Matthew 12:1–13 (NKJV, also appearing in Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 6:1-11)

12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

But He said to 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 ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

When Jesus acted in the best interests of His disciples to feed them, the Pharisees questioned His disdain for the law prohibiting Him from doing just that on the Sabbath.  Jesus explained that David ate the shewbread with his men when they were hungry, and the priests profane the Sabbath by acting in a way that is not lawful, yet they are not guilty.  Jesus declares that He is greater than the temple, and the Lord of the Sabbath!

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.

matt 12-1211 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.

When Jesus was confronted by a man with a withered hand, the Pharisees asked if it was lawful for one to heal on the Sabbath.  Jesus again gave them practical examples like a sheep falling in the ditch on the Sabbath as an analogy for healing on the Sabbath.  Would you leave a sheep in the ditch on the Sabbath?  Of course not!  Then why would I refuse to heal a man on the Sabbath?  Then Jesus instructed the man to reach out his hand, and Jesus restored it as whole as the other.  

What is interesting here is that Jesus established as clearly as He could that whereas the Jews honored the Law to a fault as a form or ritual, He was Lord of the Law, even the reverence of the Sabbath.  Jesus sought to heal, bless, and provide for those who needed Him.  That was more important than ritual observance of the law.  This Lord of the Harvest is the Lord of all and the One Who would save the world.  

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