Luke 6:5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
The Jewish religious leaders, who saw themselves as the faithful interpreters and guardian ‘protectors’ of the Mosaic Law, were desperately trying to find a way to bring a legitimate charge against Jesus. His godly character, his insightful, penetrating teaching, and his powerful, miraculous healing ministry, were making him very popular with the struggling, oppressed common people, and this was too much of a threat to their power-base and influence.
Today’s declaration by Jesus was occasioned by his disciples plucking corn to crush in their hands and eat on the Sabbath, which the Rabbis considered, along with countless other activities, ‘work’ that was prohibited by the 4th Commandment!
When Jesus referred to himself as the ‘Son of Man’ he was really claiming to be the Promised Messiah prophesied in Daniel 7:13-14. We know that his claim was quite correct, and so we are waiting for him to “com[e] with the clouds of heaven” and to be “given authority, glory and sovereign power; [so that] all peoples, nations and men of every language [will] worship[ped] him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Because of this, I, for one, want to be found to be ‘like him’ when he comes.
So, how should I ‘keep’ the Sabbath? I like what Dallas Willard says in ‘Renovation of the Heart’ (p. 182): ”Now for most of us Sabbath is first to be achieved in the practice of solitude and silence. These must be carefully sought, cultivated and dwelt in. When they become established in our souls and bodies, they can be practised in company with others. But the body must be weaned away from its tendencies to always take control, to run the world, to achieve and produce, to attain gratification. These are its habitual tendencies learned in a fallen world. Progress in the opposite direction can only be made in solitude and silence, for they ‘take our hands off our world’ as nothing else does. And that is the meaning of Sabbath.”
We might all have different ways of applying these principles in our lives, but as the ‘Son of Man’ showed, just mechanically observing an exacting list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ should not be one of them! For me, taking opportunity to be among my fellow-believers, praising God and resting and rejoicing in his great love and mercy, and sitting under the faithful preaching of his Word, constitutes the most basic step in the right direction, and, by God’s grace, I rejoice in being able to do this twice most Sundays. I find this rest prepares and equips me to face the many challenges of the week ahead.
– Bruce Christian