Lord of the Sabbath

I recently read of a man who was killed by his pet hippo. Yes, this is tragic and I don’t want to make light of someone’s death. But I have to ask, “Why did he have a pet hippo?” I am sure he had his reasons, but certain animals aren’t meant to be domesticated. For an animal to function as a pet, we have to establish authority over it or things won’t end well.

A similar thing can be said of Jesus. For years, people have tried to domesticate Him. They are fine with certain aspects such as His kindness, healing, and selective teachings. But they want to limit His authority so He fits with their way of life. But just as conflict arises when we try to domesticate the wrong animals, so it is with Jesus.

The Pharisees were the first to encounter Jesus and therefore were the first to challenge His authority. As long as His miracles and teachings aligned with their guidelines, they were fine to let Him be. But as He displayed His authority in greater ways, conflict arose. We see this developing in Luke 5:20-24 when Jesus displays His authority to forgive sins. Had He simply healed the lame man, the Pharisees might have let Him be. But they accused this undomesticated rabbi of blasphemy when He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:20) 

Their fight to control Jesus came up again when Jesus’ disciples plucked some grain on the Sabbath. Who was Jesus to allow His followers to break their Sabbath-protection rules? After He explained that King David had special authority to meet the needs of people, He boldly tells them “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:5) 

This phrase makes it clear that Jesus has no plans of submitting to their authority. The title “Son of Man” comes from the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14) and refers to the One given ultimate dominion by God. To be Lord of the Sabbath indicates His authority over the day God set aside as holy. 

It would be easy to just pick on the Pharisees, but what about us? The temptation to reject Jesus’ authority is present in every heart. We want to shut Him out of certain areas of our lives -- such as our finances, social gatherings, or entertainment. Will you spend a few moments reflecting on ways you are tempted to reject Jesus’ authority in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sinful ways and then repent, believing this: Jesus didn’t come to be domesticated; He came to die for rebels like us.

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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