What Jesus Did! 'Beating Them at Their Own Game' — Luke 6:1-4

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

One time on a Sabbath day, Jesus was walking through some grain fields. His followers picked the grain, rubbed it in their hands, and ate it. Some Pharisees said, "Why are you doing that? It is against the law {of Moses} to do that on the Sabbath day." Jesus answered, "You have read about what David did when he and the people with him were hungry. David went into God's house. David took the bread that was offered to God and ate it. And David gave some of the bread to the people with him. This was against the law {of Moses}. The law says that only the priests can eat that bread."
— Luke 6:1-4
Illustration of Luke 6:1-4 — "Why are you doing that? It is against the law {of Moses} to do that on the Sabbath day."

Key Thought

Legalism is a curse. It's so much a curse that the book of Galatians was written specifically to combat it. However, Jesus has to battle those who used their legalistic knowledge of the Scriptures to challenge him to justify what his disciples did. So, as he does on several occasions, Jesus beats them at their own game. If they are going to make what his disciples are doing a sin by "straining gnats" of the Law and their tradition, then Jesus will answer them doing the same. Jesus had already made his point repeatedly in the preceding story: with Jesus, God is doing something new and there will be no business as usual—with Jesus present, it is a time of joy and a time of change. "If David could do it," Jesus is saying to them in his use of argument, "then surely my disciples can do it since the 'one greater than David' is here." The point? Don't mess with Jesus using legalism; you'll always lose! But then, why should you try to use legalistic arguments, now that grace has come?

Today's Prayer

Father, please help me never abuse your Scriptures to try to justify what I do or don't do to try to make myself look better than other folks seeking to honor you. Forgive me for the times in the past that I have done this. I am genuinely sorry. In the name of Jesus I ask. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

One time on a Sabbath day, Jesus was walking through some grain fields. His followers picked the grain, rubbed it in their hands, and ate it. Some Pharisees said, "Why are you doing that? It is against the law {of Moses} to do that on the Sabbath day." Jesus answered, "You have read about what David did when he and the people with him were hungry. David went into God's house. David took the bread that was offered to God and ate it. And David gave some of the bread to the people with him. This was against the law {of Moses}. The law says that only the priests can eat that bread." Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, "The Son of Man is Lord (Master) over the Sabbath day." On another Sabbath day Jesus went into the synagogue. Jesus taught the people. A man with a crippled right hand was there. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees were watching Jesus closely. They were waiting to see if he would heal on the Sabbath day. They wanted to see Jesus do something wrong so that they could accuse him. But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said to the man with the crippled hand, "Get up and stand before these people." The man got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which thing is right to do on the Sabbath day: to do good, or to do evil? Is it right to save a life or to destroy one?" Jesus looked around at all of them. Jesus said to the man, "Let me see your hand." The man put his hand out. His hand was healed. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law became very, very angry. They talked to each other about what they could do to Jesus.

Luke 6:1-11

Related Scripture Readings

Jesus answered, "It will be bad for you, you teachers of the law! You make strict rules that are very hard for people to obey. You try to force other people to obey those rules. But you yourselves don't even try to follow any of those rules. It will be bad for you, because you build tombs for the prophets. But these are the same prophets that your fathers killed! And now you show all people that you agree with what your fathers did. They killed the prophets, and you build tombs for the prophets! This is why the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send prophets and apostles to them. Some of my prophets and apostles will be killed by evil men. Others will be treated badly.' So you people that live now will be punished for the deaths of all the prophets that were killed since the beginning of the world. You will be punished for the killing of Abel. And you will be punished for the killing of Zechariah. Zechariah was killed between the altar and the temple. Yes, I tell you that you people that live now will be punished for them all. "It will be bad for you, you teachers of the law. You have taken away the key to learning about God. You yourselves would not learn, and you stopped others from learning, too."

Luke 11:46-52

Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You make yourselves look good in front of people. But God knows what is really in your hearts. The things that people think are important are worth nothing to God.

Luke 16:15

Then a teacher of the law stood up. He was trying to test Jesus. He said, "Teacher, what must I do to get life forever?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you understand from it?" The man answered, "'You must love the Lord your God. You must love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' Also, 'You must love other people the same as you love yourself.' " Jesus said to him, "Your answer is right. Do this and you will have life forever." But the man wanted to show that the way he was living was right. So he said to Jesus, "But who are these other people I must love?"

Luke 10:25-29

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.