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What did Jesus say about Keeping the Sabbath Holy

What did Jesus say about keeping the Sabbath

Jesus’ teachings about the Sabbath can be understood through His actions and words recorded in the Gospels. He emphasized the spirit of the Sabbath more than a strict adherence to rules, teaching that it is a day for doing good and for spiritual renewal. Here are some relevant Bible verses, presented in bold, along with three main takeaways:

  1. Matthew 12:1-12: “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.’ He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 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. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.'”
  2. Mark 2:27-28: “And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.'”
  3. Luke 13:10-17: “Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your disability.’ And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, ‘There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’ Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’ As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”

Three Main Takeaways:

  1. The Sabbath is Made for Man: Jesus teaches that the Sabbath should not be about strict adherence to rules that prevent people from meeting human needs. It’s a day meant for rest, rejuvenation, and doing good, reflecting God’s intention for wellbeing and mercy over ritualistic sacrifices.
  2. Lord of the Sabbath: By declaring Himself as the “Lord of the Sabbath,” Jesus asserts His authority to interpret and fulfill the true meaning of the Sabbath. This points to the understanding that the Sabbath is not just about rest but about restoration and healing, both physically and spiritually.
  3. Mercy Over Ritual: Through His actions, Jesus emphasizes that mercy and compassion are more important than strict observance of laws. Helping those in need and doing good deeds align with the spirit of the Sabbath and reflect God’s desires for His people.


  • Greg Gaines

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