Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
Thesis: The nature of "Law" is different from the impact of "Law".
Introduction: In Psalm 119 we find a host of statements in the AV translation that declare "love" for the Law of God. In verse 97 we read, "O how love I Thy law; it is my meditation all the day." In verse 113 we read, "...Thy law do I love." In verse 119 we read, "...I love Thy testimonies." In verse 127 we read, "I love Thy commandments above fine gold." In verse 159 we read, "...I love Thy precepts...". In verse 163 we read, "...Thy law do I love." In verse 167 we read, "...I love Thy testimonies exceedingly."
Yet, when we come to the New Testament we find the apostle Paul writing all manner of warnings about the impact of the Law, the worst of which may well be, "The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the Law" (1 Corinthians 15:56). And that's only a sample. Paul said that anyone who was "under the Law" was in bondage to Sin and that the only way one could escape the dominion of Sin was to escape the position of being "under the Law" (Romans 6:14).
In our study of Luke's record of the antagonism of the Pharisees toward Jesus we have seen just how powerful the bondage to Sin is. There was not a one of the Pharisees who would not have loudly quoted all of the verses I read to you from Psalm 119; yet these same Pharisees could not stand Jesus. How does this work?
In the paragraph before us today, we see the Pharisees jumping on the disciples of Jesus because those men were pulling the heads off of some of the grain along their path, rubbing it in their hands, and eating it.
There are at least two "Why?" questions here. Why were the disciples doing this, given the fact that they knew that the Pharisees taught that it was a sin? And, why did the Pharisees teach that it was a sin? In our study last week we attempted to answer both of those questions. We saw that the disciples ate the grain because they did not believe the Pharisees' doctrine that God hated people who plucked grain and ate it on the way to their worship service. They had lived long enough under the "God hates you" mentality and had been born again by believing that Jesus' doctrine that God loves you was the real truth. And we saw that the Pharisees taught that plucking grain on the Sabbath was a sin because they hated the God whom they believed hated them. That answer is a bit involved, but it is the bottom line. The Pharisees loudly proclaimed their love for God, but they despised Him in their hearts. Their teaching that God hates those who pluck grain on the way to the synagogue was a teaching designed to cause the hearers to hate God back. It was designed by Satan but it was promulgated by the Pharisees.
This morning we are going to at least begin to look into Jesus' response to these hate mongers. What we are going to attempt to see is that one's root belief governs all else.
August 19, 2007
- I. The First Issue: Luke's Record.
- A. Clearly, Luke is attempting to show why Jesus was rejected by the nation.
- B. Clearly, Luke is presenting the problem: Jesus claimed the prerogatives of God.
- C. What is not so clear is why Luke chose such a nit-picky issue.
- 1. On the one hand, if 6:5 were not in the text, we would not even know that the issue really was, "Who is the Lord of the Sabbath?".
- 2. On the other hand, how does whether it is right or wrong to pick grain and eat it along the way have such weight that Luke used it to argue his case for Jesus?
- D. And what is most unclear is Jesus' choice of the record of 1 Samuel 21-22.
- 1. It is not a "godly" story.
- 2. It has nothing directly in it concerning the Sabbath.
- II. The Second Issue: Jesus' Use of David.
- A. Luke 1:32 declares that Jesus has a dual sonship and that He is destined to occupy the Davidic throne.
- 1. This indicates that Jesus is going to exercise the prerogatives of both of His fathers.
- 2. Luke 1:69 and 2:11 both indicate that the focus of Jesus' initial activities is to be "salvation".
- a. On the one hand, the "salvation" is from the enemies and those who hate (1:71) and, on the other hand, once that "salvation" has been accomplished the "saved" will "serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him..." (1:74-75).
- b. At least in these two areas, the story about David "fits".
- 1) He is not "saved" from his enemies.
- 2) He is not "serving God without fear in holiness and righteousness".
- 3) The disciples are being attacked by "enemies", and they are just beginning to get a grip on serving God without fear.
- B. There is no doubt that Jesus' use of David was designed to put the Pharisees into the position of having to either criticize the most popular king of all of Israel's history and recognized to be a man of God's own choice and blessedness, or to yield on the ultra-focus upon Sabbatical Law as a test of man's acceptability before God, based upon the man's "loyalty" factor.
- 1. This was, for the Pharisees, an untenable situation because there were two "roots" to their lives.
- a. On the one hand, they could not criticize David and retain the honor of the people and to lose the honor of the people was to die.
- 1) Of the three roots of a "viper's" life, the Pharisees had latched on to the pride of life as the non-negotiable one.
- 2) To hear Jesus imply a serious level of stupidity on their part by His declaration that they would not be attacking His disciples if they had merely read 1 Samuel 21-22 was to have death shoved into their faces.
- 3) But -- what options did they have? They could not put David into the same category of "rejected sinners" that they were attempting to put the disciples in and retain their life.
- b. On the other hand, they could not yield on their "ultra-focus" because it was at the very root of their theological outlook.
- 1) The "root" of the Pharisaical outlook was one: God loves only those who love Him.
- a) In this outlook, God is God and man must gain His acceptance by proving his loyalty by every manner of submission to His Law.
- b) In this outlook, there is no such thing as a "minor" infraction of the "loyalty" issue: all infractions indicate a flagging of loyalty and qualify the perpetrator for rejection.
- 2) This was such a profound element in the very root that to yield on it was to practice the very disloyalty that was required by the system.
- c. Being chewed up with the lust for the honor of men while holding on to the concept that God loves only those who love Him is the ultimate "between a rock and a hard place" situation.
- 1) The Pharisees were fundamentally incapable of giving up either root.
- 2) Their only recourse was silence.
- III. The Third Issue: Jesus' Claim to be Lord of the Sabbath.
- A. Luke 2:11 records the angelic announcement that the human being named Jesus was born to be a Savior by being Christ, the Lord.
- B. This was the real issue: Who is the real Lord of the Sabbath?
- 1. The Pharisaical imposition of their "explanations" of the Law of God upon men by the elevation of those impositions to the level of "Law" was nothing more or less than the very thing of which they were accusing Jesus: the human exercise of divine prerogatives.
- a. It is one thing to set forth one's understanding of God's words as one's understanding and the reasons for it (Acts 9:22 and 17:2).
- b. It is altogether another thing to set forth one's understanding of God's words as God's meaning (Matthew 15:9).
- c. By accusing the disciples of evil, the Pharisees had set themselves up as "lords of the Sabbath".
- 2. Jesus' contradiction of their accusation by the "mere" reading of the Scriptures was the equivalent of deposing them from their "thrones" as the "lords of the Sabbath".
- 3. But, He did more: He announced that He was the Lord of the Sabbath.
- IV. The Significance to Us.
- A. As "Lord of the Sabbath", Jesus represented a completely different "root" theology.
- 1. For the "God only loves those who love Him" crowd, the Sabbath was a test of loyalty.
- 2. For Jesus, the Sabbath was a divine provision for the comfort of man...an evidence of His already-real love for him.
- B. For the Pharisees, men determine their eternal destiny by proving their love for God so that He will love them in return.
- C. For Jesus, God loves men and proves it by a multitude of provisions and they need to come to grips with His love because it is only out of the conviction of His love that men have the ability to turn loose of the false roots of life. (John said, "We love Him because He first loved us.")