The Lord and His Sabbath | Mark 2:28
28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Remember the Pharisees’ sanctimonious question in verse 25. They turn and interject—“Look!”—and accuse (in the form of a question) the disciples of breaking the holy commandment (v. 24). While some Pharisees seem to have honest inquiries for the Lord (cf. Jn 3:1–2), these, with the previous ones about dining with sinners (v. 16) and fasting (v. 18), amount to a systematic attack upon the Lord from their perch on high. They form a line of reasoning that lead most of them to reject Jesus as their Messiah.
The Law (nor Sabbath-keeping) can’t bring life. Our Lord highlights how they misread and misuse the Law. They believed they were holy because they fasted twice a week (Lk 18:12), tithed even the leaves on spice plants (Mt 23:23), and avoided all appearances of working on the Sabbath. Indeed, the Law is holy (Rm 7:12), but because of the sin within us, it produces death (v. 13). The purpose of the Law wasn’t so that a person could be made holy, but so that a person made holy would know how to live in holiness.
Jesus (not Sabbath-keeping) brings life. Only Jesus Christ can deliver us from the death and condemnation of the Law (Rm 7:24–8:4). He tells them in John 5:39–40, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” He saves, taking the unholy of the world and making them holy (cf. Lv 11:44).
The Greek term for Lord, kurios, is the same word used to translate Yahweh in the Old Testament. A purpose of the Law is to love the Lord (Mt 22:37–40), and He’s the Lord. Therefore, the disciples violated no commandment by walking and eating and learning from Christ—they were with the LORD. He originally delivered the Sabbath command, and He’ll give another evidence of that in the synagogue in chapter three.
May He forever be our Lord and Sabbath rest (Hb 4:9)!