Lord of the Sabbath

Christ and his Apostles, Tiffany stained glass, 1890.

The Lord of the Sabbath is an expression describing Jesus which appears in all three Synoptic Gospels, Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28 and Luke 6:1-5. These sections each relate an encounter between Jesus, his Apostles and the Pharisees, the first of the four "Sabbath controversies".[1]

According to the Gospel of Mark:

One Sabbath, Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." Then 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."[2]

Some versions of Luke's Gospel provide a specific date for the incident - the second Sabbath after the first (likely to mean the Sabbaths counted from the Feast of First Fruits in accordance with Leviticus 23).[3] Matthew's Gospel provides an additional example to justify working on the Sabbath:

[According] to the law, on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless [4]

and there are two statements regarding Jesus' view of his role: he is Lord [even] of the Sabbath and also he is 'one greater than the Temple'.[5]

There are different interpretations of the reference to the Son of man statement in Matthew 12:1-8 that "the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath". It may mean that Jesus is claiming to be the Lord or that his Apostles are entitled to do as they wish on the Sabbath.[6]


  1. Early narrative Christology by Christopher Kavin Rowe 1979 ISBN 0-8028-2249-5 page 105
  2. Biblegateway
  3. Luke 6:1
  4. Matt 12:5
  5. Matt 12:6
  6. The Gospel of Matthew by William Barclay 2001 ISBN 0-664-22492-X page 30

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jesus Christ plucking corn on the Sabbath.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 2/3/2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.