What crucial truth about the Sabbath does Jesus reveal here? How can we take this principle and apply it to our own Sabbath experience?
Jesus and His disciples had just walked through a field of grain, and the disciples, hungry, had picked some of the grain and eaten it. The act of picking grain while one was passing through a field was not a problem, as the rules of the society permitted this. Food is a necessity, and it was perfectly acceptable for the disciples to relieve their hunger by eating what they found as they walked along. The problem was that religious leaders regarded their own made-up rules for Sabbath observance as more important than was human need. This was a continuing point of controversy between Christ and the Pharisees. Jesus’ response indicated that their priorities were wrong. The Sabbath should be a day for human blessing, not used as an excuse for prolonging suffering.
Nowhere in all the Sabbath controversies recorded in the Gospels does the question of the validity of the Sabbath ever arise. The issue, instead, was how should the seventh-day be kept, not whether it was to be abolished or superseded by something else.
Jesus’ example shows not only that the Sabbath remains something that should be observed but also shows us how the Sabbath should be kept. And one thing we can clearly see from His example is that work done on the Sabbath to help relieve human suffering does not violate the Sabbath. On the contrary, if anything, His example shows that doing good for others is exactly how the Sabbath should be kept.
In what ways could your Sabbath keeping better reflect the principles seen in Jesus’ example to us?