Luke 6:1-5

See also Matt 12:1-8 & Mark 2:23-28


What is right and what is wrong

to do on the Sabbath?


Verse 1. And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing [them] in [their] hands.

The second Sabbath.  This probably refers to the second Sabbath after the Passover, which was numbered seven Sabbaths to the Pentecost.  The time frame would fit into this, anyway.

Corn is actually wheat, barley, or rye.  It is not maize that we call corn.  Corn was discovered when men came to America and the Indians taught them how to raise it.  The method of thrashing the wheat by rubbing the hands together will work.


Verse 2  And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?



Verse 3  And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;



Verse 4  How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?



Verse 5  And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.


The law says there shall be no work on the Sabbath.

1.   Exodus 20:8-11 - One of the ten commandments was to keep the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord.

2.   Isaiah 58:13-14 - God will bless Israel is they faithfully observe the Sabbath as a day of delight unto Him.  The key here is in verse 13 where God wants Israel to do His will and to delight in Him on this day, not following their own desires, and delighting in their own ways.

3.   Exodus 34:21 - Israel was commanded not to work on the Sabbath, even during times of necessity such as earing (plowing) and harvest.  Even farmers should trust the Lord to provide necessary weather for their crops.  Every worker should refrain from working on the day of worship, devoting themselves to God and trusting that He will supply their every need.

4.   Numbers 15:30-36 - The man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath and was subsequently killed for it, surely thought it was necessary to gather sticks on that day.  What is the difference between what this man was doing on the Sabbath and what Christ and his disciples did on the Sabbath?

The key to understanding this passage is in verse 30.  Presumptuous sin reaps the penalty of death.  It is not necessarily the act that causes sin, but the motive behind that act.  Just as it is not necessarily the act that causes obedience, but the motive behind that act.  The motive of the man who was gathering sticks on the Sabbath was evidently against the clear cut commandments of God.  It was not just the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath that caused the man to lose his life, it was the clear rebellion against the commandment of God.

Neh. 10:31 - Israel made a covenant with God and a small part of that covenant was that they wouldn't allow any buying or selling on the Sabbath, because that was the reason they had to go into Babylon captivity.  The Pharisees of Christs' day understood the desecration of the Sabbath caused the Babylon captivity, and determined that in keeping the Sabbath, Israel would be assured of God's blessings.  They forgot, however, that God desires worship of the heart, not just of the flesh.

Neh. 13:15-22 - Nehemiah rebuked those that were working on the Sabbath, and buying and selling.  He forced them to keep the commandment, however, they continued to break the commandment in their heart because they only kept the Sabbath to keep Nehemiah off their backs.

II Chron. 36:21 - (Read verses 11-21) - Israel went into Babylon captivity because they had failed to property observe the Sabbath's of the Lord.  Cyrus let Israel return to the promised land after the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths.


Lev. 24:9 - The shewbread was to be eaten only by Aaron and his sons.

I Sam. 21:1-6 - It might be that some would argue that God had Ahimelech and the other Levi's killed because they allowed David to eat that which was sacred (See I Samuel 22:11-19).  Ahimelech wasn't killed because of David's "sin", but because of the sin of Eli in not restraining his sons from wickedness, I Samuel 3:11-14.  God said He would remove the descendants of Eli from priestly office, Ahimelech was in that line and God did what He said He would do.


It can be plainly seen in these passages that the method of keeping the Sabbath was wrong.