Christ versus Religion, by Witness Lee

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It was "at that time," after speaking in this way, that Jesus went with His disciples on the sabbath day through the cornfields. The disciples saw all the ears of corn, and because they were hungry they all began to help themselves and eat. The Pharisees, however, saw it and said, "Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath" ( 12: 2). You see, to keep the sabbath day in such a way is really a heavy burden. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy burdened." Any regulation, any rule, is a kind of burden. But with Christ there are no regulations, no rules. Consider the situation: the Lord Jesus took the hungry ones out of the synagogue, perhaps; out of something religious, and into the cornfield. Do you think He did this without meaning? I tell you, the Lord Jesus did this intentionally with a purpose. He deliberately broke the observation of the sabbath day in order to satisfy those who were hungry. Religion burdened them; the Lord Jesus satisfied them.

Religious people are always like this. They are always putting burdens upon others and not allowing others to eat. They are always saying it is not lawful, it is not fundamental, it is not according to the Scriptures. But the Lord Jesus said, "Have you not read?" He said in effect, "You are so fundamental, you are so scriptural, have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God and ate the shewbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests? Have you not read that, you Pharisees? According to your law, it was not lawful for David or his followers to eat, but they ate." Those scriptural people, those fundamental people, were shut up. It is very meaningful.


Christ is everything versus religion. There was indeed such a regulation in the law, saying that only the priests were allowed to eat the shewbread in the house of God. Yet in the same Bible which records this regulation is a record telling how David entered the temple and together with his followers ate the shewbread. And God did not condemn them. The Lord Jesus in so speaking was telling the Pharisees, "I am the real David, and my disciples are the real followers of the real David. If in the ancient time David and his followers ate the shewbread, which they were not allowed to eat, and were not condemned, how can you condemn Me? You must realize that David was only a type, a shadow, a figure—I am the real David. If whatever David did was lawful, then whatever I do must be lawful. If you go into the temple by yourself, without David, and eat the shewbread, you will be condemned. It is by David being with you, it is by being in the presence of David, that whatever you do is lawful. It is not a matter of the law, but a matter of David."

Now in this present day, it is not a matter of the law, but wholly a matter of Christ. As long as Christ is with you, as long as you do something in the presence of Christ, it is all right. Why? Because Christ today is the present, instant, and up-to-date lawgiver. Hallelujah! Christ is today’s real David, and we are His followers. We have Him with us, and we are doing things in His presence.

There are no regulations today, but Christ. There are no regulations, but the real David. As long as I am following my David today, as long as I am one with my Christ, whatever I do in His presence is all right. Could you say this? Do you have the vision to say this?

(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)