God Steps Into Third Place: Luke 6:1-5

Focus Passage: Luke 6:1-5 (NCV)

One Sabbath day Jesus was walking through some fields of grain. His followers picked the heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. Some Pharisees said, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath day?”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and those with him were hungry? He went into God’s house and took and ate the holy bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he gave some to the people who were with him.” Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”

Read Luke 6:1-5 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Almost everywhere Jesus and His followers traveled, another group of people seemed to continually show up. While these people were not followers of Jesus in the typical sense, it would seem that they definitely followed Him around. Their goal was to catch Jesus doing something wrong.

This group of people were the Pharisees, and one Sabbath Jesus and His followers were walking through a grain field. A few of Jesus’ followers picked some grain, rubbed it in their hands to remove the husk, and ate it. While this was low on the scale of effort, it was still classified as work, so the Pharisees who were following along challenged the group of followers by saying, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath day?” (v. 2)

Instead of focusing in on Jesus’ response, which doesn’t excuse His follower’s actions, but challenges the position these Pharisees had taken towards the law, let’s focus on the challenge these Pharisees gave.

The Pharisees had created so many rules that they had laws to keep them from breaking other laws. The “unlawful” action these followers did was one such law that was intended to keep them from breaking the very sacred Sabbath rest that God had commanded. Where the Pharisees’ became legalistic and critical was that they elevated their set of laws to be equal with God’s laws. The Pharisees expected the people to obey the laws that they had created so there would be no possible way to break God’s laws.

However, this was more of an outward projection rather than them living to their own standard. If a Pharisee slipped and broke one of their rules, then they could be forgiven, because at least they didn’t break God’s law. If someone else broke a Pharisee’s rule, then they were treated like they had broken God’s law. In a Pharisee’s mind, obeying the rules was more important than building a relationship.

In our own lives two thousand years later, there are people who follow this same train of thought. In the 21st century, there are people who would prefer to project their beliefs onto others as though they were speaking on God’s behalf.

But God doesn’t put rules ahead of relationships. Jesus came to show us that God values us just as much as He values His rules. Jesus came to take our place because God loves us so much. God doesn’t simply put us ahead of the rules, He placed the rules ahead of Himself, before also placing us ahead of Himself too. God placed us ahead of Himself, and He demonstrated this through Jesus coming on the cross to die for our sins.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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