Faithlife Sermons

Sermon for Pentecost 2

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Step 1: First Impressions

Read the text in the translation used for worship and meditate upon it. Record your first impressions of the text: what it says to you and to the people God has committed to your care. Ask questions about the text, noting especially those things that may be hard to understand or practice.


Even before the Pharisees came up to Jesus to rebuke his disciples for working on the Sabbath, he and his disciples are already traveling though the grainfields. Even if the disciples were not plucking the heads of grain, the Pharisees would have rebuked them anyway. Instead of rebuking them for whatever reason he could think of, Jesus instead turns to the Scriptures. Not just the Scriptures, but to the point when Isreal prospered under Christ's ancestor, King David. Since the Pharisees came about to return the people to this same time period, David's examples held great authority. It was a life and death situation for David back in 1 Samuel. He needed the supplies in order to survive. But God was with David, yet he did not punish David for breaking the Sabbath. The first question that comes to mind is what does Christ mean by saying that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath? The next question I have deals with that is the Son of Man above the Law or under the Law?

Step 2: Textual Study

Translate the text, noting any aspects of translation that are important for clarifying meaning. Identify the basic ideas and experiences evoked by the text and the purposeful ordering of them in a rhetorical structure.


Verse 23
Mark uses the word στάχυας for the marking of the heads of grain. The greek word has a note that connects back to , which allows a person to go through a neighbor's field and pluck the food as long as the person takes nothing with them in their pocket. So the text shows that there is nothing wrong with what the disciples are doing because they are still following the Law.
Verse 24
The verse gives the response of the Pharisees with "ἴδε." They are not just pointing out the disciple's acts as a matter of fact. They are accusing them of something. It is the look! This Behold what is happening right now in front of you. They also ask Jesus οὐκ ἔξεστιν, asking why they were doing this when they were not authorized to do so on the Sabbath. The priests did not authorize them to do this on the Sabbath. So then where do they get the authority to perform any act on the Sabbath? Christ will answer this question later in the passage.
Verse 25
Christ knows that they know the Law, but he accuses them of not knowing the story of David and his troops who searched for food when they were in need. For the food to be ready, then the priests had to of prepared it for the Sabbath day. David and his troops took nothing with them, nor did they die because of their hunger. The situation bares a resemblance with Jesus and his disciples.
Verse 26
Jesus asks the same question. How was David able to eat bread that was supposed to only be ate by the priests on the day of the Sabbath? In this passage, we see the connection between the Son of Man to the line of David, both being Kings, anointed by the most high wanting to be killed by his own people.
Verse 27 and 28
The word, ἐγένετο, is used by Christ as by who created the Sabbath. The same word is used by the LXX in giving the account of the creation story. Jesus is using the same authority as not only creator of the world, but the creator of the Sabbath. Christ made the Sabbath for the people for rest and to worship their God.

Step 3: Contextual Study

Examine the text in its immediate context (verses preceding and following) and more general context (book in which it is written). Identify how the context deepens your understanding of the text and its theological themes. Pay particular attention to matters such as the content immediately surrounding the text, the setting, author, occasion for writing, and how the author deals with particular themes throughout the book.
Compose an exegetical statement that names the author and literary form of the text and then summarizes what the text says (main ideas) and what the text does (intended function) for the original hearers.


Setting: Possibly Capernaum
Context around passage: The surrounding passages have two situations going on. The first deals with the Law. Two questions about the Law appear in the passage and the passages surrounding. The first question of the Law consists of fasting and the second the Sabbath. In both situations, the Pharisees try to accuse Christ of breaking the Law for not fasting nor holding the Sabbath in the way that the Pharisees interpreted the Law, which is key comparing to how the Lord of all holds the Law. It is the debate between the Old Law, which was given to the Israelites, compared to what Christ came to abolish.
In the earlier passage before the reading, Christ never said there was anything wrong with practices like fasting and taking the Sabbath. Jesus even fasted himself. However, he was against the Pharisees forcing others to fast just to be pious enough. Christ, though, never states that the Sabbath should be eliminated.

Exegetical Statement

During the day of the Sabbath, Christ and his disciples walk through a field and collect food as they pass through. As they collect the food, Pharisees rebuke Christ for working on the Sabbath. Jesus uses the example of David, one that the Pharisees cannot rebuke, to teach that the Sabbath not only looks different than the keepers of the Law view the day, but as a day where the most important aspect revolves around focusing on God, not on what others are doing. He teaches that since Christ, being God, created the Sabbath, states his power as the one worshiped on the Sabbath, for which he is rejected many times for working on the Sabbath. Christ wants to teach that the Sabbath cannot be help as a about even health, but as a way to rest and to focus on the Lord of the Sabbath, which is Jesus himself.

Step 4: Theological Study

Identify core theological teachings from the text that may be important for the sermon. Develop those teachings through the use of parallel passages, lexical studies, biblical, confessional, and/or doctrinal theology. Use this theological study to broaden your understanding of how the text guides and norms the Christian faith, to identify false teachings, and to clarify how you might communicate the faith to your people today.


This is where you will record the results of your theological study. Try to identify and develop one to three teachings that you believe will be important for the sermon. Resources that you may find helpful here are Biblical Theologies, Confessional Documents, and Systematic Theologies.
For your development, consider the following questions about the teaching(s) you have identified:
What is the teaching? That there is no man that is above the Sabbath, nor is the Sabbath above man. The whole focus is to use a day of rest, in whatever way you rest, to focus on Christ and to focus on your vocations, no matter what the vocations are.
Why is this important for God's people? We need that day of rest, to focus on God and to rest from our daily labors.
How do people (both in the world and in the church) tend to misunderstand this teaching? The keepers of the Law want to use the Sabbath saying that all we should be dong on the day of the Sabbath is to worship God and do nothing else. Many will reject doing anything, some say on Saturday and some say on Sunday, that we should only worship God and go home and do nothing that relates to work. Many miss the point of this day as a day to do absolutely nothing. The third commandment is not a day of doing nothing, but to rest in whatever way the person needs to rest. Genesis never tells us how He rested. If anyone would say that we must rest in a specific way, then they have missed the point. If the Sabbath was only on Saturday or Sunday, then pastors and priests would never get a day of rest and would be forced to work every day until they retire or enter into eternal rest, which will bring about eternal rest much quicker.
How does this text help us clarify the teaching? As Christians, we need to have rest, remember that there are no precise ways to honor the Sabbath, and remember that Christ is the main focus of the Sabbath. We can do other things that are restful on the Sabbath away from our regular jobs, but it still means we need to use the time to focus on God and to worship him and pray to him to build that relationship.
How do other texts of Scripture and the larger disciplines of theology further develop or clarify this teaching? It is fulfilling our vocations in life. We are called to be healthy in our lives. And there are many ways to be healthy. Physically, mentally and spiritually. We are not living a Christian life if we do not find that rest and spend time with God.
What stories or images can you use to help communicate this teaching? One that comes to mind is even how the Romans understood that they needed time to rest with taking a day of rest every nine days. Another possible answer could be about a character from "The West Wing." The Chief of Staff never took days off, which resulted in his death in the final season of the show. Possibly another story is in sports all the time, they ask for more days of rest during the week, after practicing and playing in games for months, they need the days off with family, away from the sport to spend time in the important matters.

Step 5: Liturgical Setting

Examine the liturgical setting in which the text will be preached. Identify connections between the text and its liturgical setting (other readings, hymns, prayers, etc.) and consider how this setting shapes the hearer's understanding and experience of this text.


Since we are in Pentecost 2, we just listened last week to the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, and witnessing to form the church. At this time of the church year, the congregation would be going into the summer with kids getting out, a time of year with vacations coming up and sadly church attendance down. Not to call out a congregation, this would need to be a sermon to encourages the congregation to make God a priority during the summer, by worshiping, spending time in prayer with him and to fulfil vocation by being fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children and so on and so forth. While they have a busy summer with activities, sports, vacation and take a break from school, this sermon should be a tool to encourage the congregation to not only make God a priority, but to take time to rest and spend that rest with God.

Step 6: Christocentricity

Consider this text in light of the Christocentricity of Scripture. Identify how its teachings and events lead you into law or gospel proclamation. Make particular note of imagery or metaphor, considering how these might be used in law and gospel proclamation.


The Law is not keeping the Sabbath. Seeing as you can do whatever you want on the Sabbath, or even seeing it as a day to not go to church or not pray because you want to be lazy and want to sleep in. Using the day to only focus on us rather than focusing on our Father in heaven. Under the Law, we deserve death because our inability to keep the Law, including keeping the Sabbath holy. The Gospel comes in and reminds us that Christ died so we are saved from this punishment. Because of Christ, we can worship him and have that relationship with him in our daily lives, including the Sabbath. Now, we use Christ as the example of how to treat the Sabbath. We need rest, but we must do the things in order to survive and live healthy lives.

Step 7: Contemporary Setting

Consider the people to whom you will preach and identify how this text and its teachings interact with their life experiences and growth in the faith. Be aware of common cultural assumptions and possible misunderstandings that may arise as God's people encounter this text and its teachings; also consider how this text and its teachings form the way God's people live in the world.


This passage reminds me of those who say we have to live and worship in a certain way in order to be a true Christian. We look at both sides of spectrum. If you do not accept Jesus into your heart you are truly not a Christian Unless you worship in a traditional setting and using the same practices as the early church fathers then you truly do not worship the true God. This is also a tough topic because of how we use the Sabbath day. We have youth sports, work, the National Football League, and countless other reasons for waking up on Sunday mornings. NONE of these are wrong, nor are they things that Christians should oppose.

Step 8: Focus and Function

Consider how you will preach this text by identifying the focus and function statements of your sermon and listing the main ideas you would like to include.


Focus Statement: Christ demonstrates his power over the Sabbath as Lord and focusing on the true meaning of Sabbath.
Function Statement: That the hearers may remember the Sabbath as a day of rest and use the day to focus on relationship with others and with God.
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