The Right Tool Used for the Wrong Job – June 7, 2024

Read: Mark 2:23–3:6

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” . . . Then [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

Mark 2:23–3:6 (selected verses)

The Right Tool Used for the Wrong Job

Family Devotion – June 7, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 2:23–3:6 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A hammer doesn’t inflate a balloon very well. A hammer can’t blow up a balloon at all! If you want the balloon inflated, you must use the right tool for the job, which would be your lips or an air compressor.

God gave his people the right tool, but they used it for the wrong job. The people of Israel had the beautiful command to do no work on Saturdays. This was to be a day of rest for their bodies, and their souls could enjoy rest in God’s Word.

Here’s another way to understand it. Have you ever worked super hard on a project? Maybe the school science project was due, and you stayed up all night to get it done. Maybe you spent hours cleaning up the living room or mowing the yard. What do you do after the project is done? You enjoy displaying your project. You enjoy the clean living room by playing a game with your family. You might sit down in the yard for a picnic or just enjoy the view of the green grass.

In the same way, God wanted the Sabbath to be a day for his people to just enjoy what he had done and what he would do for them. The Lord wanted to chase away believers’ fears and worries with the promise he would never leave them. He wanted hearts to be filled with joy and peace with the promise that he forgives every sin and loves them. God gave them the right tool, a day to focus on what he did, and many used the Sabbath day to focus on what they had to do for God. But that was the wrong job!

The religious leaders taught that people could make God love them by obeying the Lord’s commands. They were looking for rest in what they could do instead of enjoying the rest God freely gave. They were mad at Jesus for letting his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath, which wasn’t wrong to do according to God but wrong according to them. They got so mad at Jesus for loving a man by healing his shriveled hand that they made plans to kill Jesus! But Jesus used the Sabbath for what it was meant to be—an opportunity to love. It was the right tool for the right job.

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, or to put it another way, Jesus gives us the rest and peace that we could never earn.

Closing Prayer:

(CW 564:1 – My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Do you sometimes try to do things to make God love you?
  • How does Jesus show that he loves you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Stubborn hearts upset Jesus. What kind of heart was he looking for?
  • Jesus wants to give rest and joy to our hearts. What are your favorite promises from God’s Word that give you rest and joy?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Today’s devotion was about using the right tool for the right job. What’s the job of God’s law?
  • TRUE or FALSE. God wants us to obey his laws to show that we love him.


Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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