTURE ABOUT THE SABBATH?
A. Relevant texts:
1. Ex 20:8-10 - instituted and explained - a day of rest for man and beast
2. Ex 35:2,3 - no first could be kindled on the sabbath
3. Num 15:32-35 - gather of sticks with the intention of kindling a fire!
B. But for the priests?
1. Lev 24:5-9 - the preparing (baking) of the shewbread on the sabbath
2. Num 28:9,10 - the burnt offerings every sabbath
3. there must have been some latitude in the sabbath ordinance
C. A point to be made just here
1. there were not many God given stipulations about the sabbath
2. by the time of Jesus, however, the rabbis had developed a very detailed system of observance (note Acts 1:12 and the "sabbath day's journey"
3. so, we need to understand this incident against this background
A. Jesus' disciples were doing on the sabbath that which was unlawful!
1. now, remember, they were just plucking heads, rubbing them and eating
2. the Pharisees admitted that on any other day this would be lawful
3. the disciples were charged with working on the sabbath day!
B. Rabbis had classified "work" under 39 different heads
1. four of them were violated by disciples: reaping, winnowing, threshing and preparing a meal
2. remember, though, these were rabbinic rules - not God's
3. remember, too, Mt 15:1-3,9
III. JESUS' RESPONSE?
A. He pointed them to their own inconsistency - Mk 2:25,26
1. Jesus referred to an incident recorded in 1 Sam 21:1-6
2. important to note that Jesus does not approve of what David did
3. His point is that they knew well of this incident, but they did not condemn David for his action ... yet, they accused the disciples of violating the law
B. He pointed them to the "work" of priests on the sabbath - Mt 12:5
1. by their definitions the work of the priests violated the sabbath!
2. the priests cooked the shewbread, offered the sacrifices, etc.
3. their service in the tabernacle, temple was, by the Pharisees' own definition, "work" ... but they were guiltless (so, sabbath prohibited work for gain, but the prohibition was not intended by God to be "absolute")
C. He made an astounding statement about Himself - Mt 12:6
1. greater than the temple is Jesus - serving Him is "priestly service"
2. this statement must have brought some consternation, even indignation, to the Pharisees ... for to them nothing was greater than the temple
3. Jesus justifies the disciples' behavior by likening them to the priests
D. He explained God's intention for the sabbath - Mk 2:27,28
1. as the Lord of the sabbath, He could make this legitimate explanation
2. the Pharisees had made the sabbath so rigid that its benefits to man had been lost!
3. but His openly claiming to be Lord of the sabbath must have further raised the level of bitter opposition
CLOSE: When Jesus referred to Himself as "Son of man", there can be little doubt (if any) that He is claiming for Himself the fulfillment of Daniel's words at Dan 7:13,14. And the Pharisees well knew those words. So, the storm clouds continue to gather around the Lord ... storm clouds which will eventually lead Him to the cross.
Cecil A. Hutson
10 September 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)