Short Meditations in Mark’s Gospel: 48. Nothing beyond Jesus
Mk 2:27-28 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
There are two things in these two verses that are so profound that I believe we miss them most of the time. The first is this issue of “The Sabbath was made for man”. The trouble was that the Pharisees had taken the law about the Sabbath and rammed it down people’s throats and in an expanded version so that that day was almost a trial. It might have made them feel pious that they were doing something that was clearly in line with the Law, as they saw it, but for many people it was a pain! The evangelical Christian world in the UK forty years ago was like that and still is in some quarters.
To get to grips with this, let’s ask a question? Why did God make this world and us with the ability to enjoy this world in the most amazing ways, if it wasn’t to bless us? Let’s ask another one. Why did God give Israel the Law if it wasn’t a) to restrain sin and b) show them how to be restored to God when they got it wrong and c) to show them an alternative way of living to the rest of the sinful world so that they could enjoy this world even more?
So why the Sabbath? To bless the people, to stop them getting made slaves to materialistic work and effort and to have time to reflect upon the Lord, and on His Creation and on His wondrous deeds of making Israel who they were. It’s all about enjoying the day, not feeling enslaved by it.
But on to the second thing: “the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus, being the Son of God, is not constrained by anything on this world that runs contrary to His Father’s perfect will. He is the Lord of this world and therefore he is constrained by only two things: first His Father’s perfect will which he himself reflects all the time and, second, his own character which is epitomized by love and wisdom (which John expressed as grace and truth – Jn 1:14).
So, whenever Jesus was confronted by any situation, his eye was on his Father and his heart sought to express the Father’s love for mankind with the perfect wisdom that only he has. Jesus goes behind the surface things (including the Law) and knows what is the truth and what is exactly right about any and every situation and is free to live within that knowledge. He is the Lord! Hallelujah!