Who has the Authority?

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Mark

Mark 2:23-3:6, “Who has the Authority?”

Kids like to dare one another.  Many (most) of the dares we did as kids were likely stupid, and some were just meant to push boundaries a bit.  We wanted to see how far someone else was willing to go.

That’s what the Pharisees do with Jesus concerning the man with a withered hand.  Jesus had laid down a line in the sand about the Sabbath, and the Pharisees basically triple-dog-dare Jesus to back up His words.  And back them up, He did!  Jesus had said clearing that He has authority over the Sabbath, and He demonstrated His claim to authority when He miraculously healed the man on the Sabbath.  This infuriated the Pharisees!  They were locked into their legalistic tradition, and they were unwilling to see the Gracious Son of God standing right before their eyes.  The most “religious” of all the Jewish people completely missed the Messiah because they were willing slaves of their own prideful legalism.

This particular event was just the latest in a line of conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees.  The Pharisees (as with the rest of the Jews in Galilee) had been captivated by Jesus’ teaching & amazed at His display of miraculous power.  He had cast out demons, healed sicknesses, and even cleansed lepers (who were thought to be as good as dead).  Jesus’ ministry was amazing!  But the Pharisees & other religious leaders weren’t too thrilled with another aspect of Jesus’ ministry as Jesus began claiming His authority to do things that were solely reserved for Almighty God.  They grumbled among themselves when Jesus forgave a paralytic, only to be dumbfounded when Jesus did the far easier thing (in comparison) by causing the man to walk again.  They frowned on Jesus’ willingness to eat freely with tax collectors and other sinners, and were insulted at the insinuation that they themselves might be in need of the forgiveness of God.

Who was this Jesus to say such things?  How could this upstart teacher & prophet so easily break with the traditions of which the Pharisees had appointed themselves the guardians?  Of course, Jesus is infinitely greater than them & their traditions because He is GOD – and that is exactly what He repeatedly demonstrated, and they repeatedly denied.

Out of all of the traditions of the Pharisees, one that they guarded the most were the customs concerning the Sabbath.  When Jesus began to flaunt those, it was the last straw.  The Pharisees couldn’t take any more, and they started plotting against Him.

Before we get into the actual text, we need to take a moment to look at the Sabbath itself.  After all, the whole story centers around what is & isn’t appropriate on the Sabbath – which would have been obvious for a Jew, but not so much for us Gentiles.  The Sabbath has been a confusing subject for many within the Church (even to this day), with some Christian groups even holding to the Pharisees’ own brand of legalism regarding it.

The word “Sabbath” is simply the English transliteration of the Greek word that translated the Hebrew “Shabbat.”  It comes from another Hebrew word that means “rest” & it dates all the way back to Genesis 2:2, when God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.”  According to Genesis 2:3, God blessed the 7th day & sanctified it (set it apart & declared it to be holy), and that is the day that became known as the Sabbath.  In the 10 Commandments, the 4th Commandment states: Exodus 20:8–11, "(8) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (11) For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." []  This was the covenantal contract God made with the Hebrew people.  They were to rest on the 7th day as God had rested on the 7th day, as it was to be a day of worship, praise, and trust.  They didn’t need to work 7 days a week like the rest of the people; they could work 6 days and trust God to provide for them on the 7th.  (BTW – the 7th day is Saturday, and has always been Saturday.  Sunday is not a new Sabbath or replacement Sabbath for the Church.  The Sabbath is a specific day with a specific meaning.)

Needless to say, this was hallowed ground for the Jewish people!  God specifically told Moses that the Sabbath was to be a sign between God and all the children of Israel, and that anyone who defiled the Sabbath day was to be put to death (Exo 31:12-15).  This wasn’t a day to toy with; God took it with the utmost seriousness.  Ironically, in the Jews’ attempt to keep the Sabbath day holy, they ended up toying with it to no end.  The day was meant as a solemn reminder of their rest in God’s provision (which ultimately points to the Christian’s own rest in the work of Jesus…Jesus IS the fulfillment of the Sabbath!).  But what happened for the Jews is that they started adding to the limited commandments in the Scripture and came up with a tangled web of “do’s and don’ts” for the Sabbath.  There were 39 distinct categories that the rabbis came up with, ranging from planting to reaping, sorting to weaving, etc.  Within these categories, there are all sorts of minute interpretations and work-arounds.  For example, it is forbidden to ignite a fire on the Sabbath, and to this day many interpret this to include starting a car or even turning on an electrical switch.  Some hotels are equipped with “Sabbath elevators” in which the elevator stops at every floor, allowing Jews to get on/off without ever pressing an electrical button.  (If a Sabbath elevator doesn’t exist, then a Jew can employ a Gentile to press the button for him.)

It’s this same sort of legalistic/loophole-driven environment in which the Pharisees confront Jesus.  On the surface, the idea of the Sabbath sounds simple enough: rest in God’s work & worship Him.  In practice, the Sabbath became a slave-master of the Hebrews.  Where could they find freedom & grace?  In their Messiah: King Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath.

Mark 2:23–3:6
23 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.

  1. This is the event that sets the stage for the latest confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees.  It’s really a no-problem problem.  Jesus and His disciples were out on a stroll on the Sabbath day (something perfectly allowable within a certain distance), and as they walked through a field of wheat, they took the heads of grain in their fingers, rubbed the casing off of the grain, and ate it.  (Supposedly, it’s fairly tasty, if not a bit gummy – and it’s definitely nutritious!)
  2. Keep in mind, this was not theft.  This was a process known as “gleaning,” and the Jews were perfectly free to walk through any of their neighbor’s fields and do this (Dt 23:25).  After all, they were using their hands; not a sickle.  They were having a snack; not reaping  a harvest by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.
  3. Yet not everyone was being reasonable.  See vs. 24…

24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

  1. In the eyes of the Pharisees, the disciples were harvesting the wheat.  They viewed the disciples as breaking the category of reaping, of threshing, and of sorting (at the very least).  After all, the disciples were in the grainfield picking heads of grain off the stalk, separating the kernel from the head, and rubbing the outer casing off of the kernel in order to eat it.  They were not eating food that had previously been prepared the day before, so they were clearly breaking the Sabbath law.  According to almost any witness who would have been there, the Pharisees would have seemed to have made a clear-cut case.
  2. Not so fast. J  Notice what they say: “why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  Technically, the word the Pharisees used can mean “authorized/permitted,” but the idea in their context is no doubt referring to their law.  They were claiming that the disciples were in violation of Torah – the Scriptural commandments of God regarding the Sabbath.  But that wasn’t the case at all.  The disciples may have well been in violation of the Jewish tradition in regards to the Sabbath, but definitely did not violate the Sabbath law.  Scripture was clear that the Jews were to rest on the Sabbath even in plowing and harvest times (Exo 34:21), but the disciples weren’t harvesting at all.  They were simply gleaning the wheat as they walked through the fields.  They hadn’t broken the law at all; they just offended the sensibilities of the Pharisees.
    1. Some people are so bound by their legalism that they cannot help but force it upon others.
    2. We need to be careful not to confuse our traditions or preferences for Scripture.  The Bible is the inspired word of God; our preferences are not.

25 But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26 how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”

  1. Jesus responds to the Pharisees with an example from Scripture.  The Pharisees were complaining about something that was doubtful, so Jesus looks at something which ought to have been pretty clear-cut from the life of David. [1 Samuel 21:1-6]  David was on the run from Saul, and he had to leave so fast that he was not able to take supplies with him. (Apparently, he didn’t even have a sword – and Ahimelech ends up giving him the sword of Goliath, which kept in the tabernacle after David had killed him.)  The only bread that was available was the “holy bread” – the bread of the presence/showbread that was kept before the Lord in the tabernacle.  Recall that there were three basic elements in the holy room of the tabernacle (which was separated by a thick veil from the holy of holies, containing the ark of the covenant): the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table of showbread.  The lampstand was filled with oil, and burned continuously (demonstrating the Holy Spirit and the light of Christ).  The incense represented the prayers of the saints ascending to God.  The table of showbread had 12 loaves of bread, representing the tribes of Israel & how they had been set apart by the Lord & were continually brought before the Lord in prayer.  The bread was made regularly, with the old loaves removed from the table and eaten by the priests.  No one but the priests were supposed to eat of the bread (Lev 21:22), and yet this was the very bread that Ahimelech gave to David.  The one qualification that Ahimelech gave was that David and the men were to have been physically pure, which was in line with the qualifications for the priests.  To save them from starving, Ahimelech gives David and his men the bread, and David was able to continue fleeing from Saul.
    1. Don’t let the difference in the names of the priests distract you from Jesus’ point.  Ahimelech was the father of Abiathar, and Ahimelech was ordered to be executed by Saul as a result of this very event.  Abiathar was high priest in his father’s place.  He was obviously serving in the priestly role as an adult (perhaps sharing in the duties as the high priest with his father), so this all took place within his “days” or lifetime.  It’s just a general description of the timeframe by Jesus. 
  2. The actual point Jesus makes is simple: David did something far more blatant in regards to the law.  Although David could (and did) make an argument that what he did was legal, he was on really thin ice – far more so than Jesus’ disciples.  Even if we accept his argument about the bread, he still lied about his “mission”…there’s no doubt that David broke the commandment of God in the process of saving his life.  Yet he was never condemned.  David was not even chastised by a single word from the Lord.  Although David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king, David wasn’t the king yet, so what authority did he have to even think to ask for the bread of the presence?  But he received of it freely and without reproach.  The issue at hand was life and death, and God values life far over and above legalism.  In Matthew’s recollection of the event, Jesus tells the Pharisees, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would have not condemned the guiltless.’” (Mt 12:7)  God is a merciful God!  A sacrifice that is offered with a sinful heart isn’t really a sacrifice at all.  God sees the truth, and He desires His people to have a heart of mercy.

27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

  1. The Sabbath was supposed to be a gift; not a slave-master.  The Sabbath was given by God in order to give people an opportunity to rest, affirm their trust in their Maker, and worship God.  To the Hebrew people, it was given as an outward sign of their covenant with God, just as circumcision was given as an inward sign.  It was a symbol that they were a people set apart to the Lord, which is the reason it was so hallowed within the Law.  To defile the Sabbath or otherwise willfully ignore it was for God’s people to basically say that God didn’t matter to them.  They didn’t want to rest in God’s work, nor trust in the Lord at all.  That’s why the punishment was so severe – people were placing themselves outside of the covenant of God.
    1. This is what happens with people who reject Jesus Christ as Lord.  When they reject Him in order that they might continue in their sin, they are placing themselves outside of the covenant of God.  By not believing upon Jesus, they are not trusting in the work that Jesus has done on their behalf at the cross.  The Sabbath rest is fulfilled in Jesus because Jesus’ work is complete.  No more atonement for sin needs to be made, because Jesus made it all, and He has entered His rest, just as God rested on the 7th day (Heb 4:10).  Today, the Sabbath is truly kept when we trust Christ for our salvation & surrender our lives to Him!
  2. But the point is, the Sabbath day itself is a gift.  The day had a purpose in serving the people; not the other way around.  Their traditions had gotten them to the point that they were the ones serving the Sabbath, and they worked so very hard to try to keep the Sabbath “rightly.”  They worked harder to keep the Sabbath on the 7th day than they did the other 6 days when they weren’t commanded to rest.  They missed the point entirely!
    1. This is the typical problem people run into when traditions get elevated to the level of Scripture.  Even Christian groups get caught up in this.  They create “holy places” that only certain clergy members are allowed to enter, or think water can become “holy” when blessed by a priest, or pray to icons/saints of the past rather than to God.  Evangelical Protestants aren’t exempt!  Some tend to think unless someone prays the “sinner’s prayer” exactly right, it doesn’t really count – or somehow dancing becomes immoral, or a whole list of practices that aren’t found in the Bible.  These are all traditions that are added onto the Scripture.  Instead of just simply trusting what the Bible has to say, people get tangled up into all sorts of confusing legalism, and they miss out on the worship of God because they just can’t figure out how to do it.
    2. That’s not the way God ever meant it to be.  We’re supposed to find our freedom in Christ, and be able to serve and worship Him with joy.  That’s what the Sabbath was supposed to point to, all along.

28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

  1. The Sabbath is not the master of man; the Sabbath HAS a Master: Jesus.  Jesus has authority over the Sabbath because He is “the Son of Man.”  Who is the Son of Man?  It’s a reference to the Messiah.  Daniel 7:13–14, "(13) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. (14) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed." []  Daniel had a vision of this glorious Son of Man approaching God in heaven, and coming with power and glory to the earth.  All the world served and worshiped Him in an everlasting kingdom.  This is the same Scripture that Jesus references when He teaches about His 2nd coming, and it shows the culmination of all things.  One day Jesus will return in glory, He will destroy the armies of Antichrist, and He will institute His literal kingdom on earth – starting for 1000 years, but lasting into eternity.  The Son of Man comes with all the authority of God because He IS God, which is exactly what the prophecies show.  THIS is Jesus!
  2. That brings us back to Jesus’ point.  Jesus has authority over the Sabbath because He made the Sabbath!  Jesus is far greater than the Sabbath because He is the God who instituted the Sabbath when He rested on the 7th day.  He was not subject to the traditions of the Pharisees.  Jesus certainly wasn’t going to break the commandments of God (which He gave), but He certainly did not need to submit to the commandments/traditions of men.  Jesus is Lord over all the earth – the Sabbath is subject to Him and His interpretation; not the other way around.

From the Pharisees’ perspective, this was pretty heavy stuff!  Not only did Jesus offend their sensibilities & their tradition (after all, they were generally the ones calling others to submit to the law; they weren’t used to being the ones called on the carpet), but Jesus had claimed Messianic authority over the Sabbath itself.  He went far beyond claiming authority over their extra-biblical tradition; Jesus claimed authority over the order of creation.  So they decide that this authority needed to be tested.  How far would Jesus go in this?  Did He truly believe He had this kind of authority?  What would He do to back it up?  That takes us straight into Chapter 3…

1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

  1. The Pharisees had set up a trap for Jesus.  Presumably a week later (though we’re not specifically told), everyone came to the synagogue again for worship, and this time the Pharisees ensured that there was a test case for Jesus.  It’s possible that the man just happened to be there at that time, but the text specifically tells us that the Pharisees were watching this situation closely “so that they might accuse” Jesus.  They actually provoked Jesus, basically asking Him to heal the man (Mt 12:10).  Their minds had been made up about Jesus that He was indeed a Sabbath law-breaker, and they had the test that they needed to bring a case against Him.
  2. Keep in mind, Jesus had performed healings on the Sabbath already.  Back in Ch. 1, we were given a snapshot of a Sabbath day in which Jesus was in the synagogue & cast a demon out of a man, and then later healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever before the Sabbath had ended that evening.  Jesus already had a track-record established of healing upon the Sabbath.  The Pharisees knew what Jesus could and would do; what they needed now was documentation and a roomful of witnesses when they accused Him.
  3. Don’t miss the fact that the Pharisees knew what Jesus could do.  They knew that Jesus could heal the man; the only question was “whether He would heal him on the Sabbath.”  How pathetic is that?  Not only are they perfectly willing to use the suffering of a man as a mere tool to try to trap Jesus, but they are also fully aware of Jesus’ power to heal.  They have no doubt that they are standing in the presence of Someone with the power of God, and yet they are so blinded by their sin and rejection of Jesus that they are willing to overlook all of that.  They know what Jesus can do; they just don’t care.
    1. Sadly, that’s the way many people are today.  They can tell you the basic Sunday school answers about Jesus.  They know He’s God – they know He died on the cross and rose from the grave.  They know that the Bible says they are supposed to leave their sin behind to serve Jesus.  They even know that they will stand before Jesus one day in eternity.  But they just don’t care.  They love their sin too much to let it go.  They don’t want Jesus as their King, so they don’t want to recognize Him at all.  They are just like the Pharisees…their eyes are both blinded and wide open at the same time.
    2. Beware that this is not you!  If you know Who Jesus is, and what He can do, then you need to respond!

3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.

  1. Jesus wasn’t at all fooled by their trap.  He knew exactly what was going on.  The Pharisees had wanted a public case against Jesus, so Jesus made this public.  He has the man step right into the full view of everyone there, and He addresses the Pharisees’ question in front of all.  Keep in mind Jesus could have taken this man around back & healed him in private.  He could have intercepted the man before he arrived.  Jesus was not taken by surprise in any of this; He knew the confrontation that the Pharisees had in mind & He gave it to them.
  2. Actually, Jesus turned it back around on them.  Knowing the thoughts in the hearts of the Pharisees (and the question that the Pharisees had asked, via Matthew’s account), Jesus asks them a question.  Which was better on the Sabbath: “to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” Extreme terms, but He had been given an extreme situation.  Even their 39 categories of Sabbath work exempted the saving of human life – life is far too valuable.  Of course, the man with the withered hand was not in danger of immediate death.  Did he qualify for mercy?  That’s exactly what Jesus was showing the Pharisees.  They had drawn up categories where there were none.  If any one of the men in the synagogue that day had an animal in danger on the Sabbath, they would rescue it (Mt 12:11); surely a man was of far more value to God than an animal.  When someone saved life, they were doing good.  The Sabbath was about resting from work; not resting from being compassionate & human.  Of course someone could do good on the Sabbath if they were acting in the mercy of God.  That would be honoring to God.
  3. Notice what Jesus is doing here.  He’s giving the Pharisees an opportunity to respond.  The Pharisees came with an accusation, but Jesus is giving them the opportunity to learn a lesson.  He doesn’t come with outright condemnation – He doesn’t upbraid the Pharisees for their obvious callousness towards the man.  Jesus wanted the Pharisees to see the error of what they were doing & to repent.  To be sure, it would be humbling for the respected Pharisees to have to change their theological opinions in front of the entire synagogue, but that’s where they chose to have the confrontation.  They had the opportunity right then to change their minds, to exalt the mercy & goodness of God, and to see Jesus for who He is.  They had the opportunity to repent from their legalism and to uphold the simple truth of Scripture…to do something truly good.
  4. And they wasted it. “They kept silent.”  They knew the truth.  They knew what was right, and what the heart of God was on the matter, but they refused to answer.  They would have rather kept silent than to acknowledge that they were wrong & Jesus was right.  They would have rather the man suffer than for them to humble themselves in repentance.
    1. How many people will enter hell simply because of stubborn refusal?  They will have known about Jesus – they will have received multiple opportunities to believe upon Him & received Him as Lord – but they simply refused to respond out of stubbornness.  So sad & so needless!
    2. Even Christians can fall into something similar.  How many born-again Christians miss out on the freedom they have in Christ & the mercies of God simply because they refuse to let go of needless tradition?  They are so attached to their legalism – they are so proud of their rules & supposed “holiness” that they miss out on the freedom that they could have.  Instead, they miss the forest for the trees and don’t experience the joy of simply walking with the Jesus they claim to pursue.

5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

  1. The gospel accounts don’t use the word for “anger” to describe Jesus very often, though it’s commonly used by Paul & John in the book of Revelation to describe the wrath of God (and thus the wrath of Jesus in His judgment).  But the word is certainly used here.  The Pharisees had an opportunity to repent, and they refused.  Worse yet, they were perfectly willing to allow a fellow human to suffer just so that they could make their point.  Their hearts were so hardened against God that they felt no compassion for their neighbor in front of them.  It’s no wonder that Jesus looked at them in anger/wrath…they fully deserved the wrath of God at that point!   
    1. Hardened hearts grieve God.
  2. The Pharisees may have been willing to use the man with a withered hand as a tool against Jesus, but Jesus was not.  Despite the obvious trap of the Pharisees and their desire to use this healing against Jesus, Jesus healed the man anyway.  Jesus had no fear of the Pharisees, and He wasn’t going to let their hardness stand in the way of the grace of God that this man needed to experience.
  3. The man actually has a minor role in all of this.  His disability is just the setting for the trap of the Pharisees.  But we have to love how Jesus goes about healing this man!  Look at His command to the man: “Stretch out your hand.”  The man’s hand was withered; this was an impossible command.  If the man could stretch out his hand, there wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.  If Jesus didn’t have the authority and power of God, this would have seemed to have been a cruel joke.  Yet that is exactly what Jesus told the man to do…and he did it!  We’re not told anything about the disability, whether this was something that had happened in old age, something that had happened as the result of an accident, etc.  But stretching out his hand was something that was impossible for the man to do.  Unless the man believed Jesus and actually had faith that what Jesus told him to do was possible, the man would never have done it, and he never would have experienced the grace of God in the process.
    1. What God commands, God enables.
    2. We need to have faith in what Jesus tells us to do!

6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

  1. The man is healed in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and apparently that was all that was needed for the Pharisees to start plotting Jesus’ death.  A healing was their motivation.  How pathetic is that?  It goes to show the extent of the hardness of their hearts.  They were willing to join hands with political enemies to conspire against Jesus, all because Jesus broke their traditions.  When He broke their traditions, He showed the lack of Biblical authority behind their traditions…Jesus was a threat to the Pharisees’ own hold on power in the eyes of the people.  It wasn’t enough to disagree with Jesus; they needed to “destroy Him.
  2. It’s no small irony that not only do the Pharisees do the opposite of what Jesus had said was right to do on the Sabbath (“to do evil…to kill”), but they also go straight to work doing it ON the Sabbath.  It seems as soon as they left the synagogue, they began their work of plotting against Jesus.  They had no interest in resting & worshipping God; they just wanted to prove themselves right.
  3. They could have had something so much better!  They could have had relationship with Jesus, and experienced the freedom of the mercies of God.  Instead, their hard hearts became even more hardened as they continued to conspire against the very God they claimed to worship.

Conclusion:
The confrontation centers on the Sabbath, but really the issue is one of authority.  Who/what has the final say?  Would it be the traditions of men, or would it be the word of Jesus?  The Pharisees couldn’t stand the thought of being wrong, so they wanted to see how far Jesus would go…and Jesus didn’t hesitate.  Jesus gave the Pharisees an opportunity to see the error of their ways, but He demonstrated He truly did have the authority of God well over their traditions, and the word of God was subject to no man.  The Pharisees had been bound up in their legalism, and they missed out on the mercy and grace of God that was right in front of their eyes.

What are the things that bind us?  What practices have crept into your life that have gotten in the way of the freedom of walking with Jesus?  It can be easy to do certain things or follow certain traditions, just because that’s the way we’ve always done them.  We can so easily elevate some practices to the level of Scripture, when really it just is a personal preference.  Keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with some traditions and preferences.  For an ancient Hebrew, there was absolutely nothing wrong with keeping the Sabbath.  It was meant as a gift to the Hebrew to remind him of his relationship with God, and to show the Hebrew his need to find his rest in God (and ultimately, that points towards Jesus).  For us, there might be certain traditions in your life that help you worship Jesus.  Those things can be wonderful as long as they’re kept in the proper perspective, and always subject to the Scripture.  The Bible is always our final authority; never any tradition of man.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself entangled in some of these things.  Perhaps you’re feeling trapped by legalistic expectations that someone else has placed upon you.  Remember the freedom you have in Christ Jesus!  Rest in Him & in His work.  He is the Lord God, the Son of Man – He has authority over ALL of these things.  Today, let go of that legalism & experience the freedom of Jesus again.

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