Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Lent Devotional March 15, 2014

Scripture

Mark 2:23-3:6

23 One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" 25 And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions." 27 Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come forward." 4 Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Devotional

“The Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath.” 

Jesus turns our entire concept of Sabbath upside down. The concept of Sabbath is meant to be a blessing, not a curse. It should be freeing, not restraining. 

It’s funny how easily we take blessings like this and turn them into curses. We become slaves to the very things that should set us free.

After this pronouncement, Jesus further demonstrates the beautiful, life-giving concept of Sabbath as he heals a man. In response, the scribes are furious, and we see the first movements that will eventually lead to the events of Holy Week. They begin to plot his death because he healed a man. They were more comfortable with slavery than freedom, and they were willing to kill for it. 

Message provided by the Miller Summer Youth Institute.