Honoring God’s Sabbath

Later, Jesus was walking with his students through some wheat fields on a Sabbath (83).  His students were hungry, so they began to pick heads of grain & eat them as they walked.

Some Pharisees complained to Jesus, “It’s against God’s law for them to do this on the Sabbath!”

Jesus replied, “But you know that King David once broke God’s law — by going into the tabernacle & eating bread that had been offered to God, bread that only God’s priests were supposed to eat.  And you know that priests themselves break God’s law every Sabbath — by doing their temple work then.  But you don’t complain about those things!

“There is a bigger issue here,” Jesus said.  “In the inspired scriptures, God says, ‘It is mercy that I want, not animal sacrifices.’  If you really knew what this means, you wouldn’t condemn people who remain innocent before God.  I’m offering you the true spirit of God’s Sabbath.”

That same Sabbath day Jesus went to a local synagogue, where there was a man who had a paralyzed hand.


The Pharisees were there to trick Jesus into breaking the Sabbath law, so they asked him, “Is it against God’s law to heal on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answered, “What if one of you has a sheep and it falls into a deep hole on the Sabbath? Won’t you lift it out, in violation of the Sabbath law?  Well, in God’s eyes, people are worth much more than sheep. So the spirit of God’s law absolutely allows us to help people on the Sabbath.”

Then he said to the man with the paralyzed hand, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it became completely well again, just like his other one!


The Pharisees were enraged at being shown up in this way, so they continued making plans to eliminate Jesus. When Jesus heard about their plot against him, he went away from that place.

Large crowds followed Jesus; he healed all the sick people and told them not to tell other people about him.

In this way, Jesus showed the truth of what God had said about him through the prophet Isaiah, hundreds of years earlier:

“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, the one I love, and with whom I am pleased. I will send my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim my judgment to the nations. 

“He will not argue or shout or make loud speeches in the streets. He will not break off a bent reed; he will not put out a flickering lamp. 

“But he will persist until he causes justice to triumph. In him all people will find hope.”


(83) Matthew 12:1-21, Mark 2:23-3:6, Luke 6:1-11