Luke 6:1-11 Lord of the Sabbath

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Lord of the Sabbath

N.T. Wright puts it well when he writes:

A relative of mine likes to tell of an occasion when he flew with some business friends, to Ireland to watch a rugby match.  When they got off the plane , there were no customs officers waiting to receive them.  So two or three of them went into the official booths, put on the caps they found there and inspected the passports of the other people who were arriving.  they had no official authority, but it seemed to work.  I have often wondered hearing that story, what happened when the real customs officers arrived;  but at that point of the story, as so often, remains silent.

That must have been how Jesus appeared to many onlookers.  He held no public office.  He wasn’t a priest (priests had the job of teaching people the law).  He wasn’t part of any well-known pressure group, such as the Pharisees, who had their own opinions on how the law should be kept, which they tried to insist for society as a whole.  He hadn’t had any formal training as a teacher.

And yet there he was, so to speak, in the airport arrivals zone telling people what to do, giving some people permissionto do things they were not normally supposed to. Who did he think he was?  That is, in fact, the main question Luke wants us to ask.  Luke is not so interested in asking, ‘Do we or don’t we keep the Sabbath?’ but rather, ‘Who did Jesus think he was?’


I have some idea of who I think you are, but it is not nearly grand enough.


  1. What did Jesus’ actions show?
  2. How did the Jewish leaders respond?
  3. How did the common people respond?
  4. Does Jesus boss you?
  5. Who is the boss of you in your daily living?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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