May 29, 2016

Free Pass

Luke 6:1-5

Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

—  Luke 6:2

Let’s picture the scene. Jesus is walking through fields with his disciples on the Sabbath. They’re hungry, so they grab a few heads of wheat, rub them together and enjoy the seeds of nourishment. Some Pharisees nearby see their actions and immediately pass judgment.

Jesus turns to face his accusers. He recounts a story from the Hebrew scrolls that would be familiar to any Jew, especially the “religion police.” David was on the run from a demented King Saul. With his life on the line, he needed safety and food. David found help from Ahimelek the priest, who gave him permission to eat the consecrated bread offered to God and usually to be eaten only by the priests (see 1 Samuel 21:1-6; Leviticus 24:5-9).

The Sabbath was a day to stop working and to focus on God. The Pharisees, over the years, had added rules to the Sabbath that were more about performance and boundaries than reflecting on God’s mercy and grace. The rules became ends in themselves rather than means to an end.

The intent of Sabbath worship, however, was to honor the Lord over all of life and to celebrate and give thanks for his wonderful love and deliverance. In this way Jesus gives us a free pass to celebrate, so let’s take it with gratitude!
How will you worship God today? Is your worship a ritual or an act of gratitude for God’s grace in your life?

Father, you provide for me in countless ways. Increase my thanks, and help me to stop and reflect on your love. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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