Matthew 12:7-8 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 of the Sabbath."
1. Sabbath –: the word means rest, cessation of labour. The seventh day of every week is celebrated as Sabbath (Saturday). It was the day Israel celebrated by resting and doing absolutely no work. It was based upon the seventh day when God rested following His six days of creation (Gen 2: 2-3). There was no Sabbath from creation until Moses. It was instituted under the leadership of Moses and thus it became a part of Israel’s law.
2. The hungry traveler was entitled to do just what the disciples were doing, as long as only the hands were used to pluck the ears of corn, and not a sickle. Therefore it cannot be called as stealing. The Scribes and Pharisees accused the disciples not because they ate the grains but ate it on a Sabbath day.
3. On a Sabbath day a person is forbidden to work. Under this category there are 39 basic actions which were not allowed on Sabbath. This includes reaping, winnowing, threshing and preparing a meal.
4. By plucking the corn they were guilty of reaping, by rubbing it in their hands they were guilty of threshing; by separating the grain and the chaff they were guilty of preparing a meal on the Sabbath day.
5. Human needs take precedence over religious tradition and ritual. David broke the law not to indulge a lust but to meet a genuine need. Human need and compassion should be given preference over religious ceremonies.
It is not uncommon to see some people who dump huge amount of money as sacrifice offered to God, but will be very reluctant to even give some coins to the poor beggars. It is possible for us to love God and fail to love our neighbours and the vice versa. True devotion should be manifested in our love for God coupled with our compassion to the needy.
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible