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Humble Hero

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    A Sabbath Lesson

    One Sabbath, as the Savior and His disciples passed through a field of ripening grain, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day, this would have drawn no comment, for a person passing through a field, an orchard, or a vineyard was free to gather what he wanted to eat. See Deuteronomy 23:24, 25. But many believed that to do this on the Sabbath would profane the holy day. Gathering the grain was a kind of reaping, and rubbing it in the hands a kind of threshing.HH 126.3

    The spies immediately complained to Jesus, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” Mark 2:24.HH 126.4

    When accused of Sabbath breaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, declaring that He worked in harmony with the Father. Now that the disciples were attacked, He mentioned Old Testament examples of things people did on the Sabbath when they were in the service of God.HH 126.5

    The Savior’s answer to His accusers contained an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings: “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, ... which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’” “Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.” “The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27; Matthew 12:5, 6, 8.HH 126.6

    If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating the bread set apart for a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to pluck grain on the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the temple had more work to do on the Sabbath than on other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful, but they were performing rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the Sabbath.HH 127.1

    The purpose of God’s work in this world is to redeem mankind. So whatever is necessary to do on the Sabbath to accomplish this work is in harmony with the Sabbath law. Jesus then finished His argument by declaring Himself the “Lord of the Sabbath”—One above all questions and all law. This infinite Judge acquitted the disciples of blame, appealing to the very laws they were accused of violating.HH 127.2

    Jesus declared that in their blindness, His enemies had mistaken the purpose of the Sabbath. He said, “If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” Matthew 12:7. Their heartless rites could not make up for the lack of the integrity and tender love that characterize the true worshiper of God.HH 127.3

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