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Thursday, May 31, 2018

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Technically, Jesus' disciples are breaking the law as they walk through the grain fields on a Sabbath day. Case law had determined that the "work" of plucking violated the command to rest on the Sabbath. But Jesus suggests that a case exists which the lawyers may have failed to consider--that of David and his companions eating the holy bread of the altar while fleeing for their lives from Saul. David, technically, broke the law too. Then again, the disciples' lives aren't in danger. And on any other day it wouldn't be a problem, but there are expectations on the Sabbath.

Jesus' perspective though is that the law (in this case the Sabbath law) is intended primarily to edify and encourage. Keeping the Sabbath law and resting from the work of the world is to allow ourselves a respite amid a punishing regiment of stress, deadlines and exhaustion. We don't need to be actually fleeing a maniacal tyrant like Saul to understand that.

Make us thankful for your gift of rest Lord, and give us peace when our lives get hectic in this busy world. Amen.

Scott Thompson, '96
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Kalispell, Mont.

Mark 2:23 – 3:6 (NRSV)

23 One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.
24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?"
25 And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food?
26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions."
27 Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath;
28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."
1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come forward."
4 Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.
5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.