The Sabbath-Mark 2:23-28

Mark 2:23-28 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 man, not man for the Sabbath.  28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Marco 2:23-28 In un giorno di sabato egli passava per i campi, e i suoi discepoli, strada facendo, si misero a strappare delle spighe. 24 I farisei gli dissero: «Guarda! Perché fanno di sabato quel che non è lecito?»25 Ed egli disse loro: «Non avete mai letto quel che fece Davide, quando fu nel bisogno ed ebbe fame, egli e coloro che erano con lui? 26 Come egli, al tempo del sommo sacerdote Abiatar, entrò nella casa di Dio e mangiò i pani di presentazione, che a nessuno è lecito mangiare se non ai sacerdoti, e ne diede anche a quelli che erano con lui?» 27 Poi disse loro: «Il sabato è stato fatto per l’uomo e non l’uomo per il sabato;28 perciò il Figlio dell’uomo è signore anche del sabato».
 
     In Judaism during the time of Jesus, the religious laws about working on the Sabbath were interpreted with a very strict legalistic intention. Any act, even when necessary, could be construed as breaking the 4th commandment. In this instance, what the disciples were doing was considered legal but the Pharisees viewed it as working on the Sabbath. People could eat on the Sabbath but preparations needed to be done ahead of time; so in the eyes of the Pharisees, picking the grain was considered ‘work’. 
     This seemed like a prime opportunity for them to attack Jesus again through the actions of His disciples. Although Jesus was not picking the grain, He had no issue with the disciples who were hungry. The dialogue with Jesus reflected the precedent set by David for his action in 1 Samuel 21. The priest, Abiathar, did not see a problem with David’s men eating the consecrated bread designated for the priests when they were hungry. So why would this action by the disciples be considered more egregious? The Pharisees knew this account but apparently did not like the interpretation. This is a case where the intention of the law is lost by the intentional desire of the people it was supposed to help. When the application of the Scriptures is superseded by the principles of the Scriptures, it can be easily misappropriated. It is like putting the cart in front of the horse: the purpose is defeated.
     Jesus endeavored to show the Pharisees how misguided their application was. With one statement, Jesus corrects them by stating that the Sabbath was instituted for the benefit of man and not instituted to be a burden to him. Jesus’ words took authority over man’s interpretation of God’s principles and application.
Pray with me: Lord, it can be easy to fall into the trap of making decisions based more on legalism than principles. Help me to follow the principles of Your Word and apply it to my life.


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