Mark 2

"And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
(vs. 27,28)

The Sabbath, of course, was a Jewish “holiday”. Sabbath means “rest” and this was the seventh day, a day for all Jews to rest, because God rested on the seventh day. Man is bent on chaining himself to certain traditions and customs that constrain him and restrict him in many ways. In other words, we like to subject ourselves to rigorous rules and ordinances, as if we were slaves to it. Jesus clears the air in this passage, and makes it clear that the Sabbath is to be controlled by man, for him to enjoy, and not to enslave him and control his life. So it is with the church today. We saw in the last chapter of Matthew why the first day of the week has replaced the seventh day in our times. The Lord’s Day, which is the first day of the week, has become our Sabbath, and it was made for us (subject to us) and not that we were made to serve it.

Years ago the church dictated and controlled the lives of men. It was a government type church and “ran a tight ship,” so to speak. The church became the paramount authority in the lives of men, and to go against her teachings was a death penalty. This was what was developing at the time of Christ. The Pharisees had supreme authority, and what the council decided was law. Jesus had to teach us that holidays, and ordinances were there for man, and not the other way around. We need to enjoy our fellowship and praise in the church today, but not be fearful of it and feel that we are enslaved to it; Christ died for mankind, not merely for an institution.

Don’t we love to subject others to rules and ordinances of man? We love to be in control, to “lord” it over others. This is what the priests were doing in the time of Christ; they were dictators in a kingdom of their own making. The strict Jews forbad anyone to work on the Sabbath, under any circumstances at all. They kept the letter of the law, but missed the spirit of it. If we are not careful we can easily fall into this same error today in the church. Enjoy your church, but don’t become a victim if it. Remember, the church was made for man, and not man for the church.

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