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author on December 10th, 2008

Jesus and His disciples were simply picking some heads of grain as they walked along the grain fields. The Pharisees accused them of “doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath” (Mark 2:24Mark 2:24
English: World English Bible - WEB

24 The Pharisees said to him, “Behold, why do they do that which is not lawful on the Sabbath day?”

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). So Jesus reminded them of their own history.

David was on the run. The king of Israel, Saul, had made it abundantly clear (1 Samuel 20:30-331 Samuel 20:30-33
English: World English Bible - WEB

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, You son of a perverse rebellious woman, don’t I know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Therefore now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die. 32 Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Saul cast his spear at him to strike him. By this Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death.

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) that David must die. David fled to Nob, where he met the priest Ahimelech. He asked the priest for bread, but all the priest had was consecrated bread, which was devoted to God. He gave the bread to David – there was a practical need, and Ahimelech understood what Jesus taught in Mark 2:25-26Mark 2:25-26
English: World English Bible - WEB

25 He said to them, “Did you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry—he, and they who were with him? 26 How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the show bread, which it is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and gave also to those who were with him?”

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long before Jesus came to Earth: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Still not getting the point, the Pharisees challenged Jesus again, this time in the synagogue. Jesus asked a man with a shriveled hand to stand before the crowd. Jesus asked the crowd, “which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4Mark 3:4
English: World English Bible - WEB

4 He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” But they were silent.

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No one answered.

If the answer is not obvious to you, counseling may be in order. Jesus did good: He healed the man. The Pharisees got it wrong – they went out, on the sabbath, and plotted to kill Jesus!

So the Sabbath is not just a day of leisure, it’s a day to do good. And just as in Jesus’ day, there are those today who will get it wrong, doing evil and killing – and not just on the Sabbath.

Whether  it’s the Sabbath or not, resolve to do good – to save life – and resist society’s bent toward doing evil and killing.

The Pharisees were legalists – putting their own perverse interpretation of the law above the safety of the very people it was designed to protect! We can barely go a day without hearing it repeated today in our courts, our cities and all over the world.

If we’re going to err in applying our laws today, let’s see that we always err on the side of the people, that they may love the law that protects and never know law that oppresses.

Content:

Jesus explains the purpose of the Sabbath through telling of David and the consecrated bread, and by healing the man with the shriveled hand, saying, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Divisions:

I. Jesus compares picking grain to eat on the Sabbath to David’s eating consecrated bread (Mark 2:23-28Mark 2:23-28
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 It happened that he was going on the Sabbath day through the grain fields, and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Behold, why do they do that which is not lawful on the Sabbath day?” 25 He said to them, “Did you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry—he, and they who were with him? 26 How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the show bread, which it is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and gave also to those who were with him?” 27 He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

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II. Jesus heals a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6Mark 3:1-6
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 1 He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered. 2 They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him. 3 He said to the man who had his hand withered, “Stand up.” 4 He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other. 6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

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Aim:

To cause the audience to balance law and compassion as Jesus taught