Controversy Over Picking Grain on the Sabbath

Controversy Over Picking Grain on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5). On
an ordinary day the disciples picking heads of grain and eating them would have been lawful, but on the
Sabbath it involved, according to rabbinic statutes, at least two sins—plucking the grain and rolling it—
both acts of labor, each involving sin, punishment and a sin-offering. Jesus offered a number of proofs
that He was not guilty of a Sabbath violation.

The first argument was based on their ignorance of their own Scriptures. Christ referred to a time when
David and his companions were hungry. David entered the house of God and ate the bread, which
according to Levitical Law, was to be eaten only by the priests (1 Samuel 21:1-6). Thus, under the Law
the Sabbath could be broken for works of necessity.

The second argument was that the Law itself permitted men to work when they were involved in worship
and service (Numbers 28:9-10, 18-19).

His third argument appealed to the prophets and was based on an interpretation of Hoses 6:6 and was a
direct thrust at the harsh and critical spirit of the Pharisees in the accusation they had brought against the
disciples. If they had properly interpreted the Hosea 6:6, they would not have condemned His innocent
disciples.

His fourth argument (Mark 2:27) was an appeal to the original purpose of the Sabbath. Men were not to
be bent to the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was to conform to the needs of men.

The final argument (Mark 2:28) was based on the authority of the Messiah Himself. All things are
subject to Him; thus He has authority even over the Sabbath—“The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

During His ministry, Jesus defended Himself only when His deity was attacked and His authority
questioned.

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