Reading: Mark 2:23-3:6
2:23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the cornfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some ears of corn. 24 The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?’25 He answered, ‘Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.’27 Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’
3:1 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ 4 Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Thought: Jesus is on dangerous ground here. Accused of breaking the Law (or rather the traditions that had built up around the Law) he points to David having done something similar. To those brought up on the Old Testament stories, the implication is clear, he is claiming to be David’s successor – in other words I am the Christ, God’s promised King. This King is above the priests – he can hand out bread that was theirs to eat – above the Law (he is Lord of the Sabbath) and a challenge to the current king. Maybe this is why the Pharisees and Herodians club together; a most unlikely alliance of religion and state.

Prayer: Jesus, I enthrone you as King in my life today, help me not to let you be one demand amongst many, but first and above all.