Monday after Quinquagesima
Scripture: St. Luke 6:1-35 (NKJV)
6:1 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”
3 But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” 5 And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
6 Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. 8 But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood.
9 Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”
10 And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 11 But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.
17 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, 18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
While walking through a grainfield on a Sabbath, Jesus’ disciples plucked and ate grain. When the false teachers pointed out this supposed infraction of the Law, against the requirement that no work be done on the Sabbath, He pointed to David who took and ate and gave showbread on a Sabbath. Jesus pointed to David, who in his action had pointed to Jesus and the blessed taking and eating of the body of Christ in Holy Communion on holy days yet to come.
Jesus replied to the Pharisees’ charge by asserting that He, Jesus, is the Lord of the Sabbath. If this was His only negative interaction with the Pharisees one might be generous toward them, thinking maybe they didn’t know who Jesus is. But then comes another Sabbath, and Jesus miraculously heals a man’s withered hand, and the Pharisees who witnessed Jesus’ divine power became furious. Already they were plotting His death.
Out of kindness, not just for the crippled man, but also toward the unthankful and evil Pharisees, Jesus demonstrated that He is also Lord of the eternal Sabbath where, by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, those who suffer from hunger, poverty, pain, and oppression will be blessed forevermore.
We pray: Heavenly Father, grant us patience, even joy, in the face of those things which bring pain and weariness, and in Your mercy turn the hearts of those who envy and assault us for our faith in Jesus; in whose name we pray. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.