This is a microcosm of the attitude to which Jesus held regarding the Sabbath. The Sabbath concerns two events. They are the creation of the world and the Jews release from slavery. God gave the day to the Jews to hold as a day of rest in honour of him. What is under discussion here, is, how do we interpret this? The answer is unclear and indeed ambiguous. There are two extreme views already on the matter. Liberals believe that it is not essential to devote all that much time to Jesus, Fundamentalists believe that every little detail of the Sabbath law should be observed and carried out.
The question is: Which one is right? Is either? In Marks Gospel there are three main chapter incidents regarding Jesus and the Sabbath. In 1:21-28 there is no conflict between Jesus and religious leaders.
This parable merely highlights Jesus’ attitude to the Sabbath and he tries to express his message that the law of love comes before the love of law and that we must do our best to help others, regardless of what day it is.
In 2:23-27 Jesus harvests some corn from a cornfield. The Pharisees considered this a very serious offence, as Jewish laws regarding work on the Sabbath were very strict. When the Pharisees questioned his actions Jesus responded echoing David’s actions of the same kind upon them. He then said that the “Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” This is, I think, key to understanding the aspect.
Here we see Jesus rebelling against Jewish Laws and acting as if he were above them to some of the most powerful people around. He is ultimately risking his life for his beliefs, which are against tradition and law; this shows that we too should perhaps take them just as seriously. It could be argued that perhaps Jesus should have known better, being the prophet that he is, but on the same level, you could also say that his actions were to make a point. He is trying to express that these trivial laws shouldn’t have to act as a burden upon us, that if they do so we would be better off without them.3:1-6 is like the Lord of the Sabbath, except, in a way, the roles are reversed.
This time the Pharisees are trying to make a point. Now, in these days the Pharisees were meant to do all they could to make sure that the proper laws were carried out. This also meant that they had to set a good example and abide by them laws themselves. In this parable we see Jesus meeting a man with a shrivelled hand in the Synagogue. The Pharisees ” watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
This shows that the Pharisees had no real respect for the Sabbath Law; they just wanted to ensure that everyone else kept it. Jesus asked the Pharisees:Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”Jesus had a point here, one that the Pharisees could find no response to. They went silent and Jesus healed the man. This parable shows that every opportunity must be taken to please God by pleasing others. Christians can learn that Jesus put us on the Earth to have a good life and help others to do the same. If any law infringes this then it should be overlooked and not obeyed.
Christians must learn that the Sabbath was made for them and these dim laws should not bear the authority to stop that. Christianity is about what comes from the heart. This is not to say that the Sabbath should not be worshipped at all, this is not the case. Christians should worship the Sabbath although they should not let it impede on their quality of life.