Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In The Presence Of The Son of Man

Been blogging on 2 Corinthians lately. I'm going to take a break and jump over to Luke and then I'll be back to 2 Corinthians. 
On a certain Sabbath Jesus was walking through a field of ripe grain. His disciples were pulling off heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands to get rid of the chaff, and eating them.  Some Pharisees said, "Why are you doing that, breaking a Sabbath rule?" 
But Jesus stood up for them.  "Have you never read what David and those with him did when they were hungry? How he entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat? He also handed it out to his companions."
 Then he said "The Son of Man is no slave to the Sabbath, he's in charge." Luke 6:1-5, The Message
Just a brief word or two on this.  Here we have food imagery, something common in the Gospels.  Besides the self-involved hyper-detail of the application of Sabbath law going on here, these Pharisees are as usual missing what's in front of them- Jesus, the fulfillment of the Sabbath. The Son of Man, as he refers to himself, is perfectly balanced in his work-sabbath ratio, thank you very much, and if he wanted he could go plow a field all by himself and it would not violate the Sabbath.  However, I think it's providential that they are eating grain here, because once again we get the food message and a glimpse into what God is doing in the sending of Jesus.  

Challenged with law-breaking, he seizes the opportunity to refer to the Old Testament.  David, this time, is his subject, and it seems that he trotted directly into the Temple, up to the table which stood in the  Holy Place, and ate the Bread of the Presence which was reserved as an offering for God.  

Jesus, like David, enters the temple and "takes and eats" the bread and then "hands it out" to his disciples.  The bread that is reserved as an offering, to be consumed only by consecrated priests.  Allow your imagination to dwell here for a minute- what is the bread that he's handing out?  Could it be his Presence?  I think so. The Son of Man who is Lord of the Sabbath comes to those under the Sabbath Law and gives them- Himself- the bread of the Presence, reserved only for those who are holy.  He brings dirty, stinking, unrefined men who slept on the ground last night into the Holy Place, and feeds them holy food, the kind that God eats.  

The real sabbath here is Jesus himself- the one who rested after creating the world and all that is in it.  His aim now is to bring the Holy to the unholy(or the unholy into the Holy perhaps), to break the Sabbath, strictly speaking, in order to fulfill it.  To show God to those who can't see. To give food to those who are not on the guest list. To extend love to those for whom love was believed impossible.  His Presence. They welcomed it, and by doing so vindicated themselves from the scrutiny of Sabbath-rule. Because everything done "in the Presence" of the Son of Man is holy.  

1 comment:

Bob said...

If He is not "God with us" then we are only playing games. This is the heart and soul, the core, of the Gospel, this "given-ness" of Christ to hungry men and women. Emmanuel. If this is not the emphatic point of this thing called Christianity, then I don't know why we'd want to waste our time with it.

As usual, your insights and connections are eye-opening!