Jesus and the Sabbath


Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.


A list of silly laws.


Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent. Mark 3:4 (NIV)

Sometimes the people who make our laws get a little carried away and pass some very silly laws. I did some research on the Internet and found some examples of some of the silliest laws I have ever heard of.

  • In Fairbanks, Alaska, it is illegal to serve alcohol to a moose. I wonder if it is legal to serve alcohol to a bear?
  • There is a city in Arizona where it is illegal to drive a car in reverse. So, how are you supposed to get out of your parking space at the mall?
  • There is a town in Minnesota where a woman can be arrested for impersonating Santa Claus. Hmm...I wonder if they can impersonate Mrs. Claus?
  • In Oklahoma, people who make ugly faces at dogs can be arrested and put in jail or fined. I wonder if a bulldog can get thrown in the pound for making ugly faces at people?
  • In Nicholas County, West Virginia, a preacher is not allowed to tell jokes from the pulpit. Uh-oh, I hope they don't think this sermon is a joke!
  • In Morrisville, Pennsylvania, women need a permit to wear makeup. Oh my! I hope the makeup police aren't here this morning.

I think you will all agree that those are some pretty silly laws, but this is nothing new. Even back in the day when Jesus lived, they had some pretty silly laws. There was a group of religious leaders called the Pharisees who were keepers of the law of Moses and they believed that keeping the law was everything. They also believed that their own understanding and teaching about the law was the only correct teaching. Jesus was quite often opposed by the Pharisees and was accused of breaking the laws of Moses, especially the laws regarding the Sabbath. Today's lesson tells us about two times that the Pharisees accused Jesus and his followers of violating the Sabbath.

One Sabbath day, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some fields of grain. His disciples were hungry and began to break of some heads of grain to eat. The Pharisees saw it and said to Jesus, "Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?"

Realizing the foolishness of the Pharisees to compare breaking off a few heads of grain to eat with harvesting the whole crop, Jesus answered them, "Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests were allowed to eat. He also shared it with his companions."

Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath."

Another time, Jesus went into the synagogue and noticed that there was a man who had a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath. If so, they would accuse Jesus of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, "Come and stand in front of everyone." Then he turned toward his enemies and asked, "Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil?" The Pharisees refused to answer him.

Jesus looked at them angrily and was saddened at the hardness of their hearts. Then he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held out his hand and Jesus healed him. Immediately left to go and meet with Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.

One of the ten commandments says, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy", but can you imagine a law so silly that you could not do a good thing like healing someone because it was the Sabbath? Surely that was not what God meant.

Dear Father, help us to be faithful in following the teaching we find in your Word, but also help us to follow the example of Jesus in loving and caring for others. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Note: The "silly laws" were taken from the How Stuff Works website. They were not checked for accuracy. You may wish to choose your own examples.