Lord Of The Sabbath

The group of religious leaders that was following Jesus around were constantly looking for ways to condemn him. For some the motive may have been jealousy or perhaps pious indignation. Or maybe, like so many who were following this Rabbi from Nazareth, some were just curious.

But when the men who were with Jesus stopped and started picking heads of grain to eat, the Pharisees saw their opportunity to pounce.

“Why are your disciples doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

In their minds, it was clear as day. Picking grain was classed as harvesting and harvesting was classed as work. Because work was forbidden on the Sabbath, what these men were doing was surely unlawful.

But Jesus, knowing exactly what they were trying to achieve with this line of questioning, skillfully stepped around their trap and confronted them with a challenge of His own:

“Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices’. The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

In one powerful statement, Jesus reminded the religious leaders of the true purpose of the Sabbath. But more than that, he declared that as the Son of Man, he was over and above the Law, because he was the author of it.

As you can well imagine, the Pharisees would not have taken such a statement lightly.

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