My dear friends, today I want to share with you a powerful message that comes from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 2, verses 23 to 3:6. This passage tells the story of Jesus and his disciples walking through a field on the Sabbath, and being accused by the Pharisees of breaking the law by picking grain. Later, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand in a synagogue on the Sabbath, further angering the religious leaders.
Heavenly Father, as we gather together today to reflect on your word,
we ask that you open our hearts and minds to the teachings of Jesus in Mark 2:23-3:6.
Help us to understand the true purpose of the law,
and to embrace a spirit of love and compassion in all that we do.
May we be agents of healing and hope in our world,
and may your light shine through us in all that we do.
We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Mark 2:23-3:6
23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?
26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
3 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
we ask for your forgiveness for the times we have placed legalism above your love and grace.
Help us to remember that the Sabbath was made for us,
to rest and rejuvenate in your presence,
and not to be a burden or a source of judgment.
May we always strive to follow your example and do good,
even if it goes against the traditions of men.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Congregational Prayer Response:
help us to always choose compassion over condemnation,
love over legalism,
and grace over judgment.
The Sermon: Jesus Defends His Disciples: A Lesson on Loyalty
The Tension that exists between Legalism and Love
This passage highlights an important tension that exists between legalism and love, between following rules and showing compassion. Jesus’ actions challenge the rigid and inflexible interpretation of the law that the Pharisees held, and remind us of the importance of mercy and kindness.
Breaking the Law?
First, let us consider the story of Jesus and his disciples walking through the field. The Pharisees accuse them of breaking the law by picking grain on the Sabbath, but Jesus responds by reminding them of a story from the Old Testament, in which David and his companions ate the consecrated bread from the tabernacle because they were hungry. Jesus points out that the law was made to serve people, not the other way around. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
The True Purpose of The Law
This story teaches us that the law is not meant to be an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. The law is intended to serve people, to bring them closer to God, and to help them live in harmony with each other. When the law becomes an obstacle to love and mercy, when it becomes a burden rather than a blessing, it has lost its purpose.
Challenging Legalistic Interpretation of The Law
Let us turn our attention to the story of Jesus healing the man with the withered hand in the synagogue. The Pharisees are outraged that Jesus would dare to heal on the Sabbath, but Jesus once again challenges their legalistic interpretation of the law. He asks them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” The Pharisees remain silent, unable to answer his question.
The Purpose of the Law
This story reminds us that the purpose of the law is to promote life, not to restrict it. The Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest and renewal, a day when people could focus on God and on the things that matter most in life. When the law becomes a source of division and conflict, when it prevents people from experiencing the love and compassion of God, it has strayed from its true purpose.
What Jesus Teaches Us
So what can we learn from these two stories? We can learn that the law is important, but it is not the most important thing. Love and compassion are more important than legalism and rigidity. We can learn that the law is meant to serve people, not to be a burden to them. And we can learn that the purpose of the law is to promote life, not to restrict it.
What does it mean to be a Follower of Jesus
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be people of love and compassion, not people of legalism and rigidity. We are called to look beyond the rules and regulations, and to focus on the people around us. We are called to be agents of healing and hope, not agents of division and conflict.
So my dear friends, let us embrace the teachings of Jesus in this passage from Mark. Let us be people of love and compassion, people who seek to promote life and healing in our world. Let us be a shining example of the power of grace and mercy, and let us never forget that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. May God bless you and guide you on your journey of faith.
In conclusion, the passage of Mark 2:23-3:6 challenges us to reconsider our Personal Christian relationship with the law, and reminds us of the importance of love and compassion. Jesus’ actions in these stories teach us that the law is meant to serve people, not to be a burden to them, and that the purpose of the law is to promote life, not to restrict it. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be agents of healing and hope in our world, to look beyond the rules and regulations, and to focus on the people around us. May we all strive to be people of love and compassion, shining examples of the power of grace and mercy in our world. Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you today with grateful hearts,
thankful for the teachings of Jesus in your Apostle Marks’ Writings.
We ask that you help us to embrace the true purpose of the law,
to promote life and healing in our world.
May we be agents of love and compassion,
seeking to serve others and to promote your kingdom here on earth.
We pray all these things in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.
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