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 NLT
Illustration of Luke 6:1-4 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 11:46-52
  • Luke 16:15
  • Luke 10:25-29


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.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.