Luke 6:1-11 - 5 The Sabbath is for man and Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.
Luke 6:27-38 - 27 Love your neighbor, even if he is your enemy.
Luke 6:46-49 - 46 Not everyone who calls “Lord, Lord” is a follower of Jesus.
I’d like to focus on the beginning of the chapter. It opens with a scene in the Galilean countryside. Jesus and his disciples, hungry from travel, are plucking wheat from a field as they pass by. The ever watchful Pharisees are keeping their eyes on Jesus, trying at every juncture to catch him disobeying their interpretation of the Law. They have their focus on the Sabbath - how dare He let His disciples “prepare” food (that is, harvest the wheat berries). There should be no work done on the Sabbath, after all. Stick to the rule book, Jesus. But the Pharisees had no idea how outmatched they were in this arena. Imagine arguing with a world famous author about his own book, “educating” that author about his own writing and what it means.Well, that’s exactly what was going on here. The Pharisees were arguing with the one who had the deepest understanding of the Law, because, well, He might have had something to do with it! Jesus understood it more than anyone, and He called them out multiple times, first at the fields, then later at the temple when He healed a diseased man’s hand. But what He said wasn’t some argument to win the fight, it was actually a freeing statement: the Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath. Best of all (and I love this) He used Scripture to prove Scripture!Jesus showed them in a simple way that the Pharisees had misunderstood the Sabbath. They had elaborated on the rules, based perhaps at first on the good intention of directing people to follow God’s ways. But ultimately, the interpretation was penned by an errant human hand. God made the Sabbath for His people to rest, not to keep them from sustaining themselves through food or helping those who are sick. The Sabbath was made to benefit people, not to make them suffer.
Like I said in the beginning, there is a lot packed into Luke chapter 6. So why focus on the first few verses? Because the major tension in Luke 6 comes from such simple actions such as people eating food and someone tending to a sick man.Jesus speaks later on about the mark of a true disciple, one who bears good fruit, one who loves even his enemies, who doesn’t judge others, one who does more than just call out “Lord, Lord”, but takes action to follow the true commands of God’s Word. At this point, I recall two important commandments; the first, to love God with all your heart, and the second, to love your neighbor. The Pharisees were so focused on being right, on sticking to their paradigm of their religious orthodoxy, that they lost the directional bearings of their faith, and in the end, the heart of the Law. They were not exactly “loving their neighbor” by forbidding basic human needs.The application here is simple: find your bearings in the Word Of God. Be both a hearer and a doer of God’s Word. Let the Scripture speak for itself. When we read meaning into God’s Word, we’re introducing errancy. And remember that the Scriptures were written for our benefit and the benefit of our neighbors. Not to keep us in a tight box of religion, but to give us a better way. Because that’s why Jesus was born in a manger and walked as a man in the first place - to give us true Sabbath rest and eternal freedom.
Dear Father, thank you for giving your Word. Please help me to stay in your Word and to have discernment through the Holy Spirits’ guidance. Keep me from using Scripture knowledge as a means to win arguments and to pump myself up, but rather, let it reveal the “speck in my eye.” Forgive me for any times I’ve misused your Word. Please teach me to love your Word and to love my neighbor as you do. Thank you for your Sabbath rest and your love. Amen.