Lord or Lawbreaker?


President Theodore Roosevelt said that no man is above the law. Yet, every day we hear of an athlete, politician, or celebrity who acts as if the laws were not meant for him or her. In the following passage, Jesus’ responses to the Pharisees may have sounded like that as well… or did they? 

  • In what situations is it okay to suspend or break the law?


6:1 On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grain fields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. On two occasions, the Pharisees accused Jesus of unlawfully working on the Sabbath.  What exactly was he doing (vss. 1, 10)?
  2. What were the Pharisees’ true motives in questioning Jesus?
  3. How did Jesus explain his actions to the Pharisees in each instance (vss. 5, 9, 10)? 
  4. How did these responses of Jesus establish his authority in regard to the law?
  5. In what situations are you more concerned with having something done according to your way or tradition than allowing Jesus’ love to be demonstrated?


The Pharisees prided themselves in following the letter of the law, but they took the law beyond its original intent in order to trap Jesus. Jesus then turned the tables and challenged the Pharisees on their inability to see the spirit of the law to do good. No, Jesus didn’t break the law… he was Lord over it, confirming this authority through healing. The bottom line is that the Pharisees failed to see him as Lord. But more importantly, how do you view Jesus? Do you see him as Lord of the Sabbath, as Lord over all, and as Lord of your life? 

  • Ask God to show you where you need to demonstrate more of the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.