Jesus a Lawbreaker? Part Two
As Christians we must understand that a fighting spirit is not the spirit of Christ. A man who says, “I’m drawing the lines here, and it’s got to be this way,” has not understood the spirit of Christ. That is what the Pharisees were doing when they said, “You can’t take wheat on the Sabbath Day.” “Who says so?” “We’ve made our rules.” “Well, the Bible says you can.” “Yes, but you still can’t. It goes against our tradition.” The Holy Spirit says nothing of the kind.
The Pharisees had exalted the trivial, and there is always a tremendous danger that where there is orthodoxy of truth, we shall take that orthodoxy and enthrone it. Living by formulas and principles, we risk failing to go through to the heart of Jesus Christ, to love Him, to feel that oneness with Him, to rejoice in the knowledge that He is possessing us.
Jesus listens to the Pharisees’ complaint and answers very simply from the authority that exceeds theirs, the Word of God. He reminds them of the incident when David, the Lord’s anointed, was in exile and took food from the altar of the tabernacle to feed his men. God had flatly stated that only the priests could do such a thing. Was Jesus condoning the breaking of the Law? Not at all. Why didn’t God strike David dead? God says, “All rules are off when My anointed is in exile. David is My anointed, and he is more important than a rule about eating bread. If you have exiled My man David, do you think I am concerned about a little bread and a particular place?”
Now if that were the case with David, Jesus is saying, how much more so with Me, the Lord of the Sabbath, the Son of God? The rules you make are meaningless and worse than that if they ignore Me as Lord, if they are used to keep Me from My rightful place. Don’t exalt the laws over the lawgiver.
How precisely the Lord knew their hearts and their true desires! How completely He understood the fact that they knew nothing of the God they purported to serve! What good is orthodoxy without a heart that is yielded to the plan of God?
It is amazing that these men could continue to stand against the one who knew their hearts so completely. One would think that their hearts would be broken, yet Mark continues to record the Pharisees’ opposition to Jesus.
- What dangers are there in making doctrinal perfection to objective of our affection?
- Is there a balance between loving God and standing for a rigorous understanding of doctrine?
- Why is doctrine important? Does Jesus value proper doctrine?
- The issue with the Pharisees is not that they were right in their understanding of Scripture and forced other people to believe their interpretation of the Scriptures. It was they were wrong, or else they would have been able to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. What can the Pharisees of Jesus day teach us about our own day Pharisees? Are there certain doctrines we hold too tightly or not close enough?