Today's devotion from Mark 2. Jesus' ministry continues to shock in more than one way. He miraculously heals a man in order to prove that He has graciously forgiven him. The religious elite are belligerent that He is eating with tax collectors and sinners. Just imagine how they would have responded had they known Levi was not just a follower, but one of the disciples that would change the world in His name! They question Him for allowing His followers to eat during a time of fasting, but were appalled that His followers gathered grain on the Sabbath.
In response to this last, Jesus reminded them of the action of their beloved David. During a turbulent time in his life, David resorted to eating bread specifically off limits to all but the priests. He then offered some words of instruction, "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27, CSB) These words were true in multiple ways, but two I want to specifically address.
First, these words echo with the reminder the these religious zealots had gotten much of God's way wrong. In the case of Sabbath law, they had failed to realize that the Sabbath was given to bind them, but to free them. The Sabbath was intended to be a day of rest of worship. A day devoted to God so that man could prosper in His ways. These leaders weren't interested in growing, only in reigning in.
Second, and perhaps more profoundly, Jesus touched on a deeper truth in that the Sabbath and the primacy of God, worship, and rest that it encapsulated existed because, like Jesus' followers here and David before them, mankind was "in need and hungry." (Mark 2:25, CSB) Their hunger was not for bread or grain, but for restoration and hope. The Sabbath existed for man because of this longing that nothing in all creation could appease.
Remember this the next time you're tempting to think about what you "have" to do in order to be a lawful Christian. Have to go to church. Have to read your Bible. Have to pray. No, you don't have to do these things. They were established for you because you are in need and hungry, and only the Bread of Life can satisfy.