David and his men were hungry and on the run from King Saul when they arrived in Nob and ran into Ahimelech the Priest. David asked Ahimelech for some bread, but Ahimelech said he had no common bread, the only bread he had was the showbread. The showbread was the sanctified stuff. It was the bread set aside in the Temple for the priest. For anyone to eat it, other than the priests, was strictly forbidden in the law that God gave to Moses. Yet, Ahimelech set the law aside this one time, and gave David and his men the showbread to eat. Remember that story. We will get back to it in just a bit.
John wrote in John chapter nine “They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. There are multiple stories in the Gospels of Jesus healing on a Sabbath. The first such story was in Mark chapter one when Jesus went into the temple to teach on the Sabbath, and after teaching He cast out the unclean spirit. Surprisingly, there was no uprising; there was no out roar from those in attendance that day. In fact, the Mark wrote, they were all amazed and questioned themselves. Then Mark wrote, immediately His fame began to spread. It wasn’t until later when Jesus started to proclaim Himself as the Messiah that the Jews started railing against Him about Him healing on the Sabbath.
Now let’s go to Mathew chapter twelve, on this occasion Jesus and his disciples plucked some corn on the Sabbath and the Jews began to question Jesus and claimed his disciples broke the law. So Jesus responded, “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. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Jesus reminded the Jews about David eating the showbread and breaking the Law of Moses. The Jews held King David in high esteem, and were not about to condemn David for His actions. Then Jesus reminded the Jews of the Priest in the Temple and performing their duties on the Sabbath! The Jews made so many man- made laws they could no longer even perform their duties in the temple that God commanded without breaking their own laws. Their man-made laws were out of control. Oh the church is not much different today; we have our own silly rules that make us think we are more holy than we really are. So let’s not look down our nose thinking we are any better than they.
Then Jesus said, that in this place there is One greater than the temple. The Jews esteemed King David but the temple even more, so Jesus told the Jews that He was greater than the temple. If David could eat the Showbread, and the Priests do their duty on the Sabbath in the temple, then Jesus could pluck the corn and heal on the Sabbath for the Son of Man is even Lord of the Sabbath. He made the Sabbath, so He could do as He pleased on the Sabbath. Verse 16, therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day. Others said how can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?
The deeper issue for the Jews was that they didn’t like Jesus healing on the Sabbath because it pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and they didn’t want any part of that! Paul wrote in First Corinthian the Jews required a sign, meaning they wanted the message of the Messiah to be backed up with physical wonders. So Jesus did exactly that by healing the blind man and the multitude of other healings that He performed while upon this earth. Yet the Jews did their best to deny the works of Christ and declared Him a sinner and not of God. Even after Jesus rose from the grave many still denied Him. They were in a spirit of slumber for, seeing, yet they could not see, hearing yet they could not hear, and their minds not able to understand the truth of Jesus Christ.