Jesus and his disciples were walking through a cornfield on the Sabbath, and the disciples were hungry. Breaking off some of the heads of corn, they began to eat them. But some Pharisees saw them doing it.

“Look!” they said to Jesus, “your disciples are breaking the law by working on the Sabbath.”

“Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?” asked Jesus. “He went into the house of God, and then he and his companions ate the consecrated bread that legally only the priests are permitted to eat. And haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on duty in the temple are allowed to work on the Sabbath? Yet there’s something here which is even greater than the temple. Listen, if you knew the meaning of these words: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you wouldn’t condemn the innocent. For the Son of Man is actually the Lord of the Sabbath!”

Then Jesus went into the local synagogue, where there was a man with a shrivelled hand. Looking for an opportunity to bring charges against Jesus, the Pharisees asked, “Does the law permit a person to heal on the Sabbath?”

“If you had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath,” said Jesus, “wouldn’t you pull it out? Well, how much more valuable is a person than a sheep? So the answer is, yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”

Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

So he stretched it out, and it was restored, just like the other one.

Then the Pharisees went out and called a meeting to plot how they could kill Jesus.

Knowing this, Jesus left that region. Many people followed him and he healed all who were ill, warning them not to publicize what he was doing. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah about him, which said: “Here is my servant, whom I have chosen. He is the one I love and in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out. No one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. And in his name will the nations hope.”


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