From Heaven With Love


A Sabbath Lesson

One Sabbath, as the Saviour and His disciples passed through a field of ripening grain, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day this would have excited no comment, for a person passing through a field, an orchard, or a vineyard, was at liberty to gather what he desired to eat. See Deuteronomy 23:24, 25. But to do this on the Sabbath was held to be an act of desecration. Gathering the grain was a kind of reaping, the rubbing of it in the hands a kind of threshing. HLv 187.1

The spies at once complained to Jesus, “Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day.” Mark 2:24. HLv 187.2

When accused of Sabbathbreaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, declaring He worked in harmony with the Father. Now that the disciples were attacked, He cited Old Testament examples of acts performed on the Sabbath by those who were in the service of God. HLv 187.3

In the Saviour's answer to His accusers there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings: “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” “And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” “Or have you not read in the law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.” “The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:3, 4, RSV; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:5, 6, 8, RSV. HLv 187.4

If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating the bread set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to pluck grain on the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than on other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful, but they were performing rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the Sabbath. HLv 188.1

The object of God's work in this world is the redemption of man. Therefore that which is necessary to do on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the “Lord of the Sabbath”—One above all questions and all law. This infinite judge acquitted the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they were accused of violating. HLv 188.2

Jesus declared that in their blindness His enemies had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. He said, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” Matthew 12:7. Their heartless rites could not supply the lack of that integrity and tender love which characterize the true worshiper of God. HLv 188.3