Appointment With God
Matthew 12:1–13; Mark 2:23–3:5; Luke 6:1–10; The Desire of Ages, pp. 281–289
The Sabbath is a day to learn more about God’s love.
“ ‘For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath’ ” (Matthew 12:8, NIV).
Lisa came home from school on Friday. There was that wonderful smell again! Mom was baking bread for Sabbath. Lisa washed her hands and helped her mother finish the Sabbath dinner. Lisa loved Sabbath. This week after church they were going to have lunch near a duck pond and then take a walk in the woods. Lisa couldn’t wait!
In today’s story, Jesus and His disciples were taking a Sabbath walk too. Let’s join them.
Jesus loved the Sabbath! He loved to spend time with His friends and talk with them about the love of God. He loved to help people who were sick or sad feel better.
One Sabbath Jesus and His disciples passed through a field of grain. Jesus and the disciples were hungry! In those days people had permission to eat food from another person’s farm. If people were hungry and had no food with them, they could eat a few grapes in a vineyard. Or they could pick some wheat stalks and eat the little kernels of grain.
So as Jesus’ disciples walked through the field, they picked some stalks. They rubbed the heads of grain back and forth, back and forth, in their hands. When just the little kernels were left, they tossed the kernels into their mouths. The crunchy grain tasted good!
But not everyone was happy. Pharisees nearby decided that the disciples were doing something wrong. They said to Jesus, “When Your disciples picked the wheat and rubbed it in their hands to get the kernels out, that was like a farmer working. So they are breaking the Sabbath!”
The Pharisees had taken God’s beautiful Sabbath commandment, and had made it into their own rule. They made up lots of extra rules that made Sabbath a heavy burden. God wanted Sabbath to be a special day for people to enjoy. He wanted them to learn about His love. But because of these extra rules, many people did not enjoy Sabbath.
Jesus loved these Pharisees. He wanted them to know the joy of Sabbath too. Jesus asked them some questions to make them think. “Do you remember David?” He asked. “One time he and his men were very hungry. So they ate the special temple bread that was really just for the priests.”
The Pharisees knew about that. “If that was OK, then eating grain on Sabbath is OK too,” Jesus continued. “People should not suffer on Sabbath. The Sabbath is for people. I know, for I am Lord of the Sabbath.”
On another Sabbath while Jesus was in the synagogue, He saw a man whose hand was crippled. Jesus asked the people, “What do you think? Is it right to do good on the Sabbath?” Some of the people didn’t think the man should be made well, because it was Sabbath!
Jesus asked them another question to make them think. “If one of your sheep fell into a hole, wouldn’t you pull it out? A person is so much more valuable than an animal! Therefore, it is right to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then Jesus said to the crippled man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man’s hand was completely healed!
Jesus wants us to know that Sabbath is a day for joy and for healing. Sometimes children think that Sabbath is a “do not” day. (“Do not do this, do not do that.”) Actually, Sabbath is a do day. On Sabbath we have more time to do something special, to do fun things that teach us about God’s love. God created the Sabbath so together we can spend time with Him and learn more and more about His wonderful love.