“The Main Thing”

On June 3, Pastor Jim preaches on March 2:23-3:6.

2:23 One Sabbath he was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; 28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

3:1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Jesus broke the law. He did. He broke the Sabbath law. Plucking grain was considered harvesting. Removing the husks and kernels was considered threshing. Blowing the husks and silk away was winnowing; all three actions were prohibited on Saturday.

The Pharisees were right to ask, “Look, why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” David reminded them of a time when David and his troops were hungry and were allowed to eat consecrated bread from the temple by Abiathar the priest. He explained that “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath.”

Many years ago when I was an associate pastor, the church I served had a rule that the circle drive on the back side of the building was for loading and unloading only. One day the street just beyond that driveway flooded in a pouring rain. A wonderful person named “Ms. Blessing” happened to be volunteering at the church that day. As the street became a raging river, she kept having to move her car farther and farther up the circle drive.

Eventually, after parking her car as high on the arc of the circle as possible, Ms. Blessing came into the church office to tell us of her narrow escape from a flooded car. The senior pastor listened and then told her, “The circle drive is for loading and unloading only.”

Sigh…

Rules and regs. We need them, I suppose. But only as they serve to protect, nurture, and help humanity.

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