Mark Pt 13: When Tradition and Truth Collide (Part 2)
We are back into are expositional walk through the book of Mark, as we we bear witness to the “ Matchless Power of the Mighty Miracle Worker” . If you recall, when we were with Mark last, just before Christmas, we left part one of of a two part message, the sermon title was when “Tradition and Truth Collide” and the two part message was to be split down to the two questions the Pharisees asked as in the closing passages of Chapter 2.
In Mark 2 verses 18 - 22, the Pharisees and indeed the disciples of John who should have known better asked the question about fasting
18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Why aren't your disciples fasting!! is the charge levelled, and if you remember Christ responds with two illustrations for them.
One about marriage celebration - Jesus was with them so why fast? remember fasting was a way of seeking God
The second illustration is around new and old, and who they can be similar but not compatible - new cloth on old cloth, new wine in old wineskins.
Jesus is giving them a little dispensational teaching, the things that were, will not be fit for what is to come, things will be different.
Now, we concluded that message by confirming that fasting was a bad thing, the heart behind it had to be correct, it wasn't to be some outward legalistic tradition, but the truth was that it was to personal, and heart felt, earnest way of seeking God for protection, guidance, help and in fact we found from the apostle Paul’s example that fasting was part of his spiritual life. So fasting is not to be abandoned indeed I encourage it, but it has to be done right, in truth and not tradition.
When truth and tradition collide - Truth wins.
Now!! The Second question comes, lets read
23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
The second question comes as a result of what the Pharisees had witnessed doing as apposed to their first charge based on something that the disciples weren't doing.
Let’s set the context
23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
So Jesus and the disciples went through the cornfields. The fields would have had many pathways that crossed through them, a bit like the public walkways we have all around us in Spalding that allowing free passage through fields. So this was noting unusual at all.
The day in question was a Sabbath day. The Sabbath day for the Jew was the last day of the week - Saturday and it began Sundown on the Friday to Sundown on the Saturday.
Doesn't seem like anything is amiss, nothing dodgy going on at all, so what was the problem? The problem lies in the mindset of the Pharisees as they witnessed the actions of the Disciples, you see the disciples, plucked the crops, the heads of the grain, probably wheat or barley.
arhhhh, shock horror!!!! they plucked some corn!! the rebels!! off with their heads!!!
I mean seriously what is the problem with these guys, their problem is, that it is the Sabbath.
Now why is that a problem, well lets have a look firstly at the The Tradition of the Sabbath before we deal with the Truth of the Sabbath.
1. The Tradition of the Sabbath
1. The Tradition of the Sabbath
24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
Now we must go back to the giving of the law
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
So we find the Sabbath details given as part of the Law.
Now we have already seen from our studies that the when Jesus walked the earth, over a thousand years after the Law was given to Moses on mount Sinai, the Jewish Religious Teachers had desecrated the Spirit of the law and had turned it into a legalistic mechanism for self righteousness
The religious leaders had developed a religious system with 613 laws. They chose the number 613 because that was how many separate letters were in the text containing the Ten Commandments. Then they found 613 commandments in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). They divided the list into affirmative commands (do this)
There were 248 affirmative commands, one for every part of the human body, as they understood it. There were 365 negative commands, one for each day of the year.
And with the confines of this legalistic system of Law the Pharisees had a problem with what Jesus and his followers were doing .
By the standards of Law set by the Pharisees the Disciples were gulity of several violations of Sabbath Day Law.
They were guilty of reaping by picking the grain
They were guilty of sifting by removing the husks and the shell
They were guilty of winnowing by through the chaff in the air
They were guilty of preparing a meal by eating the grain after they had cleaned it
Now, this seems a nonsense to us doesn’t it, but that was the tradition of the Sabbath that Jesus encountered. But a silly as that sounds, there are those today that want to uphold this type of legalistic thought concerning the Sabbath, ranging from varying levels of extremes on it. For example The Seven Day adventists for example believe that Sunday Worship is Devil Worship, it is the Mark of the Beast to have Sunday as the Christian Sabbath.
So the legalistic spirit that lay upon the Pharisees of old still lives today, in the tradition of the Sabbath.
But what of the Truth of the Sabbath
2. The Truth of the Sabbath
2. The Truth of the Sabbath
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
Jesus rebukes the Pharisees at the very heart of their argument, the very place they got all things wrong - they were solely about the letter of the Law missing the spirit of the Law.
Jesus takes them back to Old Testament, to account of King David.
“Have Ye Not Read” he states, they should known better as they profess themselves to be scholars of scripture and the things of God.
The account if that of King David found in 1 Samuel Chapter 21, where David is fleeing to escape Saul empty handed and hungry. David desperate for food, goes to the priest, but he only has the Holy Bread, left over from ceremonial purposes, and that bread once it has served its ceremonial purpose was only to be eaten of by the Priests as per the Law.
Here Jesus is pointing to compassion above ceremony and tradition.
Then Jesus goes on to enforce his point
27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
The Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. The Pharisees had taken a blessing and made it a burden, They had got it all wrong, upside down.
Then Jesus takes it up a level
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Here Jesus is declaring his Messiahship, the Title “Son of Man” taken from Daniel 7
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
in the parallel account in Matthew 12, Jesus also states these words
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
So Jesus at the head of this rebuke declares he sovereignty over the Sabbath, His Deity and his Messiahship. As God in Human flesh he flattened their pathetic misguided Human efforts to please God through their own self righteousness.
That was the truth the Pharisees needed to hear.
Now as we close out, what about the practical application for us today, where do we stand in relation to the Sabbath?
Well firstly we need to be clear that the Sabbath was given to a Nation - Israel
12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
The Sabbath was given as a sign of the Mosaic covenant, The Law, which was given to Israel. The Sabbath Day was a ceremonial law (not moral law as the other nine commandments in Exodus 20). Adam, Abraham, Noah all lived before the Law was given, they weren't commanded to keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath was for Israel
Now the Church is not Israel, the Church is a separate body altogether, and we don’t live under the law, as in the Mosaic Covenant, we are under Grace, as in the New Covenant.
So what does that mean for us Today, well firstly we are freed from having to Worship or Work as we please on a Saturday. But what about Sunday, is that not our Sabbath day in affect?
Well we worship on a Sunday because that is the Day the Lord rose from the grave, the first day of the week. The early Church met on the first day of the week, so we meet on the first day of the week.
But wait, the early Church met also on the second, and third, and forth, and Fifth and Sixth and Seventh days of the week. Surely if we are to meet on the basis of the early Church pattern we should meet daily!
People can barely make it to two Services on a Sunday never mind a daily one!
We meet on Sunday because we choose to not because we are forced to, this is the beauty of the dispensation of Grace, the Church age that we live in
The New Testament makes the observance of a particular day not a binding obligation but a choice. Romans 14:5-6 makes it clear that there was freedom in the matter of special days
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Colossians 2:16-17 commanded the church not to allow anyone to act as their judge in regard to Sabbath days or feast days.
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
And Galatians 4:9-10 warns against going back under the Law by insisting on observing by requirement the special days given to Israel.
9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
If one wants to worship on Saturday or Sunday or any other day they have the freedom to do so under the new covenant of grace. It is when they make this a command- a requirement for all believers that they go wrong.
As we head to the New Year, I want to challenge us as a Church that we all stop living for the Sabbath Day, that one day a week type mentality were we give God Sunday, but nothing else. The Sabbath Day mentality where we trust in our own efforts to get us through, The Sabbath Day mentality where we let tradition take rule!
Let’s move away from that and leave it were it belong in the Age of Law and let’s move to where we should be in the Age of Grace.
I want us a Church, and as individuals to move from the Sabbath Day to the Sabbath Life, as God intending it to be, entering into a life of resting in HIm.
The Sabbath Day was nailed to the cross with Jesus
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Today, Jesus is our Sabbath, in Whom we completely rest for salvation.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
We are saved by ceasing from our own self-righteous human efforts, and instead completely resting in Christ's death upon the cross for our sins, His burial, and His bodily resurrection three days later. Thats not just a day of resting in him, its a life of resting in Him.
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I wonder are you resting in him this morning, if your not you need to be, for he is the answer to all, he is the Saviour, he is the redeemer, he is Lord of the Sabbath a Lord over all and we need to rest in him and not ourselves, not just one day a week but each and everyday of our lives.
As Truth and Tradition collide regarding the Sabbath we must walk the Path of truth and move from Sabbath Day Tradition to Sabbath Life Truth