Mark: 2:23-28 | Jesus: Lord Over The Sabbath

July 26, 2020
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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Aren’t you thankful that we don’t have to live under the burden of trying to make God happy with rules, regulations, and traditions of the Pharisees? It is for freedom that Christ set us free! For those of you living under the burden of trying to be good enough for God, this message is for you! Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  In this message, Pastor Dustin teaches how God offers freedom to those under the burden of lifeless rules on how to make God happy.

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Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark: 2:23-28 | Jesus: Lord Over The Sabbath
July 26, 2020

INTRO:

Last week we left off talking about the heavy burden of religion—

Rules, regulations, and all the traditions that people have come up with to give them the illusion that they are going to Heaven.

Religion is man’s way of getting to God.

But the Word of God says that you are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ—not by your works, rules, regulations or traditions. (Ephesians 2:8)

“Religion” is never a good thing.

The epitome of religious people in the Bible are called Pharisees.

“Pharisees”:  separated ones.

They were too good to hang out with common people, so they set themselves apart.

The Pharisees demanded obedience to all of the Bibles commands AND the Oral Law.

Oral Law/Spoken Law were hundreds and even thousands of additional rules for each Biblical command.

There were no exceptions for the Pharisees.

They showed no mercy.

And this lack of mercy is why we keep seeing confrontation after confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees.

Last week, Jesus didn’t have a confrontation with anyone, but it was the common people who asked a sincere question regarding fasting.

Jesus gave three analogies to answer the question.

  1. Wedding Party
  2. Seamstress
  3. Winemaker

In those analogies we learned that Jesus didn’t come to patch up the holes in cold, hard, dead religion, but instead came to give new life.

Jesus is the new wine, and His message of the gospel is the new wineskin.

Lastly, we talked about freedom.

People were freaked out with how Jesus lived His life.

He was free of what people thought of Him.

And it’s this freedom that Jesus invites us into today.

I got a little excited last week and forgot to show you this verse.

Galatians 5:1 NLT —So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. 

Remember Larry the legalist?

Who wants to hang out with that guy?

The work of eternal salvation has been done by Jesus.

Scripture says that the only thing you need to do—to experience freedom— is believe.

The most famous verse in all of Scripture is…

John 3:16 ESV —“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

And in today’s lesson, we meet people religious people who don’t want to be saved.

They read the Bible—but they don’t understand it.

They refuse to believe that their interpretation of the Bible is wrong.

They refuse to listen.

They refuse to change.

They’re unteachable.

They become religious police, blocking the way to God.

And yet, Jesus came to teach those and save those who are teachable.

The Word of God says, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Anyone want to get freed up today?

PLEASE STAND for the reading of God’s Word:

SCRIPTURE: Mark 2:23-28

Mark 2:23 NIV —One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as His disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

Mark 2:24 NIV—The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Mark 2:25 CSB—Jesus said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry.

Mark 2:26 NLT—David went into the house of God … and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.”


Mark 2:27 NASB —Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.


Mark 2:28 CSB —So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Amen. Please be seated.

EXEGESIS:

Mark 2:23 NIV —One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as His disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

Understanding the importance of the Sabbath day in the first century puts us at a disadvantage.

Background: two things set the Jews apart from the other nations:

1) The Sabbath Day and 2) Circumcision

The Sabbath was from Friday evening until Saturday evening.

The Sabbath was known as the perfect example of Judaism.

The Sabbath was the “heart of the law.”

The Sabbath separated Israel from other nations.

To honor the Sabbath meant to honor God.

The Sabbath was so esteemed that it was called, “The bride of Israel” and “God’s queen.”

Even today, during a synagogue service, the door is opened, and the Jews welcome the Sabbath by singing, “Welcome my Beloved, Let us Greet Queen Sabbath.

Back…

Mark 2:23 NIV —One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields…

Two things:

1) Roads were scarce, so people walked through fields all the time. Not unusual.

2)  God’s social security system for the poor, hungry and travelers.

Leviticus 23:22 —“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.” 

In this command, we see God’s mercy for people.  People are God’s priority.

Mark 2:24 NIV —The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Now, note to self.

If you’re going to talk Bible with Jesus, you’d better know what you’re talking about. Amen?

This Pharisee is talking about man-made laws.

He’s not talking Biblical law.

Because there is only one commandment that God gave Moses regarding the Sabbath.

Exodus 20:8 NLT —Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

It’s one of the top ten—#4 on the Ten Commandments.

Have you seen the movie? Charlton Heston?

The word “Sabbath” comes from sabbaton. It means “to cease.”

The double “B” in the word Sabbath is intensified, so it’s a complete cessation.

Now when God says rest, He means it.

Let me give you some Old Testament examples:

Exodus 31:13 NLT  Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

God is saying, the Sabbath Day is my gift to you.

The Sabbath day is about rest, but it’s also about trust.

Was the Jew going to work his field that day to get ahead?

Or is he going to trust in his Provider?

Exodus 31:14 NLT You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community.

Those were Sabbath days, now God also instituted Sabbath years.

Leviticus 25:2 NLT  When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year.

The Jews were to trust God for their provision during this Sabbath year.

The whole year—no farming. Would that make some of you nervous?

They were to be wise in saving and storing from the abundance of the previous six years.

Did the Jews keep the Sabbath day?

Did they keep the Sabbath year?

No, it’s one big reason why they got hauled off into exile.

God gave them all this free land, and they forgot about God.

They enjoyed all of God’s prosperity and provision, but failed to remember who the Provider is.

Good thing that can’t happen today…

Mark 2:24 NIV —The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Now, last week, we talked about how the Pharisees spent the previous 400 years developing thousands of additional rules, regulations, and traditions for each one of God’s 613 commands listed in the Old Testament.

They were trying to prevent the nation from being judged by God again.

Today, we see the crushing weight of these rules—Oral Law.

The Pharisees added 1,500 additional rules and regulations to this one command for the Sabbath day.

Let me give you some examples…

No furniture could be moved inside the house, since it might create ruts in the dirt floor…and if you created grooves in the dirt floor, that was considered plowing—farming. And plowing was work.

Ladies, you were not allowed to look in a mirror, because you might find a gray hair… and you might be tempted to pull it…and pulling out a gray hair was considered work.

Women were not allowed to wear jewelry, since jewelry weighs more than a dried fig.

And if you carried anything weighing more than the weight of a dried fig, that was considered work.

A tailor couldn’t carry his needle.

The scribe couldn’t carry his pen.

A student couldn’t carry his books.

A person was not allowed to travel more than 1,999 steps on the Sabbath.

No clothing could be examined because you might just find a bug on it and accidentally kill it.

Nothing could be sold.

Nothing could be bought.

Nothing could be washed.

No fire could be lit. Cold water could be poured on warm, but warm water couldn’t be poured on cold.

You could not bathe. Why? Because water might fall of you and wash the floor.

If a candle was lit, you couldn’t put it out. If it wasn’t lit, you couldn’t light it.

If a building fell down on the Sabbath, you could only remove enough rubble to see if there were any survivors.

If there were survivors, they could be rescued, but if they were dead, the corpses must be left until the next day.

Sick people were only allowed enough medical treatment to keep them alive.

Because any medical treatment that improved their condition was considered work.

Merciless, heartless and cold blooded.

No wonder Jesus calls these guys a family of snake!

And I could go on and on and on for another 1,480 more times.

These are examples of the man-made Oral Law created by the Pharisees.

Now, there is a certain irony here—

And that is that those who worked in the Temple— didn’t have a Sabbath rest.

In fact, they had to work harder because all daily sacrifices and rituals were doubled on the Sabbath.

Don’t worry though, the Pharisees, came up with more rules that were exceptions to the rules.

Now, back to Scripture:

Mark 2:23 NIV —One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as His disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

Mark 2:24  —The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” NIV

So, what are these guys complaining about now?

When the disciples took the wheat off the stalk, they were guilty of reaping/harvesting.

Think about that accusation—the Pharisees said that the disciples were guilty of gathering crops—farming— to take to market.

When they rubbed the wheat in their hands to separate it from the chaff, they were guilty of threshing the wheat.

Threshing wheat is not a small process.

The Jews walked in a circle with a donkey on a threshing floor.

That donkey towed a big heavy wooden board behind him, and the board crushed the chaff releasing the wheat.

Now, when they blew the chaff away from their hands, they were guilty of winnowing.

Winnowing is not another small process.

On a windy day, the Jews would take a winnowing fork and toss these piles of wheat into the air so that the wind would separate the wheat from the chaff.

Lastly, when the disciples swallowed the wheat, they were guilty of storing the wheat on the Sabbath day.

One commentator said this, — “The disciples broke four laws on the Sabbath in one mouthful!”

Now, the problem with the Pharisees accusations is that none of it was Biblical.

Jesus’ disciples were doing exactly what the Old Testament permitted them to do in Leviticus 23:22.

Mark 2:25 CSB — Jesus said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry.

“Have you guys ever read the Bible?”

This is like accusing a seminary professor of not knowing John 3:16.

Jesus uses the great hero of the Golden age of Israel.

David—He’s the Pharisees idea of an ideal king.

So what we have is Jesus, the Son of David, using King David as an illustration.

Obviously, the Pharisees had read the story about David.

But they had no idea what it meant.

Jesus was asking them, “If you guys are so smart, why don’t you know what it means?”

Jesus is pointing these guys to 1 Samuel 21:1–6.

1 Samuel 21:1 NLT —David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech, the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. “Why are you alone?” he asked. “Why is no one with you?” 

1 Samuel 21:2 NLT —“The king has sent me on a private matter,” David said. “He told me not to tell anyone why I am here…” 

Write in your Bible…David lied. David is running and hiding from King Saul.

Jesus is telling the Pharisees that their poster boy for a king is a liar.

1 Samuel 21:3 NLT — Now, what is there to eat? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.” 

David and his men are running for their lives. They has no food. They don’t even have weapons.

1 Samuel 21:4 NLT —“We don’t have any regular bread,” the priest replied. “But there is the holy bread, …” 

1 Samuel 21:6 NLT —Since there was no other food available, the priest gave David the holy bread—the Bread of the Presence that was placed before the Lord in the Tabernacle. It had just been replaced that day with fresh bread. 

Those are the details, now Jesus gives us the summary…

Mark 2:26 NLT —He went into the house of God …and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.”

The only bread at the tabernacle was “the bread of the Presence” (Ex. 25:30).

Every Sabbath, twelve loaves of bread were baked and set on the gold table.

“Showbread”— means that it had been set before the Lord’s face. This bread is an offering to God.

After the fresh loaves were replaced, the priests were allowed to eat the old Holy Bread, but no one else could eat it.

Leviticus 24:9 NLT —The loaves of bread will belong to Aaron and his descendants, who must eat them in a sacred place, for they are most holy.

Here’s the point, even though the priest new the Biblical command from God, He valued David’s life more than law and tradition.

The priest showed David compassion. He made an exception to the rule.

How do we know that the priest did the right thing?

Because God didn’t punish the priest or David for their actions.

God allowed David to break the law for the sake of meeting an urgent human need.

So what’s Jesus’ point, in bringing this story before the Pharisees?

If God would allow this law to be broken for King David, how much more for the Son of David?

How much more for the King of kings.

In God’s sight, mercy always trumps ritual and ceremony.

Matthew 23:23 NLT  What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith.

Mark 2:27 NASB — Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. NLT

God ordered, ordained, or set aside the Sabbath to be a day of rest.

Mark 2:28 CSB —So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

“Lord” meaning “Ruler” or “Master”.

It comes the Hebrew word “Adonai”

It’s a title of dignity and honor acknowledging the power and authority of Jesus.

Now, why would Jesus give Himself this title?

Because it was God who created the Sabbath in Genesis 2:3. Way before Moses!

Moses was another one of the Pharisees heroes.

Moses represents the law.

Genesis 2:3 —And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.

Question, who is the He in this verse?  Jesus.

Scripture says…

Colossians 1:15 CSB —He is the image of the invisible God… 

Colossians 1:16 CSBFor everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him

Who do you think guys are?

Jesus is saying I made the Sabbath you knuckleheads.

What I say you can do on the Sabbath settles it.

I am the Lord—The ruler to whom everything and everyone is accountable.

Forget about your traditions and your rabbis.

They don’t legislate what you can do or can’t do.

They don’t have the authority.

They may have the illusion of authority, but it’s just an illusion.

Jesus was clearly claiming to be God, the Creator.

The Sabbath Day is Jesus’ Sabbath, and He is sovereign over it.

Now, how we’ll do you think this went over with the Pharisees?

Stay tuned for next week.

PREACH:

As I wrap up this lesson I want to focus on two things:

  1. The difference between a Sabbath Day and a Sunday.

Unfortunately, Church history has misconstrued the Sabbath day by thinking that Sunday is the new Sabbath. It’s not.

Nowhere in Scripture is Sunday ever called the new Sabbath day or the “Lord’s Day”.

The Sabbath day has always been from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

In Scripture, Sunday is always the first day of the week because that’s the day that Jesus walked out of His own grave.

He conquered sin and death on the third day.

And by doing that, Jesus repealed the Sabbath Day law completely.

The Sabbath day rest is now found in Jesus—not just one day a week, but every day of the week.

The reason we are meeting on Sunday morning is because that’s when the early Church did. (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

Secondly, I want to end today’s message on freedom.

Aren’t you thankful that we don’t have to live under the burden of trying to make God happy with rules, regulations and traditions of the Pharisees?

For those of you living under the burden of trying to be good enough for God, let me show something that I pray will free you up.

Matthew 11:28 NLT —Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

The Lord was not talking about physical labor.

He’s offering freedom to those under the burden of lifeless rules on how to make God happy.

We tend to think that we can earn God’s favor by doing good deeds…just like the Pharisees without even knowing what the definition of good is.

Look at Matthew 11:28 again. Jesus says

… I will give YOU rest.

Have you accepted Jesus’ gift of rest?

Or have you, like the Pharisees, heard the gospel–but hardened your heart.

Maybe you’re waiting.

Why would you wait one more day to call on the name of Jesus to give you rest?

Scripture says…

You do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. (James 4:14)

That life is a but a breath (Job 7:7).

People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. (1 Pe. 1:24)

I pray that if you have not called on the name of Jesus to forgive you of your sins, that you would do some business with God today.

Scripture says, Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2)

If you have questions, Ray and Debrey will be in the prayer room after the service.

For those of you who call yourselves Christians, my question to you is, what are you doing with this gift that Jesus gave you?

The Word of God says, you are the salt of the Earth—you are the light of the world. (Matt 5:13-14.)

Who are you sharing this message of eternal rest with?

Tithes and Offerings:

I want to introduce to David and Julie Yngsdal.

They serve as missionaries in Durban, South Africa.

David and Julie were asked to move to Durban to work with tens of thousands of refugees.

The refugees have come to South Africa out of desperation.

They have fled war and violence in their home countries in other parts of Africa.

And David and Julie minister to these refugees with the same good news that we learned today.

Jesus has come to give us eternal rest in Him.

A portion of your tithes and offerings go to missionaries like them worldwide.

Ways to give:

  1. Two black boxes in the foyer.
  2. PO Box 4540 Cottonwood AZ 86326
  3. Online via our website at RiverBible.org
  4. Or text 928-421-4030. Give 1

BENEDICTION:

“May the Lord bless you and protect you;

may the Lord make his face shine on you

and be gracious to you;

 may the Lord look with favor on you

and give you peace.” ’  (Numbers 6:24-26)

Sermon Bibliography

Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007.

Blight, Richard C. An Exegetical Summary of Mark 1–8. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2012.

Blum, Edwin A., and Trevin Wax, eds. CSB Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.

Calvin, John, and William Pringle. Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.

Friel, T. (2014). Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You. Green Forest, AR, New Leaf Publishing.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.

Garland, David E. Mark. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

MacArthur, John. Mark 1–8. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.

Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.

Sproul, RC. Lord of the Sabbath. Renewing Your Mind with RC Sproul. Ligonier Ministries, 2020.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/41-11

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