The Lord of the Sabbath
January 8, 2017 Series: The Drama of the Gospel: What It is and How It Changes Everything
Passage: Mark 2:23–3:6
We are returning this morning to our study on the gospel of Mark, where Mark is giving us the real Jesus. We are discovering who Jesus is, what he came to do, what he is all about. We have already seen some remarkable claims from Jesus but in our narrative this morning we see that Jesus is claiming to be the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a very important identity marker for Judaism and Jesus is saying something here that is certain to ruffle some feathers. Which is exactly what he does as the narrative ends with two groups, the Herodians and the Pharisees, conspiring together on how to destroy Jesus. Mark is in this text showing us the lordship of Christ and how it is impossible to stay neutral toward his lordship. I contend that much like the leadership in Jesus’ day many of us really do not understand the lordship of Jesus and thus fail to fully live under its liberating and life-giving power. What does Mark teach us in this passage about the lordship of Jesus. We will look at two things. First the direction of his lordship, which we see in both incidents to be about blessing or doing good to others. And second, the purpose of Jesus’ lordship which when he says that he is the Lord of the Sabbath is revealing that he has come to restore shalom to his people and to creation.
Jesus is our Sabbath. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). How did Jesus accomplish this? Through the cross. The writer to the Hebrews puts it, “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). We live under Jesus’ lordship to the degree that we come under and embrace the rest that he won for us.