While walking in grain fields with Jesus on the Sabbath, the disciples plucked heads of grain to eat them. To them, it seemed the right thing to do since they were hungry. However, to the Pharisees, whose legal rigidity Jesus denounces and decries in the gospel, the disciples were breaking the law. The Jews had many laws, four of which according to theologians, stipulated that reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing a meal on the Sabbath was forbidden.
Despite their legal rigidity and malicious intent to accuse and arrest Jesus by pointing to what they perceived as wrongdoing in the disciples’ actions, the Pharisees’ reaction to the disciples’ behavior reminds today’s Christian leaders of their responsibility to be the voice that calls society to keep Sunday holy.
We live in times of permissiveness. Personal attitudes have turned Sunday into a day when sport activities are scheduled throughout the day, when many Christians sleep late with no concern for worship, and a day that is used for everything else except for rest and spiritual renewal. While Jesus points to the petty rigidity of the Pharisees, he also boldly claims that “the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to keep Sabbath holy by resting and renewing myself in your Word and sacraments on Sunday. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Stéphane Kalonji, Pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in New Bern, NC.