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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                     Lord Of The Sabbath (2:23-28)

INTRODUCTION

1. As noted previously, the ministry of Jesus prompted close scrutiny by
   religious leaders...
   a. As when the scribes took issue with His claim to forgive sins - Mk
      2:6-7
   b. As when the scribes and Pharisees took issue with His dining with
      sinners - Mk 2:16

2. One issue in particular produced a strong reaction:  the Sabbath and
   its observance...
   a. At first, it involved Jesus' disciples plucking grain on the
      Sabbath - Mk 2:23-24
   b. Later, Jesus would be criticized for healing on the Sabbath - cf.
      Mk 3:1-2

3. On the occasion involving Jesus' disciples plucking grain...
   a. The Pharisees said it was unlawful - Mk 2:24
   b. Actually, it was contrary to rabbinical tradition, but not the Law
      per se

4. In answering the Pharisees, Jesus stated two notable things...
   a. "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." - Mk
      2:27
   b. "Therefore the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath." - Mk 2:28

[These statements will serve as the basis for this study, beginning with
the idea that...]

I. THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN

   A. THE INSTITUTION OF THE SABBATH...
      1. The Sabbath was first commanded to Israel in the Wilderness
         - Exo 16:23-30
      2. It had previously been unknown to them - cf. Neh 9:14
      3. It was then codified in the Ten Commandments - Exo 20:8-10
      4. As part of the Covenant not given to the patriarchs, but to
         Israel - Deut 5:2-3
      -- The Sabbath was not commanded by God until the time of Moses

   B. THE BASIS OF THE SABBATH...
      1. Based on the fact that God Himself rested on the Seventh Day
         - Exo 20:11
      2. Inserted as a prolepsis by Moses in his Genesis account - cf.
         Gen 2:3
      3. Given to Israel as a special sign between them and God - Exo
         31:13-17
      4. Given to remind them of their slavery in Egypt - Deut 5:15
      -- The Sabbath was given only to Israel as part of the Law of
         Moses

[Man was made first, and even existed for millenniums before the Sabbath
was ever commanded (see The Sabbath Day for more detail).  Thus the
Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  Next we notice the
claim made by Jesus that...]

II. THE SON OF MAN IS LORD OF THE SABBATH

   A. WITH AUTHORITY TO INTERPRET ITS USE...
      1. As the Son of Man, Jesus was complete and perfect manhood
         a. Since the Sabbath was made for man, the Son of Man was
            rightly the Lord of the Sabbath
         b. He could decide what was permissible, or what was forbidden
      2. As the Son of God, ever one with the Father, He had given the
         Sabbath in the first place! - cf. Jn 1:1-2; 8:58; 10:30; 17:21
      3. Jesus demonstrated  His Lordship by the superiority of His
         reply to the Pharisees
         a. Jesus first appealed to example of David and his men - Mk 2:
            25-26; cf. 1Sa 21:1-6
         b. Matthew adds the example of priests working in the temple on
            the Sabbath - cf. Mt 12:5
         c. Note that Jesus appealed to Scripture to make His point
            ("Have you never read...?")
         d. And what was Jesus' point?  Consider the following:
            1) "A higher law, where it conflicts with a lower one,
               suspends or limits the lower one at the point of
               conflict. Thus the higher laws of worship in the temple
               suspended the lower law of Sabbath observance, and thus
               also the higher law of mercy suspended the lower law as
               to the showbread when David took it and mercifully gave
               it to his hungry followers, and when God in mercy
               permitted this to be done." - J. W. McGarvey, The
               Fourfold Gospel
            2) "And thus, had they done what was otherwise unlawful, the
               disciples would have been justified in eating by the
               higher law of Christ's service. And thus also would
               Christ have been justified in permitting them to eat by
               the law of mercy, which was superior to that which
               rendered the seventh day to God as a sacrifice." - ibid.
         e. Thus by using Scripture Jesus effectively silenced their
            objection based on tradition!
      -- As Lord of the Sabbath, He had sovereign authority to interpret
         its use

   B. WITH AUTHORITY TO RESCIND ITS USE...
      1. If He so willed, Jesus could discontinue the Sabbath
         requirement - cf. He 1:3 ("upholding all things by the word of
         His power")
      2. In fact, Jesus has brought the Law (of which the Sabbath was
         part) to an end!
         a. Through His death on the cross - cf. Ep 2:14-16
         b. Having nailed it to the cross - cf. Col 2:14
         c. Jews who come to Christ die to the Law - cf. Ro 7:4-7
         d. The Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant -
            2Co 3:6-11; He 8:6-13
      3. That Jesus ended the Sabbath requirement is evident
         a. "So let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding...
            sabbaths" - Col 2:16
         b. "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems
            every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own
            mind." - Ro 14:5
         c. Thus Christians assemble on the first day of the week to
            worship - Ac 20:7; 1Co 16:1-2
      -- As Lord of the Sabbath, He has chosen to rescind its use

CONCLUSION

1. Controversy over the observance of the Sabbath has been around for a
   long time...
   a. The manner of its observance was a major issue during Jesus'
      ministry
   b. The need for its observance is still questioned by some today

2. But when we pay close attention to the teaching of "The Lord Of The
   Sabbath"...
   a. We will reach conclusions based on Scripture rather than tradition
   b. We will find that the Lord who ordained the Sabbath has rescinded
      its use

While we appreciate the role of the Sabbath in Israel's history, let us
be sure that it is the Lord of the Sabbath that we worship, and not the
Sabbath itself...
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