Lord of the Sabbath
Open Your Bible
Luke 6:1-49, 1 Samuel 21:1-6, James 2:1-7
Have you ever missed the party while it was happening? Looking back, you realized, Oh man, that was it! The magic was happening right in front of me and I didn’t see it! I find myself in this situation again and again. Hiking on a mountain but missing the view on account of stinging flies. Or brushing off my children’s impromptu theatrical performances to keep to my own schedule. I even remember being so caught up in the minutiae of pins, flowers, and curling irons on my sister’s wedding day that I forgot to take in the simple beauty and goodness of my sister transformed into a bride until we found ourselves giggling in the bathroom at her reception.
We are all prone to miss the important things. In the moment, it can be tough to even know whether something is vital until it’s too late. The Pharisees are missing a tremendous moment that is right in front of them. Because Christ wasn’t what they expected, they turned off their sense of expectation. But that’s the thing: Christ does not appear as we want Him to. His law, His logic, His person, His actions, even His teaching, do not conform to man’s way of thinking or living. He comes as Lord of the Sabbath, and if we are caught up like the Pharisees in what we imagine that to be, we miss Him as He is.
Indeed, He is Lord of a kingdom that cuts against the grain of every human inclination. When He calls the twelve, He doesn’t pick from among the great or accomplished. He chooses the lowly, the ordinary, even the despised. When He heals, He does not curry favor with the high and mighty, but heals foreigners and the weak. His Beatitudes and the woes that follow overturn every modern notion of morality, self-esteem, and success. His call not to judge, but to love even our enemies, runs counter to every inclination toward self-justification and vengeance.
There are only two foundations: the foundation of Christ or the foundation of man’s natural disposition, which crumbles and fails. Instead of depending on the foundations that we build ourselves, we can stand on the foundation of the Lord of the Sabbath and stand secure. If we’re expecting Christ to be our personal sentimental version of newborn baby Jesus, we are going to miss the majesty and truth of Him as Lord of All.
Here is the good news: Though we are prone to hypocrisy, to blindness, to judgment and folly, Christ comes to us anyway; He comes, loving His enemies and doing good to those who despise Him. He makes us His, and we can take comfort in this promise: “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Christ calls us away from ourselves to Himself, and in so doing, makes us like Himself. “We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).