Summary: Can you think of a moment in time that was so significant a turning point in your life that the course of your entire life was forever changed? A moment when the choice you made set you out upon a path in of life, had you going in a direction from which y
Jesus and the Forbidding Pharisees – Part 1
The Changing Of The Tide
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)
Can you think of a moment in time that was so significant a turning point in your life that the course of your entire life was forever changed? A moment when the choice you made set you out upon a path in of life, had you going in a direction from which you could never return?
In our text today, we find the affairs of Jesus at just such a moment in time –a time when the tide of His life and ministry are about to go in a direction that He can never return from.
His response to these two challenges made by the Pharisees will cause the course of the rest of His life to go one of two ways. He can be accepted by the spiritual and religious leaders of His day, or He can be rejected by them. He can choose to not make any waves, or He can choose to really rock the boat. Choose to not make waves and be accepted, He becomes like them. Rock the boat to the point of tipping it over and be rejected, they will oppose Him to the death – His death.
Guess which one He chooses?
Let’s look at what is taking place in the story and see what happens. We will also want to look at Mark 2:23-28, and Luke 6:1-5. The three accounts together will give us a very real and vivid picture of the events of this day. It is probably one of the more important days in Jesus’ ministry.
It is Saturday; it is the Sabbath; it is the traditional weekly holy day of rest for the Jews, just as it has been down through the ages. Jesus and His disciples are walking through a wheat or barley field – either one is possible based on the words used in the texts. I always picture them talking and laughing, full of energy, vibrant and alive, excited about going to synagogue that morning and sharing their Teacher open the Scriptures for them and anyone else who might be in attendance.
They haven’t had breakfast – in fact, they were good Jews and didn’t do any work at all on the Sabbath. The laws regarding the keeping of the Sabbath as given by God through Moses to the Children of Israel in the wilderness we somewhat specific.
In Exodus 20:9-11, God said, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
Later, in Exodus 31:13-17, God stresses the critical nature keeping of the Sabbath as a day holy and apart when He proclaims to Moses, "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ’You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed."
Look at the command in verse 15: “Whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.” That sounds pretty darn serious, wouldn’t you say? In fact, if you look at Numbers 15:32-26, you will find the account there of a man being caught gathering firewood outside the camp on the Sabbath, being taken to the High Court of Moses and Aaron, and the sentence of death being passed. That man was stoned to death in keeping with God’s command.