Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5)

Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5)


Happy Lord’s Day! We have been given 52/yr.

WCF 21 – The Sabbath command is:

  1. Positive – Not simply refraining from certain activities, but positivelyengaging in worship.
  2. Moral – Like all 10 Commandments.
  3. Perpetual – Not merely Old Testament law.

Once again…

  • Jesus is at odds with the Pharisees.
  • Jesus’ actions on the Sabbath are the cause of their concern.
  • Jesus points out their faulty practice (c.f., fasting).

We’ve already seen Jesus healing on the Sabbath. But now, the Pharisees will confront his working on the Sabbath.

Our Lord’s perfect observance of the Sabbath involved work.

Read Luke 6:1-5

A Sabbath Snack (1-2)

Gleaning laws allowed the poor/traveler to take grain from the edges of the field. Jesus and his disciples weren’t stealing.

The disciples were guilty of reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing food. They had a right to eat it, if they could only get to it.

Calvin It is the invariable practice of hypocrites to allow themselves liberty in matters of the greatest consequence, and to pay close attention to ceremonial observances.

There is a difference between the pious person who wants to obey the law and the one who nitpicks others with technicalities regarding it.

If we were rightly focused on our own Sabbath habits, we would not have time to wag our fingers at everyone else. But, more often, we feel guilty about our inability to honor the day so we pat our backs by comparing ourselves to others.

Jesus points to an example…

A Sabbath Parallel (3-4)

David and his men satisfied their hunger by eating the bread of presence from the temple, and ordinarily reserved for priests (1 Sam. 21:1-6).

How is this relevant? Their are two primary connections:

  1. The hunger of both parties.
  2. The authority of David/Jesus.

Jesus is not abolishing the law (Matt. 5:17-19), rather he is repealing the Pharisaical interpretation of the law.

Ryan McGraw Although Jesus taught on the Sabbath in response to the abuses of the Pharisees, this is the same manner in which He dealt with all of the other commandments.

Jesus advocated 3 kinds of activity in Matt. 12:

  1. Works of Necessity (3-4)
  2. Works of Piety (5-8)
  3. Works of Mercy (9-14)

We should ask: Does this activity promote (not violate) the purposes of the day?

However, Luke seems to emphasize the authority of Jesus more than his actions…

A Sabbath Lord (5)

As Lord of the Sabbath Jesus had divine authority to interpret the law.

  • Jesus grew up honoring the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).
  • Jesus taught that the moral law is binding (Matt. 19:18-19).
  • “Made” refers to creation. “Man” indicates its universal application. (Mark 2:27-28).

It would be highly unlikely for Jesus to declare himself Lord of the Sabbath only to abolish it. Yet, that is the typical view of the Church today. We weren’t always so indifferent…

Jesus frequently equated himself with authority rightly reserved for God. This is what continually upset the Pharisees.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Sabbath laws perfectly. It is his righteous observance of the fourth commandment that has been credited to our account.

But that doesn’t mean we can respond by breaking it anymore than we would respond by breaking the other nine commandments that he fulfilled on our behalf!



  1. A Sabbath Snack (1-2)
  2. A Sabbath Parallel (3-4)
  3. A Sabbath Lord (5)

Our Lord’s perfect observance of the Sabbath involved work. It was the kind of work that honored the day and kept it holy to the Lord. It also involved serving others. But, most importantly, it was the work of a loving Lord who not only observed the law, but in fact, made the law for the benefit of mankind.

May we learn to enjoy this day and all of the blessings our Lord has attached to it! And may Jesus, who paid it all, receive all the glory!