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Daily Devotional

August 8

THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN, AND NOT MAN FOR THE SABBATH

by Henry T. Vriesen

Matthew 12; Mark 2:3; Luke 6

In the days of Jesus, men, especially the Pharisees, were very strict about keeping the sabbath. They had many rules pertaining to this day and it was almost impossible to observe them all. The Pharisees watched Jesus and his disciples carefully, to see whether he would break any of their rules. At one time on a sabbath Jesus and his disciples went through a field of grain. The disciples were hungry and began to pluck off some of the ears of the grain. They undoubtedly rubbed them in their hands to separate the chaff, and then ate the kernels. The law of God permitted them to do this. (Deut. 23:25). It was a meager meal, and no one should have envied them. But some of the Pharisees took offense, and said unto Jesus, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did when he was an hungered, and they that were with him? how he entered into the house of God, in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profaned the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: ye would not have condemned the guiltless. The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore, the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”

Jesus came into a synagogue and taught; and behold, there was a man which had a withered hand. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day. They asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.” But Jesus, the Searcher of hearts, knew their thoughts. He said unto them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath day, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill … What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then he said to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like the other.”

“Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; and charged them that they should not make him known.”

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