Episode #171: Unholy Regulation
And it happened that He was passing through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” (Mark 2:23,24)
I believe the Bible is inerrant and true, that it does not contradict itself. However, there are some in the Bible who contradict themselves. The Pharisees are an example of a people with contradictory actions. God gave us a commandment to take a sabbath day and rest. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but he seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:9-11)
The Rabbis over the centuries since this command was given, took it into their own hands to define what constituted “work” on the sabbath. They worked really hard to tell people what they could and couldn’t do in their personal interpretation of a simple command. According to the Rabbis, you couldn’t so much as travel more than 3000 feet from your home on the sabbath day. You could pick a head of grain but if you rubbed it in your hands, that was considered a form of threshing and therefore it was work and forbidden. I find it funny that the Pharisees had to be breaking the very law they were accusing the disciples of in order to know that the disciples were actually doing it. It’s not like the disciples and Pharisees lived together and this took place outside in their yard. The passage clearly says that they were traveling. The Pharisees were like a little brother, lurking in the shadows waiting to see their big brother do something wrong so they could run and tell on him.
The worst part of what the rabbis and Pharisees had done over the centuries was to exalt their interpretation of the law to be on par with God’s Word. This in itself was a sinful act. How much have we adopted this same attitude in the modern church? If you asked people outside of the faith of Christianity to tell you their opinion of Christians, many of them would start listing things we have told them they can and cannot do over the years. You would be hard pressed to find someone to describe the character of God by defining the actions of the modern Christian, especially the western Christian with all of our rules, regulations, and denominational differences. In many instances, we have made our traditions and regulations on par with God’s Word. We have taken very simple commands and amended them over and over again to suit the latest popular belief or to condemn that which we disagree with.
What we need to do is get back to the actual Word of God whenever an issue arises. Let us be a people who find the answers to issues by asking, “What does the Bible say about it?” Let the Word of God, not the traditions of man, be the light for our feet on the path of life.
Love Y’all Be Blessed!