Jesus has just finished saying He will give His followers rest – but now He is “working” on the Sabbath – what does that mean?
Jesus does give true rest, but He wants to make sure that our focus is always on serving the Lord – and not making rules that are against human beings. His disciples needed food, and they took some of the grain from the edge of the field (called “gleaning”, a legal practice). The Pharisees got mad because it was on the Sabbath (you were supposed to gather extra food on Friday so you would not gather on Saturday). But Jesus could not gather on Friday because He was doing the work of the Kingdom. He is showing an example – not that we shouldn’t rest, but that God’s work needs to take priority in our lives – helping others and serving Christ.
We have an interesting take on rest. I believe God still wants us to have a day off – focused on Him, not working, and time with family and friends. (This is debated, and some think that there is no “sabbath” command in the New Testament. I see nothing in the NT that says we should not be resting once a week.) Our culture has two days off per week, and yet we still don’t rest, and we are full of stress and often overloaded. We have the 40 (or 50 or 60) hour work week – and yet we still don’t have enough time.
Jesus has a different take on time, He is the Maker of time. When I move at His pace my life has His peace. That includes a day off, where I let my worries fall to Him, I focus on Him and my family. That means every day I need time alone and with Him. If I can just figure out how to live time with Jesus, what a difference that would make in my life. That means I stay in rhythm with Him – and feel the joy of being in the groove.