Jesus allowed His disciples to pluck corn on the Sabbath, doesn’t that prove He did not keep the OT laws?

The incident of plucking the corn is found in Mark 2:23-28, “And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.  And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?  And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”

Here, the Pharisees charged Jesus with breaking the Sabbath when His disciples plucked corn. But what the disciples did was not in violation of the law because according to the OT books, the law specifically provided that a hungry person could eat of the fruit or grain of a field as he passed through it (Deuteronomy 23:24, 25). Christ’s approval of what His disciples did here, and His own acts of healing upon the Sabbath day, are often misunderstood by people today as evidence that He neither observed personally nor taught His disciples to observe the OT laws and regulations in regard to Sabbath observance.

But in reality, Jesus kept the law of Moses and the Ten Commandments in every way and taught His followers to do the same. He confirmed the binding nature of the moral law: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18; John 15:10; etc.), and recognized also the validity of the ritual law of Moses as applicable to Jews at that time (Matthew 23:3).

During His ministry, Jesus was in conflict with the Jewish leaders over the validity of man-made laws and traditions (Mark 7:2, 3, 8). Many at Jesus’ time regarded that traditions of men even more important than the laws of Moses and the Ten Commandments. The Pharisees legalistically taught that salvation was to be obtained through the strict observance of all these rules. A pious Jew’s life tended to become one endless effort to avoid ceremonial uncleanness. This system of righteousness by works was in complete opposition with righteousness by faith.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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