Religion or Relationship – Luke 6:1-11

LetterOfLawVsSpirtOfLawAnd Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?'” (Luke 6:9, ESV).

Luke 6:1-5 describes how once when Jesus and His disciples were walking through grain fields on a Sabbath, some of His disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain.

Some Pharisees considered plucking grain on the Sabbath as forbidden work and challenged Jesus on the matter. The penalty for profaning the Sabbath was death (Exodus 31:14), so this was a pretty serious charge made against Jesus’ disciples by the Pharisees.

Jesus defended the actions of His disciples by telling the Pharisees that He was Lord of the Sabbath (vs. 5). In Mark’s record of this incident Jesus tells the Pharisees that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

In another Sabbath-breaking episode recorded in the following verses (Luke 6:6-11), Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and healed a man with a withered hand much to the chagrin of the Pharisees.

This time Jesus defended His actions by asking if it was wrong to do a good deed or to save someone’s life on the Sabbath.

Does God ask us to reject our humanity in order to serve Him? Absolutely not!

And that’s the point that Jesus tries to make to the Pharisees in both of these Sabbath controversies.

Sometimes in our zeal to serve God, we subvert God’s grace by wielding God’s law.

We have a need to observe the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law, and make sure others do likewise. And when they don’t, we want justice not mercy!

What’s more important, knowing the rules of our religion or knowing God?

Don’t choose religion over a relationship with Jesus.

“In order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection…” (Philippians 3:9-10, ESV)

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