Remember the Sabbath: Luke 6.1–11 (21 November 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.



Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.


Daily reflection: Luke 6

This chapter contains Jesus' Sermon on the Plain (verse 17), Luke's version of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. It begins, though, with two stories about the Sabbath. Sabbath-keeping was – and is – one of the marks of an observant Jew. Because of this, for some it had become a religious fossil. Detached from its inner meaning – it was given to provide space for rest and for worship – Sabbath-keeping had become an end in itself, as though God would be pleased by the observance of rules, however random they were.

In these stories (verses 1–5 and 6–11), Jesus makes two important points. One is that the Sabbath is for us personally: it isn't designed to make life worse for us, but better. There is a discipline associated with it that might make it inconvenient sometimes – like going to church when we'd rather have a lie-in – but in the long run, we benefit. The other is that other people come first: we shouldn't be hindered from doing a good thing by fear of breaking a religious law or custom. Jesus made the Sabbath person-focused rather than rules-focused.

We can still see these tensions today, not particularly over the Sabbath but in other areas of church life. Christian communities – even the most non-traditional of them – have habits and traditions that bind them together. But when customs become rules, they also become chains. No, says Jesus: people come first, and we should have enough faith in God to trust in his mercy.



God, help me to put people first, and to trust you to show me how to live a full, rich and holy life.

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