Summary: “Your belief system needs to be a blessing rather than a burden for others in following Jesus.”


Proposition: “Your belief system needs to be a blessing rather than a burden for others in following Jesus.”

Objective: My purpose is to challenge each child of God to make sure that their belief system is a blessing, not a burden for others as they follow Jesus.


Illus: The following are some laws that either still are, or once were, in effect in various places in the United States.

In Iowa, it was a law that one armed piano players must perform for free.

In Wyoming, you cannot take a picture of a rabbit during the month of June.

If you keep your donkey in a bathtub in Georgia, you might be arrested.

In Harper Woods, Michigan, it is illegal to paint a sparrow and then sell it as a parakeet.

In Wisconsin, there is a law that says you cannot serve apple pie in public without cheese.

It is illegal to whistle underwater in Vermont.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, you need a licensed engineer to open a soda bottle.

It is illegal for a man to knit during fishing season in New Jersey.

In Hood River, Oregon, you need a license to juggle.

In Connecticut, a pickle must bounce to be considered a pickle.

Now I imagine that the stories behind these laws are just as humorous as the laws themselves. Think about it. What circumstances must have come about to cause Vermont to make it illegal to whistle underwater? Did somebody drown because there was an underwater whistling contest? And unless you’re watching Veggie Tales, who has ever heard of a bouncing pickle? And after you try to bounce it, do you really want to eat it? Such laws are silly, and I am sure the story behind them are just as silly.

Two incidents concerning the Sabbath are now brought before us to show that the mounting opposition of the religious leaders was reaching a climax. The first occurred on “the second-first Sabbath” (literal translation). This is explained as follows: the first Sabbath was the first one after the Passover. The second was the next after that. Wiersbe: “By their strict and oppressive rules, the Pharisees and scribes had turned the Sabbath Day into a burden instead of the blessing God meant it to be, and Jesus challenged both their doctrine and their authority.” The right use of the Sabbath—All four Gospels make it clear that a chief point in the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish authorities concerned the right way to keep the Sabbath. What does it mean to not work on the Sabbath?" The Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath. The Sabbath is to be a blessing for us. It’s a gift. It is not a set of rules to burden us, but a gift to be received.

I. THE OCCASION: The Horrifying Harvest (vvs. 1-5) “On the second Sabbath”— shocking, appalling shocking—Problem: The Pharisees added to God’ simple Sabbath Law. They were horrified and criticized Jesus and His disciples. The Lord Jesus and His disciples were passing through some grain fields on the Sabbath, followed by a delegation of Pharisees. The Pharisees knew that Jesus’ popularity was growing steadily. They also were becoming alarmed at the realization that Jesus was not in their camp, indeed, was often attacking them (cf. the Sermon on the Mount). They were afraid to leave Jesus to Himself, unwatched, unchallenged. We learn: Not breaking the Law is not the same as being a good moral person.

1. The occurrence (v. 1) “Now it happened on the…Sabbath”—The Jews took the Sabbath seriously. Keeping the Sabbath was near the top of the list of Pharisaic virtues. The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of His work, both in creation and redemption. The picking of grain from someone else’s field was permissible according to Deut 23:24–25, so that the issue was not picking the grain but doing so on the Sabbath, as the next verse makes clear.

2. The objection (v. 2) “Why are You doing what is not lawful”-- He was the most powerful teacher the world ever saw or ever will see. And he was attacking them. He was attacking their religion. I suppose you could say He was attacking what some would say was the best part of them. He wasn’t attacking the prostitutes, and He wasn’t attacking the tax collectors, He wasn’t attacking the riffraff of society. In fact just the opposite, he seemed to be drawn to those people, and attacked the religious nobility. And He not only attacked them, but He attacked them at the foundation of their religious system as well as at the level of their own false spirituality. And His attack was relentless.

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