Hard Questions About the Bible

Christians often put a lot of emphasis on following God’s commandments and laws, but it might be surprising to learn that at times, Jesus himself ‘broke the rules’.

Exodus 20:8-10 says ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God’.

In Mark 2:23-27 Jesus was with his disciples on the Sabbath day when the disciples were hungry and picked some heads of grain to eat.  This was technically ‘work’, and the Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath, hoping to trap him.

Jesus referred to the story of when David and his men broke the Jewish law by eating consecrated bread from the Temple.  He concluded that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man (Jesus) is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

In Matthew 12:9-13 Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath.  Again, the Pharisees accused Jesus, and he pointed out that they would rescue a sheep on the Sabbath, but a person is more valuable, so it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

Was Jesus breaking the commandment about keeping the Sabbath?  The Bible says that Jesus was God in human form, so was he in essence breaking his own laws?  Actually, no.

Jesus was trying to make a point that the Pharisees’ hearts had turned cold, and they were legalistically following the laws, but they did not understand the principles behind the laws.  The principle behind the Sabbath commandment is to provide rest and to keep a holy day.  The Jews of the day had resorted to putting more emphasis on following the laws, rather than understanding God’s heart.

There are a lot of dos and don’ts in the Bible, but if you want to gain a better understanding of the Bible, you have to try to understand God’s intentions, and the principles behind the dos and don’ts.

Next: Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

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