S (Scripture): Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pick heads of wheat and eat them. 2 But when the Pharisees saw this they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is against the law to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry – 4 how he entered the house of God and they ate the sacred bread, which was against the law for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that the priests in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are not guilty? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what this means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
O (Observation): As Jesus is becoming more known and is receiving some resistance, the Pharisees start mounting attacks against Jesus. Most of these attacks were about Jesus “breaking the rules.”
What rules? The rules that the Church established. In this case, the rule about the Sabbath. Any self-respecting Jew would have known better than to “work” on the Sabbath. Jesus and his crew were working by taking grain from the field on the Sabbath.
Jesus is scolded for working on the Sababth. In return, Jesus points out where the “rules” were also being broken by the priests who desecrated the Sabbath, and David (their national and religious hero) was also known to break the Sabbath.
Jesus is starting to point out the fact that He is Lord of Sabbath. The concept of the Sabbath is to remind God’s people that rest is part of the equation for abundant life, not just a strict law of obedience.
A (Application): Trust me when I say that rest is important. I need rest, so that God can speak to my mind, body, and soul.
But even more important, Jesus is pointing out that their salvation is not to rest in laws of human origin, but to be in tune with God’s call for them that day. For whatever reason, Jesus said that he trumps the Sabbath, and not the other way around.
This is very odd, and puts us in a conundrum. If the rules are not always okay, what is okay? Is this not a slippery slope? Well…it is a slippery slope. And I can live with that. : )
The problem I see with a religion that allows borders to trump discerning God’s will is that we will forget God’s bending towards grace and mercy, God’s abundant and steadfast love.
So, where do we draw the line? Perhaps the line is something we always discern? And if that is our way, then we need to train members of the body of Christ to discern God’s voice.
At our congregation we ask people to notice “kairos” moments (aka “God moments” or “Aha moments”). These can be positive or negative moments, which give us pause (like a Sabbath). At this point, we discern 2 questions: What is God’s word of grace for me this day? And What would God have me do?
So, what borders have your religious inclinations mounted? Where have you seen folks cross borders to be the Gospel to others? What kairos moments have you had lately? What have you done in response to those moments?
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to discern your will for us in this place and time. Amen.