Mt12 1-8 - Lord of the Sabbath, Part 1

Matt. 12:1-8 - Lord of the Sabbath, Part 1 SabbathGrainWhat does the Sabbath mean? Having spent the past 15-years barely acknowledging time itself, my first impulse in reading this passage was to pass over it as something unrelated to my current life. On first reflection the Sabbath seems like some ancient legalistic attachment that had something to do with my childhood, like memories of going grocery shopping with mom after church as a kid. It was something that we used to do just because. When I became a Christian as a teenager, Sunday obviously took on a greater meaning but it still seemed to be mostly “backward” looking as if I were trying to tap into some greater tradition that still didn’t quite fit.

Thus, the world inhabited by the disciplines is a far different one than the one I currently live in. Actually, and this thought scares me a bit, their world seems very much like the one in the Muslim Middle East where their faith is not a matter of personal preference and piety but societal concern and jurisdiction. Having someone tell me what I can and cannot do on Sunday is just not accepted, as are other social conformities. Alas, we have no doubt taken individual liberty to an unrealistic extreme which will not hold forever. Thus, the context of this passage is more than a little foreign to my current existence.

All that said, there is still something here to be observed. Our social conformities and traditions being vastly different from theirs, the concluding line still holds: “If you had known what these words main, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (vs. 7-8). All of these traditions are subject to the person of Jesus Christ and he seeks to get to the heart of the practice and live in our lives in a way that the tradition could scarcely reflect. The point is not really the practice or the day but the person and the deeper meaning. Clearly, it’s not about going through the motions or blindly holding to a particular way of doing things. Why we do these things must be continually acknowledged, and in a sense reevaluated given the needs of the times. I know that I could benefit from a more complete “observance” of the Sabbath in my life, giving more time to reflect, meditate and honor my Savior and God. JBB 6/28/2004

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