Did Jesus break the Sabbath?
Some say Jesus broke the Sabbath so it was not one of the Ten Commandments but a ceremonial law (Mosaic Law) but the Sabbath was never practised because of sin and this was also before the cross where that law ended and so is irrelevant anyway. 1 John 3:4 says that sin is transgression of the law and if Jesus broke the Sabbath then he would have broken His own law and sinned and hence those making this statement obviously have no idea of the implications of their accusation. Be thankful that Jesus only broke the Pharisees rules as breaking the Sabbath is sin and was also made before sin existed. Jesus was there when the Ten Commandments were given, but that does not mean that He can murder or break any one of the Ten Commandments. As a sinner He could not have been our one and final perfect sacrifice and redeemer. Let’s look at the verses in contention just to clear up this fallacy anyway. The main passage is found in the book of John where Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, and so the Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. Note that John is quoting the words of the Pharisees in this passage and are not John’s personal opinion. We will see evidence of this soon. This is what Jesus said about the Pharisees in Matthew 5:20, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” These are those who also had Jesus crucified. Whose words do you think we should listen to? The words of Jesus or the words of the Pharisees?
John 5:5-18 “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. … 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath. … 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. 16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
The Pharisees also accused Jesus of blasphemy because He made Himself equal with the Father. Were the Pharisees correct? They were no more correct on this allegation than they were on their accusation of Jesus breaking the Sabbath. In the book of Matthew, we have another account of Jesus healing someone and the Pharisees once again accused Him of breaking the Sabbath. However, this time we have the words of Jesus to establish if doing good deeds or things of absolute necessity are lawful on the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:10-12 “And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.”
Why do the proponents quote the Pharisees but ignore the words of their own Lord and Saviour? Why would they put their faith in the Pharisees rather than Jesus Christ? Why do they quote John 5:5-18 but never mention Matthew 12:10-12 where Jesus says it was NOT unlawful to heal and do good on the Sabbath?
Jesus thankfully did not sin and so did not break any of the Ten Commandments as He clarifies in this passage when He says “that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath,” such as healing people or pulling an animal out of a hole.