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Lord of the Sabbath -- and Everything Else

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2021 12:00 am

Lord of the Sabbath -- and Everything Else

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 15, 2021 12:00 am

What happened when Jesus' life-transformational ministry came head-to-head with the Pharisee's religious technicalities? How could Jesus claim to live a perfect life if the religious leaders could accuse him of not following the Sabbath? Come explore with Stephen Davey the truth that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, not the other way around.

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So here right in the middle of the synagogue in front of everybody, there's recreated tendon, blood flow, muscle mass. Verse 11 tells us these Pharisees are now discussing with one another what they might do to Jesus, how they are going to kill Jesus. The hypocrisy of that irony.

There's a man that you've helped who's in pain. You're breaking the law. You're eating raw grain on the Sabbath.

Horror of horrors, you know. But we're going to kill you. Never mind, thou shalt not kill. As you know, Jesus and the Pharisees were frequently at odds. They made all kinds of accusations about Jesus, and Jesus challenged them for their pride and lack of faith. Today, we're going to examine one of those encounters. An encounter when Jesus's life transforming ministry came head-to-head with the Pharisees' religious technicalities.

Here's the issue. How could Jesus claim to live a perfect life if the religious leaders could accuse him of not following the Sabbath? Well, stay with us as Stephen Davey teaches from Luke chapter 6 in a message he's calling Lord of the Sabbath and Everything Else. One of my commentators on the text before us told the story of a group of middle school boys who were being given a tour of the church sanctuary by the senior pastor. He was regaling them with the meaning behind the stained glass windows and the pews and the different decorative elements they could see, and he just kind of droned on and on and on. Finally, they were in the lobby, and one boy noticed a plaque, some sort of memorial plaque hanging on the wall. It was a long list of names, and he asked the pastor who they were, and the pastor said they were members of the church who had died in the service.

And the boy asked, which service, the 930 or 11? I didn't think that was funny either. It reminded me of the truth that people can be spiritually cold, comatose, while at the same time never miss a service. There's a vast difference between religious experience and spiritual substance. There's a vast difference between the traditions of man and the truth of God. And that really becomes the point of where we find ourselves. Let me invite you to take your copy of the New Testament and go back with me to the Gospel by Luke. We're now in chapter 6, and this is really going to be the point that Jesus reinforces. While you're turning, let me inform you that this is going to also be the moment in the Lord's public ministry when the gloves come off. The conflict between the religious leaders and Jesus is going to boil over here in chapter 6.

We're at verse 1. On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grain fields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?

Now, let me set this up. The religious leaders of his day believed Israel was under the rule of Roman subjugation, the Roman Empire, because the Jewish people were not serious enough about keeping the Sabbath. They weren't keeping the rules. In fact, rabbis were teaching the nation that Messiah would not, could not come, he would not come for them, he would not release them, he would not arrive until they kept perfectly the Sabbath.

So this is not a trivial matter. I mean, this is a matter of national importance, and Jesus isn't helping the cause. Notice again the crux of the matter verse 2. Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath? What are you doing? Why are you doing what you're not supposed to be doing? Well, what are they doing?

They're walking through a wheat field, picking some heads of grain, popping the kernels into their mouths to silence their growling stomachs. Evidently, they'd forgotten to pack a lunch. And the Pharisees pounce. You guys are breaking the law.

Well, not really. In fact, the Old Testament law actually allowed hungry people to pull an apple off a branch from somebody's orchard or to pick heads of grain as they're traveling to make a quick meal for their journey. They just can't bring a bushel basket out there and fill it up. Deuteronomy chapter 23. But according to the technicalities of rabbinical law, and they had added thousands of ordinances and laws to the simple commands of God, according to them, when the disciples picked some heads of grain, they were technically reaping. When they rubbed them in their hands to separate the kernels and they blew off the chat, they were technically winnowing.

And when they pop those kernels into their mouths, they were technically eating prepared meals. And the Pharisees cried. You're breaking the law. No, they're not.

Don't miss this here. The Pharisees can no longer tell the difference between their tradition and God's truth. They can't tell the difference. And frankly, they're so caught up with the sound of their own voice, they just assume that whenever they speak, God's speaking. And I love what Jesus does here.

He doesn't get into a debate on the nuances and the technicalities of their application or misinterpretation of the law. He basically says, well, you know, you mentioned that what we're doing is unlawful. I'm glad you mentioned the law because it kind of brings a passage to my mind. So let's go back to First Samuel Chapter 21 and let's take a look again at something that happened here. I'm sure you've read it before. Notice Luke six, verse three. Have you not read?

I know you've read this, so let's go back there. Have you not read what David did when he was hungry? He and those who were with him, how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the presence, which is not lawful for any, but the priest to eat, but also gave it to those with him. Now, only the priests were allowed to eat this bread after it had been replaced, these 12 loaves with fresh bread there on the table of showbread inside the holy place. Every Sabbath, the priests would take the old gloves and eat them for dinner. But David, who is God's anointed in the service of God, well with him, the rules are suspended.

His hunger is a bigger issue than their regulation. And this passage in First Samuel, by the way, also suggests that since the loaves of bread had just been changed, he did this on the Sabbath. But the Pharisees are not about to condemn King David, not a word against him.

See, this is the heart of legalism. The Pharisees are going to use scripture to justify whatever they want to justify and condemn whatever they want to condemn. But Jesus isn't going to let them play games with God's word. So what we're going to watch, he sort of puts them in a hermeneutical headlock here and effectively says, look, if you don't condemn David for eating consecrated bread, you're not going to condemn us for eating raw grain. By the way, in this little history lesson, Jesus makes ever so slightly the implication of a connection between David, who is God's anointed, and himself, who was God's anointed. And the Pharisees now at this moment are just sort of standing there, you know, with their mouths open, realizing that Jesus just checkmated them. And they're sort of mulling over the implication of this analogy between David, the anointed one, and Jesus, the anointed one.

And Jesus lets them, you know, just sort of stew. And then he moves from giving them a little history to dropping the hammer, just giving them a little theology, verse five. And he said to them, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Now, the Son of Man happens to be a favorite expression Jesus uses for himself. It's a messianic title, a favorite title he'll use. And it means that the Son of Man is sovereign over the Sabbath.

Now, wait a second. Who created the Sabbath? God did.

Genesis chapter two at the end of Creation Week. So Jesus is essentially saying here, well, I happen to be the sovereign who created the Sabbath because I'm Lord of it. I'm Lord over it. And the creator is always greater than that which is created.

So I'm just announcing to you I am creator of God. Did they get it? Oh, you better believe they got it. You can imagine the shock of the statement.

Jesus is essentially saying you've taken the Sabbath and you've twisted it all up with your traditions and your laws and your ordinances. Well, I'm not going to untangle it. I'm taking it back. It belongs to me.

Wow. I am Lord. I am Jehovah. I am Jehovah over that which I created.

Now, we're not given the reaction here. I think Luke wants to save it for the next event. So let's go to verse six on another Sabbath. Note that it's as if Luke says, well, here we go again. On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and this time he's teaching. And a man was there, his right hand was withered and the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, Jesus, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath so that they might find a reason to accuse him. Mark's Gospel, Matthew also includes this, by the way, but Mark's Gospel uses language that informs us that this man was not born handicapped. Something had happened that had caused him to lose the use of his right hand. In fact, only Luke, however, being the doctor, tells us which hand it was. It was the right hand, which made his condition all the more perilous.

It's a volume in that. So Dr. Luke tells us that his right hand was withered. That Greek term means dried up, atrophied. In other words, his muscles had atrophied. He couldn't extend his fingers. He couldn't grasp a plow. He couldn't hold the tools of a carpenter. He's in desperate condition.

In fact, the manuscript from the second century fragments exist, have survived to this point. It refers actually to this passage and adds the information that this man had been a stonemason, but he had lost his livelihood in an accident and he was now too ashamed to be a beggar. He couldn't bring himself to begging. I want you to notice here that he's in the synagogue.

Isn't that interesting? He's been running away from God. In spite of the fact that his livelihood is in desperate need, his career is more than likely over, to that which he had been apprenticed, to that which he had learned, to that career which had supported his family.

That's now in ruin. He's no doubt confused here. He's desperate, but he's in the synagogue. Now, again, according to the expanded man-made rules of the Pharisees, the teaching of the rabbis, we've got a problem here. This is the Sabbath, and according to them, it was technically unlawful to practice medicine on the Sabbath. Of course, it was. Now, I understand in our culture, it's difficult on Sunday, you know, to find a dentist or an available doctor.

They usually don't operate on Sundays, but for them, it would be unlawful anyway. In fact, the rabbis taught cold water could not be poured on a sprained ankle or hand. He's had to, you know, suffer through it. A cut finger, they taught, might be bandaged, but not with ointment. In other words, you can stop the bleeding all over the house, but you can't, you know, put any Neosporin on it. Medical attention could be given only if a life was in danger, and this man's life is not in danger. To heal him would have essentially provided medical relief, and that was against their rules of the Sabbath, so said the Pharisees. And did you catch here in verse 7 that the Pharisees are watching Jesus? In other words, they know this disabled man is in the audience, in this worship service, and they know that Jesus enjoys doing some interesting things to disabled people, right? The word for watching, by the way, is a word that means to spy on.

One translator writes it woodenly, to watch out of the corner of your eye. So they're in the synagogue. They're in that service. They're not singing. They probably don't enjoy it. They're not closing their eyes, you know, during prayer.

They're not really listening. They didn't come to the synagogue, the Sabbath, to worship God. They came to spy on Jesus. Kind of makes me wonder why we're here today.

Are you spying on someone? Are you here to make up for the way you lived over the weekend? Are you here to feel a little more religious about yourself than you know you really are? Have we come to watch people or to worship God? We can all play the role of Pharisee with great skill and precision. Well, Jesus knew what was going on. And notice, he writes, Luke does in verse 8, and he knew their thoughts.

I love this. Original construction could be translated. He knew their thoughts all along. He knew it all along. He knew what they were thinking before they had even showed up. He knew what they'd be thinking at this moment.

He knew that they thought this was going to be the perfect setup to catch him once again, breaking the rules. But Jesus is going to set them up to reveal once again who he was. Verse 8, Luke records, but he knew their thoughts and he said to the man with the withered hand, come and stand here. And he rose and stood there.

Now, just slow down. This is going to be a public demonstration. Jesus is not, you know, going to whisper a little word of healing at the end of the service as people are filing out. And this man looks down and goes, whoa, my hand is healed. How'd that happen? Who did that?

No, not that at all. This is a stand up in the middle of the congregation, in the middle of the service, so that everybody can, this is going to be great. This is going to be right in their face. This is going to be egg all over, you know, these Pharisees.

I mean, how great is this? Go get them, Lord. I love these passages. Wait a second.

I'm in the flesh. Jesus loved these Pharisees as much as he loved this disabled man. He came to die for them, too. This man had a crippled body. They had crippled theology. This man had a withered hand.

They had withered hearts. Praise God for the mercy and grace of our Lord. This is, this is actually one more opportunity for them to believe what he meant when he said, I am Lord.

I am Jehovah over that which I've created. Now, verse nine. Jesus said to them, okay, here's this guy standing in the middle.

I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it? Now it's helpful to understand that Matthew adds to this account that Jesus slips in an illustration about how if one of their sheep fell into a pit, wouldn't they bring it out rather than wait while it suffered in misery? And then Jesus ends that illustration that Matthew records by saying of how much more value is a man than a sheep? Now get this, especially, by the way, in our generation, from the very lips of the creator, he says a human being's life is more valuable than an animal. That's shocking revelation for today, isn't it?

So why would you want to relieve the suffering of an animal and not want to relieve the suffering of a human being? Now, at this point, I kind of imagine nobody's breathing. You could hear a pin drop, just like when I'm preaching. Verse 10. And after looking around at them all, he said to him.

So he's looking at them as Pharisees. And he says to him, stretch out your hand. And he did so. And his hand was restored.

The word for restored means it became like it had been before. Before the accident. Suddenly. Not slowly. Immediately.

Not eventually. So here, right in the middle of the synagogue in front of everybody, there's blood flow, muscle mass, recreated tendon, nerve and joint, immediately restored. It's as if somebody blew air into a shriveled up balloon or like a flat tire that suddenly filled with air.

His hand suddenly fills out, takes shape. Just like it had been before. And this place erupts with fury. Verse 11 tells us these Pharisees are now discussing with one another what they might do to Jesus. Matthew adds how they are going to kill Jesus. Imagine the hypocrisy of that irony. Oh, you're breaking the law.

There's a man that you've helped who's in pain. You're breaking the law. You're eating raw grain on the Sabbath.

Horror of horrors, you know. But we're going to kill you. Never mind, thou shalt not kill. It's possible to appear religious and hide a heart of rebellion against God.

I also imagine this place erupting with joy and tears and hugs. This man's family more than likely among them an anxious wife, perhaps wondering how they will ever survive the future. He can't hold his stone masons tools. He refuses to beg.

What in the world are we going to do? And suddenly their lives are turned right side up miraculously. It's the authority. It's the power of the word of this man who is indeed able to do on the Sabbath and with the Sabbath anything he wants to do. You can't miss the power of his word here. It strikes me Jesus says to this man, stretch out your hand. And he believed and applied the word of Christ to his life.

It will change the rest of his life. What about us? Jesus said to these Pharisees, have you never read? He will say that often to them. Haven't you read? What he means is I know you've read it, but you're not getting it. You're reading it, but you're not believing it. You're reading it, but you're not applying it to your own life. It's possible to read the scriptures without applying the scriptures to our lives.

It's possible to analyze the text and miss the truth. What is it about God's word that you have difficulty applying to your own heart? Maybe you've come in today and you're finding it difficult to apply the truth of God's faithfulness. God has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Have you never read that? Well, you have read it.

Well, have you applied it? God will never leave me nor forsake me. Have you never read? Are you doubting your salvation? Jesus said, whoever comes to me, I will not cast out. Did you come to him? Yeah, but I'm really not sure I came to him in the right way or I came with the right words or I came with the right motive or if I came with the right spirit of, you know, was I really repentant when I came or did I really understand exactly what I meant to do or should do when I came or if I understood the full impact of what would happen when I came. And so did you come to him. He will not cast you out. Have you never read?

That's for you. Jesus says to this man, reach out your hand. He can't reach out his hand. His hand doesn't work.

His muscles are gone. He probably can't feel his hand, much less move it. Jesus tells him to do something impossible to go against everything he feels, everything he knows, everything he has become, everything he knows he can't do.

Reach out your hand. Can you imagine that moment? And the word of Christ is believed. And in that moment of obedience, he experiences a miraculous occurrence. And everyone in the synagogue, everyone got the point. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and everything else.

Thanks for joining us today. The message that Stephen just concluded is called Lord of the Sabbath and everything else. It's the ninth and final message in a series entitled The Ministry Begins.

This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. I want to make sure you know that the Wisdom staff team has taken this series and turned it into a set of CDs that you can add to your library of biblical resources. You can also listen to the series online at no cost to you. You can download the audio file of each message in this series, along with the complete manuscript if you prefer reading the message. For the CD set, navigate to our online store or call us today. To listen online or download the files, navigate to Stephen's teaching archive.

It's arranged by Book of the Bible and this series comes from the Gospel of Luke. You'll find it there. Our website is Our phone number is 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253.

And I hope we hear from you today. If you haven't already, I encourage you to install our app to your phone so that you can quickly and easily access all of our Bible-based resources. That app contains the audio and the transcript of each of these daily messages. You can follow along in our daily Bible reading plan and more.

The Wisdom International app will work with your smartphone, your tablet, or a smart TV. It's free to install and use and is a great companion for your personal Bible study. By the way, if you're new to our ministry, a great way to get to know us is to take us up on our offer to send you three months of our monthly magazine. You can read all the articles, follow along on the daily devotional, and we even have a recipe each month. We'd love for you to see our magazine called Heart-to-Heart. You can sign up for it on our website,, or you can call us at 866-48-BIBLE. Next time Stephen begins a series from James 1. Make plans to join us here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 23:34:15 / 2023-08-22 23:43:45 / 10

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