Readings for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost
Deuteronomy 5:12-15; 2 Corinthians 4:5-12; Mark 2:23-28
To the person who would live life entirely on his own terms, God’s commandments will inevitably feel restrictive, even suffocating. “Do I have to?” “Why should I?” “Surely I’m an exception, right?” Let’s be honest. The sinful side of us has asked such questions before in matters of obedience to God.
But to the one who can see God’s true face as it’s revealed in Jesus Christ, to the one who knows God’s abounding mercy and infinite love for humanity, His commandments will be seen for what they are – a beautiful design for how we can thrive as a community of the redeemed.
Sunday’s Old Testament and Gospel readings give us a case in point with the Third Commandment: You shall observe the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. (Deut 5) God doesn’t want us to be slaves to our work. He established a weekly pattern of work and recreation, service to the world and rest in the presence of God (Sunday worship), for our physical and spiritual benefit. When the Pharisees chided Jesus for letting his disciples break their rules for Sabbath, Jesus responded by asserting his authority as Israel’s true lord and king. As such, he came to feed souls that are starving for mercy and save us from our sins (Mk 2).
In the epistle reading for Sunday, the apostle Paul describes a beautiful paradox of the Christian faith. God of infinite power and wisdom has joined Himself (in Christ) to weak and sinful human beings. Look in the mirror on any given day and you will see a humble earthen vessel staring back at you. But inside that vessel the Holy Spirit dwells and the light of faith shines. Though we sometimes feel as good as dead, in Christ we are infinitely alive! (2Cor 4).