This past week’s Proclaim message, Lord of the Sabbath, taken from Mathew 12:1-8 struck a cord of sadness within me. Jesus concluded his remarks to the Pharisees who were condemning His disciples for breaking the Sabbath by gleaning some wheat to satisfy their hunger with this zinger: “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” This event is also recorded in Mark 2:23-28 as Jesus concludes with: “And He was saying to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Consequently, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath’ “. So the Pharisees had changed the Sabbath to establish their own set of rules and to satisfy their selfish desires for power and control.
My sadness comes from the fact that even today we find so many church denominations and independent churches bending theology to suit themselves. How many ways are the sacraments defined and shared or not shared among Christians, how often is His Holy Spirit acknowledged or smothered within the body of the church, and how many interpretations of His Word do we find? Clergy, elders, theologians, evangelists, and seminary professors must spend countless hours fine tuning Christ’s Church to satisfy themselves. In 1 Cor. 1:10 Paul says, ”Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there is no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgement”. And later in verse 13, “Has Christ been divided?”. So I must ask this question, was the Sabbath, His Sacraments, His Holy Spirit, His Word, made for man or was man made to change them for his selfish desires? Well the answer is obvious of course given the nature of sinful man, or to put it bluntly, man is no damn good!
My sadness has since passed once I came back to the tremendous show of love that my Savior Jesus has given me and I recall the old Gospel song lyrics: ‘When the day turned dark at Calvary, there was a Rainbow in the clouds above just for Me’. Have hope my brothers and sisters in Christ, for He was given for each of us, not us for Him. May His Peace be with you.