I cringe when I hear people say that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. The implication of that statement is that Jesus’ work on the cross wiped out the rules. Yet it did no such thing. Every relationship is governed by rules – even our relationship with the LORD. Furthermore, God himself endorses religion in Jas. 1:26+27. Religion is not a bad thing in and of itself. We run into problems when we start worshiping religion instead of God.
I also cringe when I hear people say that God hates religion. It’s simply not true. If he hated it, Judaism would not exist. God would not have instituted the OT law and sacrifices if he hated them. Once again, the issue is not the Jewish religion. Practiced correctly, it points people to Jesus. Unfortunately, Jesus discovered in his day that the Jewish religion had become a substitute for him, rather than a practice to point people to him.
We will see as much in today’s text. We will learn two lesson from the Jewish sabbath; lessons that should point us to Jesus. They were lost on the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day because they were not worshiping God. They were worshiping Judaism.