Lord of the Sabbath

Mark 2:23-28

23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”


  1. The Accusation
  2. Does the Old Testament condemn them?

Deuteronomy 23: 24 If you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but do not put any in your basket. 25 If you enter your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to their standing grain.

Exodus 20: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Remember the Sabbath day. God’s creation order. Six days to make the heavens and the earth, then a day of rest. A seven day cycle of life. We make the Sabbath day holy. Holy means separate, different. We make it a different day by not doing work as in the other six days.

It is holy to God in this way.

  1. Defining terms and the law

        Who does the rest apply to?

  1. You.
  2. Your fellow Jews
  3. Your servants
  4. Your animals
  5. The land

Does it apply to Gentiles? If they live with a Jew.


What is defined as work? It’s not really so much about the difficulty of the activity but of the quality of the activity. Any expression of creativity or of ordering your world would be seen as work. Picking and threshing is ordering.

The 39 things you can’t do. Look it up.

Sabbath is first instructed with reference to gathering and preparing manna. You get twice as much the day before the Sabbath, and ONLY the day before the Sabbath. And the manna does not rot and spoil on the day of the Sabbath, when it does spoil the day after it is gathered on every other day.

So, because of the Sabbath, they get twice as much and it lasts twice as long. Because of this their rest is not only commanded, but it is provided for by God!!


  1. Jesus is accused because of them

        Just as in the previous story, the Jewish leaders have questions about how Jesus is training His Apostles to live. If He does not rebuke law breaking, then He is against the law.

So, the question ultimately is whether or not picking the heads of grain by hand, then threshing that grain with your hands and eating the kernels is defined by the law as work.


  1. The Answer


  1. The example of David

There is a parallel to David and authority here. There is a connection to the importance of the support of God’s anointed. David is a type of Messiah! Just as Jesus is a prophet like Moses, He is a king like David. We follow Moses’ teaching. Moses gave us the law. We follow Jesus’ teaching. Jesus fulfills the law for us. We submit to David, David gives us victory/deliverance from our enemies. We submit to Jesus, Jesus gives us triumph over our enemies!


  1. Man and the Sabbath

Sabbath is a gift from God to people for their rest. It is a blessing to be able to be free from labor, and not just in terms of an allowance, but as a command. This forces those who are anxious to rest.

The Sabbath is not meant to make our lives worse. It is not meant to be a burden. Not all work is work! Take up your mat! The creation of eyeballs in John 9. The command for people to not come to Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.


  1. Conflicting laws

The reason for the gray:

Example of the priests. They work every Sabbath. Example of health care workers. Example of Nuclear Plant Workers. Example of police and firemen. Example of people in the military. Some have to work on the Sabbath. BUT many businesses do not need to be open on the Sabbath!

Jesus uses the example of the animal falling into a situation where they will die. We can argue all day that God is sovereign and could have avoided this, so we can know that it is His will that the animal die, that our loved ones die etc. But that is NOT what Jesus says. The application is reasonable and there is a higher law! We are always to do what is good, what reflects God’s good character.


III. The Lord of the Sabbath


  1. Jesus and Sabbath authority

Teaching, healing, deliverance from demons, forgiveness and now application of Sabbath laws.

The first Sabbath instructions come from Exodus 16 and the gathering of manna. That manna is the bread of life. That manna is their daily bread. That manna is what they need in order to have life.

  1. They get what they need for each day.
  2. What they gather does not last past each day.
  3. Sabbath is the exception to these rules
  4. Day before Sabbath they get what they need for Sabbath so that on the Sabbath they do not gather.
  5. The morning of Sabbath, what they gathered before does not rot or spoil.
  6. On every Sabbath they have a reminder:
  7. They follow God’s instructions and they have life.
  8. The follow God’s instructions and they rest from their         own labor to have life on that day. Their lives are made                       easier and they spend the provision of God on honoring God                for His provision.
  9. Historically, they take this for granted.


  1. The spiritual Sabbath

                Hebrews 3: 12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Hebrews 4: Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.


  1. Rest in Christ’s work

Matthew 11: 28-30:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Work and rest are key components of this passage!

“No man comes to the Father, but by Me!”

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.