In this post, let us go through the Bible verses Christian use to argue that Jesus broke the Sabbath. Let us discover how so many people have distorted the Gospel to support their idea of keeping Sunday worship instead.
Christians today don’t keep the Sabbath anymore. One of the reasons they don’t is that they would quickly point out that Yahshua or Jesus Christ broke the Sabbath.
However, is this what the Bible really teaches? Did Jesus come to break His Father’s law? Did He actually throw away what God commanded and teach everyone to simply accept Him as their Savior and they will be saved?
In this chapter, let us take a look at the different stories and verses in the Bible that most Christians use to justify their willingness to break God’s Fourth Commandment.
The plucking of grain in the Sabbath
Among the most commonly used verses to show that Jesus broke the Sabbath are found in Matthew 12:1-2, Mark 2:23-28, and Luke 6:1-5.
Let’s go through each of them to get a better context.
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
23 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
1 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”
As you can read here, the disciples went through a grainfield, plucked the heads of the grain, and rubbed them in their hands.
They were then confronted by the Pharisees. They are the religious leaders in Yahshua’s time who hold a huge influence among the people.
Now, what was the accusation of the Pharisees? They accused the disciples of doing something unlawful on the Sabbath.
Remember, the Pharisees had a wrong understanding of how the Sabbath should be applied. If there’s any law that is being broken here, it is not the law of God but the law of men!
So, why did the disciples pluck the heads of grain? We learned that they are hungry. Obviously, they are simply gathering something to eat.
They are not harvesting grain!
In fact, the actions of the disciples could hardly be considered as work. They were simply walking through the field and picking a few grains to eat.
The actions of the disciples were perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God. They didn’t break the Fourth Commandment.
The problem was that the Pharisees, who held the strictest application of the Sabbath, considered the actions of the disciples as already harvesting, reaping, and threshing.
So, how did Yahshua respond to these accusations?
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless” (Matthew 12:3-5)?
The argument of Yahshua here is clear: God makes room for mercy.
David and his men were blameless to eat the showbread in the temple. The priests who labored during the Sabbath to conduct worship services were considered blameless.
Does this mean that we can break the Sabbath all we want? Of course not!
The spirit and intent of the law were still intact in both instances and examples given by the Messiah.
God, in some cases, is able to allow specific things to happen to accomplish a greater good and do His purpose.
Now, if God allows mercy, why can’t the Pharisees do the same? Why will they condemn people through their strict and illogical set of rules?
As a result of the wrong interpretation of the Pharisees, they have made man a slave of the Sabbath instead of the Sabbath being beneficial to them.
Yahshua here in effect was bringing back the Sabbath to its rightful place — a source of joy, peace, and refreshment to all those who keep the Sabbath.
Healing in the Sabbath
We can read a lot of biblical records where Jesus healed people on the Sabbath day. Some of these healings can be read in the following verses:
- Luke 4:31-37
- Matthew 12:9-14
- Luke 13:10-17
- Luke 14:1-6
- John 5:1-18
According to the Pharisees, healing on the Sabbath is against the law.
In one instance, they asked a question to test the Messiah:
“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:10)?
What was the response of Yahshua?
“What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:11-12).
The concluding statement of Yahshua is clear:
“It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
As long as you are doing good on the Sabbath and you do it within the boundaries of the law of God, you are not sinning!
Yahshua was perplexed at the great hypocrisy of the religious leaders when they would rather rescue a sheep than rescuing a human being!
The same argument Yahshua used when He healed a crippled woman in Luke 13:10-17.
The Pharisees told Him:
“There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day” (Luke 13:14).
The response of Jesus exposed further the hypocrisy of the Pharisees:
“Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath” (Luke 13:15-16).
For Jesus , the Sabbath is a day for liberation — a day of being loosed from our physical and spiritual bondage and slavery.
If the Pharisees allow the caring of animals on the Sabbath, why not allow for the caring of human beings, too?
The answer is simply because of their hypocrisy. Instead of being joyous for the healing of many people on the Sabbath, they got angrier and more determined to get rid of Yahshua.
God the Father and Jesus working on the Sabbath
During the time when Yahshua was doing one of His healings, He said something that anti-Sabbath people quickly used to support their argument.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:16-17).
Most people would argue that Yahshua was promoting work during the Sabbath since He and His Father has been working non-stop.
However, this was never the intended meaning of our Messiah.
In Genesis 2:2, when God rested on the seventh day, it didn’t mean that He stopped every single work that He performs.
If that happens, then this world would fall into chaos, sin will exceedingly multiply, and Satan would be more powerful every Sabbath.
What was meant is that God set an example for all of us by resting. God doesn’t need to rest. It is not something to benefit Himself, but He rested on the Seventh Day to institute the Sabbath command for our benefit.
When God rested, it doesn’t mean He stopped working. In the same manner, Jesus didn’t stop doing the work of God on the Sabbath, which is completely lawful for Him to do.
In our case, we can also work on the Sabbath lawfully but only do the work that doesn’t break the spiritual intent of the Sabbath command.
Circumcising in the Sabbath
Another important point that Yashua offered is in regards to the circumcision practice.
21 “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:21-24).
Yahshua was trying to explain to the religious leaders how absurd their man-made rules and prohibitions were when it comes to the Sabbath.
To their narrow and self-righteous mind, they believe that it is permissible to circumcise someone on the Sabbath. This process included cutting the foreskin of a male Jew.
For Jesus, why would the Pharisees be angry with Him if on the Sabbath He makes a person whole?
As you and I can see, the Pharisees consistently uphold their traditions higher than the laws of God.
The strict and legalistic observance of God’s commandment led them to actually break it!
Jesus upholding the law of God, including the Sabbath
A lot of times, we read the Bible to see what we only want to see. We can be guilty of this without even knowing it!
That’s why it is important to let the Bible speak for itself and not let our private interpretation ruin our understanding of the subject matter.
So, we want to know, did Yahshua really break the Sabbath or did away with it?
Let’s allow the Bible to give us the answer.
In Matthew 5:17, we read about the teachings of Yahshua in regards to God’s law, which includes the Sabbath command.
In verse 17, Jesus said:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
Well, that’s exactly what people think!
When the Messiah said, “Do not think,” most people do the opposite.
A lot of Christians, pastors, ministers, and priests would tell you that Yahshua came to destroy the Law and the Prophets.
They will tell you that the law of God has already been done away and so we are free to break them.
There’s no more law. All we need is love!
It is clear that Yahshua upholds His Father’s Law. Notice what He said, “I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
What do you mean by “fulfill?” Does this mean to end the law? That’s what most people will tell you. But if it is then, we have a problem because we are suggesting that Yahshua was saying:
“I did not come to destroy but to end it.”
Sounds crazy, right?
So, what exactly was Jesus saying here?
He was saying that He was going to fulfill the law by His life. He lives a perfect life and that perfect life is enough to meet the requirements of the law.
Not only that but fulfilling the law here means that He is going to show the spiritual intent of the law.
For Yahshua, it is not enough to simply fulfill the physical intent of the law, but to a greater extent, it should be followed in its spiritual intent.
That’s why, when you read the rest of Matthew 5, you’ll read how Yahshua expanded the application of God’s law.
For example, Yahshua explained that murder is not simply taking someone’s life, but also it means hating your brother or sister without a cause.
Another would be about adultery. Yahshua said that adultery starts with the heart and even just lusting for a woman is already considered adultery with the heart.
If in case people try to misunderstand Jesus, He further said in verse 18:
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
So, here is the question:
Is the heaven still here?
Is the earth still here?
If the answer is yes, then the law still applies!
Now, if in case people would still insist that the law and the Sabbath command are already abolished, Yahshua made a sobering statement:
19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
Here’s a warning to all of those who believe and teach that we are not to keep God’s commandments anymore!
Would you heed the warning? Or are you going to still stubbornly hold on to the tradition of men?
[For more details, please request your free copy of “The Shocking Biblical Truth About the New Covenant.”]
Following the examples of Jesus
As we have read, the Bible is clear:
Yahshua didn’t break the Sabbath.
Instead, He kept it according to God’s will and purpose.
He healed the sick and performed God’s work on the Sabbath — the type of work that doesn’t break the spiritual intent of the law.
He didn’t come to destroy God’s law.
He didn’t come to overturn God’s commandments.
He didn’t come to keep the law so we don’t have to.
Jesus didn’t break God’s commandment.
What He broke was the illogical, burdensome, and hypocritical rules of the religious leaders.
Jesus kept the Fourth Commandment, which is the Sabbath on the correct day.
So should you.
How to request your copy
To request a free copy of the book, “The Shocking Truth About the Sabbath Day,” please send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.