Read Mark 2:23-27
Do you remember the kids in elementary school who would always tattle? It was as if they were actively searching for reasons to go and report even what they perceived to be the silliest of infractions of the rules. Imagine that kid, then imagine them about 30 years older, and now you have a Pharisee!
The Pharisees were always looking for reasons to condemn Jesus. At every turn, they were scorning Him for breaking the rules, or mocking Him for how He chose to live. They were even happy to criticize Him for eating, as we see in todays reading.
Jesus and His disciples were traveling and stopped for a bite to eat. It was custom in this time for farmers not to harvest the ends of their fields so that travelers walking by could have food to eat on their journey. (Talk about hospitality!) Jesus’ disciples were simply collecting this free grain for a meal. However, the Pharisees misinterpreted this action as laboring on the Sabbath, so they judged the disciples as lawbreakers.
While the Pharisees were quick to judge, Jesus was quick to use this moment to teach. Maybe the lesson He shares is a message you need to hear today as well? Jesus reminds the disciples they are all too quick to look at the law, rather than understand the spirit of the law. The Pharisees were focused on the words instead of trying to understand the intent.
“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27
God designed the Sabbath for you and me. Our bodies, our minds, our spirits aren’t made to go on endless runs like the Energizer Bunny. We need rest. So the Lord, in His grace, designed a day every week specifically for us to refresh. A day for us to quiet our minds, rest our bodies, and be encouraged and reenergized in our spirit. Rest looks different for everybody. Some might not find sitting in complete silence alone all day relaxing, whereas others might think that’s exactly the prescription they need. No matter what side of the equation you are on, we can find assurance today in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ that it is the observance of the Sabbath that matters to God…and that observance may look different from person to person.