Jesus: Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of the Law | Luke 6:1-11

YouTube video sermon

Love God. Love People.

Introduction

Luke 6:1-11 ESV On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. (2) But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” (3) And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: (4) how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” (5) And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (6) On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. (7) And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. (8) 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. (9) And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” (10) And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. (11) But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

  • There is a reality in Christianity that is sometimes hard grasped. The pharisees couldn’t seem the grasp it, the disciples struggle to grasp it, and the modern church even today has a hard time grasping this reality.
    • The reality is that we are no longer under the law, yet we still uphold the law. That we are no longer slaves to the law given by Moses but are free under grace… yet it is in our freedom that we uphold the law better than those under the law did.
      • Was that confusing? It was to the disciples to, and it is to a many good deal of Christians, fortunately there is a good deal of scripture written about it…

Romans 6:14 ESV For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 3:31 ESV Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

  • Do you see the conundrum? God gave us a very specific law, a set of rules to live and abide by, and those rules got handed down from generation to generation… do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not covet…
  • In fact there are 613 commandments in the Law, that is, the Old Testaments. 613 does and don’ts.
    • Now in order to be perfect you can not break a single one of these commandments even once! And the Jewish religious leaders strived to be perfect… but not of them measured up.
    • Yet Jesus was perfect, He never broke a single one of the commandments.
      • And even so, they called Him a sinner, because He did stuff like this… He healed on the Sabbath and ate grain plucked from the field on the Sabbath.
    • You see church, there is a problem with laws… they have to be interpreted. Because, frankly, words can just mean so many things.
      • That’s why we have the Judicial branch of government, to interpret the laws passed by the legislative and executive branches.
      • It’s why even though the constitution hasn’t changed in over 25 years we still have huge legal battles trying to decide how to interpret the constitution.
        • It’s why gay marriage is now federally recognized and legal, not because the constitution changed, but because the governments interpretation of the constitution changed.
      • And the problem with interpretation is that, if our supreme court is any indication, often our interpretation is wrong.
    • Jesus healed on the Sabbath and His disciples plucked grain and ate it on the Sabbath, under the pharisees interpretation of the Law Jesus and His disciples were sinning.
      • But of course their interpretation of the Law was wrong.
    • And because the Holy Spirit, who is called the Great Helper, now lives inside of us helping us interpret the Law, we now are able to uphold the Law better than all the religious leaders of Jesus’ time.
      • So it is in that great irony that it is us who are no longer under the law who uphold the law the best.

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  • So today we are going to talk about how we who are under grace interpret the Law and uphold it in the grace of God.

Point One – Jesus is Lord of the Law

Luke 6:1-5 ESV On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. (2) But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” (3) And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: (4) how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” (5) And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

  • Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and Lord of the Law. This, ultimately is the end of the conversation.
    • I am going to explain what happened here and Jesus’ rebuttal, but first I want to make this clear.
    • JESUS IS LORD OF THE LAW.
  • What does that mean? It all comes down to interpretation.
    • You see when it comes to American laws, the Supreme Court is the lord of those laws… they are SUPREME. What they decide is the correct interpretation of a law is it. It’s the end of the line, there decision trumps all other decisions.
      • Whether we agree with their interpretation or not doesn’t matter, they are lord of American Law. Period, end of the story.
    • In the same way, Jesus is Lord of God’s Law, no matter how we want to interpret it, Jesus’ interpretation is final.
      • Whether we agree with Jesus’ interpretation doesn’t matter, He is the Lord of the Law. Period. End of story.
    • So let me tell you what’s going on here in Luke.
      • It’s the Sabbath day, a day once a week where no work is allowed to be done at all.
      • In fact, this law is one of the 10 commandments, it’s the 4th commandment…

Exodus 20:8-10 ESV “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

  • Pretty straight forward, don’t do any work on the Sabbath… But do you see how this has to be interpreted… what counts as “work”? That was the question.
  • Now Jesus and His disciples are walking through a grain field and plucking grain and eating it…
    • Now, it was specifically written in the law that it was ok to eat other peoples grain as long as you were not using any tools, the law says it’s ok to go and pluck grain to eat for yourself… so there is no sin there…
    • The problem is that the Pharisees considered the plucking of grain to be work. They interpreted what the disciples were doing as work, and thus they claimed Jesus and the disciples were sinning.
  • Jesus responds to this claim by sharing a story from the old testament, he talks about a time David and his men ate the showbread in the temple…
    • Now ordinarily the showbread was reserved for the priests, and it was a sin (and illegal) for anyone else to eat this bread…
      • You see there was sin in Israel.
      • The king was rejected.
      • The law concerning the showbread was never intended to be so slavishly followed as to permit God’s king to starve.
      • And who better to interpret the law of Israel than the King of Israel ordained by God?
    • The Pharisees knew this story, and they would NEVER call King David a sinner… and Jesus is saying, don’t you see this is the same thing.
      • Jesus is saying, just like in David’s time, there is sin in the land.
      • And just like in David’s time the King is being rejected.
      • Jesus is saying, just as it was in David’s time, the Law concerning the Sabbath was never intended to bring the King’s disciples starvation.
      • And who better to interpret the law of God than the King of Kings who gave the Law in the first place?
    • It’s is Jesus’ interpretation of the Law that matters, and only Jesus’ interpretation.
      • It does not matter what other people say… if Jesus says it is sin, then it is sin, if Jesus says it is allowed, then it is allowed. It does not matter what I think, or you think, or anyone else. JESUS IS LORD OF THE LAW.
    • And that friend is great news! At least it is great news for us, because we have the Lord of the Law living inside of us.

2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

  • If you are a Christian then the Lord of the Law, Jesus Christ, is living inside of you!
    • That is so wonderful when it comes to upholding the law, let me show you why:
      • Show of hands, how many of you, if I asked you right now, could name the 10 commandments right now?
        • Just a couple of people… and that is only 10 commandments! Remember that the law has 613 commandments!
        • I myself can name the 10 commandments and I could probably pull out 10 or 15 Levitical commandments if I thought hard enough about it… but I could not get anywhere near naming 613 commandments!
      • So how was this handled in the times of Jesus? Through rote memorization!
        • The Jews in Jesus’ day had three levels of education. At the ages of six through twelve, the Jewish boys and girls would begin their education in the synagogue school, learning how to read and write. The textbook was the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the goal was to memorize the sacred text.
          • The Babylonian Talmud Baba Bathra 21a:6 says, “Before the age of six do not accept pupils; from that age you can accept them, and stuff them with Torah like an ox.”
          • Incredible, isn’t it! Can you imagine having memorized the Torah by the age of twelve?!
          • This level is concluded with a Bar Mitzvah for the boy, to welcome him into the community as a full member.
        • The next level was the ‘Bet Midrash’. This was only for the best of the best. This level was from age thirteen to fifteen, where they continued studying and memorizing the entire Tanach (in other words, the complete Old Testament).
          • Very few were selected for this pursuit.
        • The final level was the ‘Bet Talmud’, which was the longest in duration as it went from the age of 15 to 30. To participate, he must be invited by a Rabbi and, if selected, he would begin a process of grooming that would lead to the potential of becoming a Rabbi at age 30.
      • So, this is the method by which the Jews tried their best to follow the law, by memorizing every word of it by the age of 15!
        • And many of them would successfully…
      • Praise God we don’t have to do that, amen? That we have the Law giver and Lord of the Law living inside of us!
        • But there was a problem with the way that the Jews tried to follow the law, they did OK memorizing it… but following it was even more difficult because that requires interpretation.
      • We don’t have to worry about the interpretation, because we have the interpreter living inside of us.
    • You see, my job as a pastor is not to tell you what is a sin or what isn’t a sin. It’s not even my job to tell you to stop sinning…
      • Those are jobs for Jesus and the Holy Spirit who live inside of you.
    • If you are a Christian and you are in sin… it is my experience that there is nothing that I can say or do to make you stop sinning…
      • However, what I can do is encourage you in what you already know.
      • If you know you are in sin and want to stop, I am there to encourage you and help you stop.
      • But, on the other hand, if you are living in sin and don’t know it or don’t want to stop, I find there is nothing I can do to help you but pray for you.
        • No sermon, no advice, no sit down meeting I have ever had with someone has ever changed someone’s mind about what sin is or isn’t.
      • But what does happen, and this happens to me to when my pastor friends help me out… what does happen is there is already loving convection so when a sin is called out it is encouraging and not discouraging.
    • Guy’s I have never been complete ignorant of a sin and then had someone say “You know that’s a sin you should stop” and been like “Oh, ok, my bad.” That never happens because it is not a matter of memorizing what is or isn’t a sin, it’s a matter of listening to Jesus who lives inside of me.
    • To the contrary what has happened is that I will have a sin in my life, and I will know it, and I will feel the convection, and someone will come up to me and say “You know that is a sin right” and I will be like “Yeah…. I know…” and that interaction will help encourage me to repent.
    • It’s why I rarely call specific sin out in peoples lives, because if the Holy Spirit has failed to convict them who am I to try to convict them
      • Now I am simplifying this a lot, but the point I am trying to make is that because we have the Lord of the Law inside of us we no longer need to memorize the Law, we just need to listen to Jesus and He will tell us.
      • And because it is the Lord of the Law telling us, this then helps us find the proper interpretation of the Law, because it is the Lord of the Law who tells us.
    • Now, brining it back in, some people take all of this to mean that there is no black in white, they say that because the Law must be interpreted then there is no absolutes. You can’t say something is ABSOLUTLY a sin because the law needs to be interpreted.
      • Let me tell you church, that line of thinking is RUBISH! Just because a law needs to be interpreted does not mean that there is not an absolutely correct interpretation.
    • That’s what we are going to talk about next, the correct and absolute interpretation of the Law.

Point Two – The Law is meant for Good

Luke 6:6-11 ESV On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. (7) And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. (8) 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. (9) And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” (10) And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. (11) But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

  • Look at verse 9, this is the million dollar question, if we get this right then we have correctly interpreted the law…

Luke 6:9 ESV And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?”

  • Jesus just got straight to the point…
    • The scribes and the Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus breaking the Law.
    • There was a man with a withered hand, and the Pharisees and scribes knew that Jesus had a tendency to heal these kinds of things… so they were like “Let’s catch Jesus healing on the Sabbath, then we know He is a sinner!”
      • Blows my mind that seeing Jesus restore a withered hand had no effect on them, they were like… meh… but healing on the sabbath?! STONE HIM!
      • Like, what?! You just watched Jesus heal a withered hand and you are worried about what day it is?! Come on!
        • There’s a whole sermon right there, but that’s not what we are talking about this morning…
      • They are trying to catch Jesus breaking the law, so Jesus asks them this questions… “is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm?”
    • What He was saying was “Why don’t you go ahead and interpret the Law for me… there is a man here who will either walk away with a restored hand or he will walk away with a withered hand, so you go ahead and tell me, should I bless this man and do good by healing his hand, or should I curse him and do evil by not healing his hand?”
      • And don’t think that “do nothing” is an option, because by choosing to do nothing you are in fact doing evil to this man whom you can make well.
      • So which is it, what should I do, evil or good?
    • Oh man, to be a fly on the wall in that room, to see the Pharisees and scribes struggle to find an answer and finally to give up and say nothing…
      • “Uh, you see Jesus, well uh… the thing is… uh…”
    • I can just see Jesus giving them a “That’s what I thought” kind of look as He healed the man’s hand.
    • Is it lawful to do evil or to do good? The answer is always, absolutely, black and white… do good. The law was intended for good, following the law produces good fruit, we should never do evil…
      • The interpretation of the law is always for good.
    • Now that doesn’t mean that we get to go around twisting scripture and breaking laws in the name of “good”. Not at all! Following the law is good, breaking it is evil.
      • But again we have this marvelous mystery that Christ is inside of us and living and speaking and guiding, showing us what is good and what is evil.
      • When David ate the showbread it was not because he was ignoring scripture, it was because God was leading him to a proper interpretation of scripture. Again, it comes down to listening to God.
    • It is for this reason that I will fellowship with anyone who claims that the Bible is the word of God. That’s my litmus test… do you believe the Bible is the word of God.
      • Now our interpretations of the Bible might be different, we might come to different conclusions after reading the same text, but AT LEAST we agree that the text is perfect.
        • There are MANY things that are evil no matter what, no matter how you interpret the text, but there are things that people interpret differently.
        • I believe in speaking in tongues and prophecy.
        • Other churches believe those gifts have ceased… that’s ok, they are interpreting scripture differently then me.
      • But some things can’t be interpreted differently.
      • Jesus is the only way to heaven. Period.
      • Jesus is God.
      • We must repent and turn to Him.
      • We must be born again…
      • That kind of stuff is black and white, and it is even interpreted for us by surrounding scripture…
    • But when it comes to the day to day… I don’t know the 613 laws, I don’t know how to interpret and apply them.
      • And I study scripture for a living!
      • Praise God that the interpreter is in my heart.
    • The law is meant for good, and as such, the whole law can be summed up in two commands:

Matthew 22:34-40 ESV But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. (35) And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. (36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (37) And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (38) This is the great and first commandment. (39) And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (40) On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • Two great commandments that sum up all the law…
    • You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    • And, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
  • In short they could be put this way: LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE
    • LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE
  • Look at Matthew 22:40 again…

Matthew 22:40 ESV On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • So watch this… 613 laws right… watch…
    • Say this with me… “Love God… and Love People!”
  • Can you remember that?
    • Congratulations you just memorized all 613 commandments and then some!
      • Not only have you memorized those laws, but you now also know the proper interpretation!
    • Watch how this works…
      • Ok, so it’s the Sabbath and a man has a withered hand. We know we are not supposed to work on the Sabbath… but does this count as work… hmm….
        • Well we are supposed to love God and love people…
        • Would Healing this man dishonor God?
          • Well we don’t know if it’s considered work or not so we are not disobeying Him…
          • And God will be greatly exalted if this man is healed…
          • “God do you want me to heal him?… you do” Ok I prayed about it and it seems like God is saying yes… so yeah this would be loving God, in fact at this point it would be disobedient and unloving NOT to heal him…”
          • But just to be sure… is this loving people…
          • Well, this dude is going to get his hand healed… that sounds pretty loving…
          • I know that if I were him I would want my hand healed…
          • Jesus said “love others as yourself” and since I would want to be healed it is definitely loving to heal him.”
          • Thus I can conclude it is not a sin to heal this man. Bam!
        • You can do this in EVERY situation in life.
          • The Bible never says I can’t cheat on my test at school…
            • But if were the teacher I would want my students to not cheat…
            • So is it really loving to my teacher to cheat on this exam…
            • Thus I can conclude that cheating on this exam is a sin.
          • The speed limit is 60, but it’s 3AM, no ones on the freeway, and my wife is pushing a baby out in the back seat…
            • The bible says we should obey the law… but I am pretty sure if a cop pulled me over right now he would not give me a ticket for speeding to the hospital… he probably would help me get there by escorting me.
            • And if I were Amanda I would not want to have a baby in the back of a Buick LeSebre.
            • And since there is no one else on the road I am not endangering anyone by speeding, in fact I would be endangering my wife and baby by not speeding…
            • “God can I speed, will you protect me? You will?! Let’s go!”
            • Thus I can conclude it’s not a sin.
          • AND THE BEST PART ABOUT ALL OF THIS IS THAT THE LORD OF THE LAW LIVES INSIDE OF US! SO WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO REALLY GO THROUGH ALL OF THIS BECAUSE HE HELPS US THE WHOLE WAY!

Conclusion

  • In conclusion, let me say this… if all of this is confusing, that’s ok… just walk away knowing this… You are not under the law, but under grace. And because the Lord of the Law lives in you you have the ability to uphold the law better than anyone without Christ.
    • It’s a mystery, Christ in us, but it’s wonderful!

Colossians 1:27-28 ESV To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (28) Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

 

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