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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: October 12, 2023

When Jesus reminds the Pharisees that God desires mercy, not sacrifice, and when He tells them that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, He’s not merely arguing with them about whether anyone is bound to follow their man-made rules. He’s inviting them to see that the Sabbath itself has now been fulfilled in Him.

The Pharisees notice that Christ’s disciples are plucking grain in the fields on the Sabbath and this sends them into a rage. “You’re working on the day when work is forbidden! You’re sinning! Why aren’t you submitting to the wisdom of your elders and their interpretation of the third commandment? Why aren’t you resting on the Sabbath?”

And in response, Jesus essentially says to them, “why aren’t you resting on the Sabbath? Look, even if you were right that the commandment God gave you did forbid this kind of work, what was the point of the commandment? You weren’t commanded to rest for the sake of showing off how little work you could do. You were commanded to rest so you can rest in the arms of your God, so you could hear His word, so you could pray and meditate on His promises. And now His promises are here. Now, in me, God has come to dwell with His people and give them the eternal rest the Sabbath pointed them to.”

“So no,” Jesus was saying ,”my disciples aren’t working. They’re resting. With the grain they eat, they’re feasting with the Son of God who has come to clothe them in salvation. You’re the ones who are sinfully working, elevating your heart rates and breaking a sweat by opposing the Son of God. So put down your laborious unbelief. Come find your sabbath rest in me.”

Hear the words that the Pharisees wouldn’t hear. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, which means that every day of your life is now a kind of Sabbath day. Through the power of your baptism, you have been made one with Christ. Wherever you go, He is with you, walking in the fields, covering you in His mercy, His love, and salvation. Every day, whether you rise to work at 5 in the morning or sleep until noon, your Lord is there, pouring out the mercy of His sacrifice upon you. So rejoice in Him and rest in Him.

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