Mark 2:27-28 - What Does the Sabbath was made for Man Mean?

The Sabbath was made for man from the beginning before God wrote this Commandment in stone. Yet some assume they can choose to not keep this Commandment because God made the Sabbath for man. The fact is that every single one of the Ten Commandments was made for man. Do these same people therefore assume they can also choose to obey or not obey any of the other Ten Commandments? I hope not.

Mark 2:27And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

These were words of correction that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees who were constantly challenging Him so that they might accuse him. Three times in Mark chapter 2 in fact we find the Pharisees tried to accuse Him. They accused Him of blasphemy in relation to healing the man with palsy, for eating with tax collectors and sinners, and for picking some ears of corn from the field on the Sabbath, which is our current issue.

Mark 2:27-28 Jesus is Lord of the SabbathJesus of course had done nothing wrong in any of these three instances. These accusations were from the Pharisees who Jesus said would not enter the kingdom, (Matthew 5:20) and He referred to them as hypocrites (Matthew 23:13) who kept manmade traditions in place of His Commandments. (Mark 7:6-9) In this particular case the Pharisees claimed that Jesus and His disciples picking ears of corn for needed nutrition was unlawful on the Sabbath.

The Pharisees had turned the day into manmade legalistic rules that were a burden and not a blessing as God had intended. Their manmade rules would have a person suffer on the Sabbath and our God of love would never have anyone perish or starve in keeping the Sabbath day. God intended this day is to be a blessing to man. (Isaiah 58:13-14)

When Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, He was saying that the Sabbath was made to be a blessing to mankind as were all of the Ten Commandments. Jesus is also clarifying that man was made first and then the Sabbath was made afterwards for his wellbeing. God did not make the Sabbath and then man to serve this day. The Sabbath was made to serve mankind and to be for his benefit as well as being a sign that we are God's children, and it is Him that sanctifies us when we keep His day holy as He commanded.

So we find in Mark 2:27 that Jesus is not saying that we can decide to keep or not keep a Commandment of God because the Sabbath was made for mankind, but Jesus was declaring that the Sabbath was made for the benefit of all mankind and not a day of legalistic rules that turn the day into a burden as the Pharisees had done.

Jesus was also very significantly pointing out the priorities when it came to Sabbath keeping. In Matthew 12:10-12 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “What man among you would not pull his sheep out of a hole on the Sabbath? And how much more important is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Thus we see that the priority and importance is the wellbeing of mankind.

The Pharisees had alleged that it was work to pick ears of corn on the Sabbath even for sustenance and so claimed it was not lawful. But Jesus clarified in Matthew 12:12 that when there is a life sustaining need, that it is lawful and not breaking the Sabbath. In the beginning of the very next chapter we find Jesus emphasizing this point to the Pharisees saying, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?Mark 3:4.

So we find that the priority is the life and wellbeing of mankind and not his suffering. This is exactly what the issue is all about in Mark 2:23-27, being mans requirement for life sustaining food in this case. Thus Jesus said to the Pharisees in Mark 2:25, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry.” David ate the show bread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests. Did you notice Jesus emphasized that “David was in need.” It was therefore lawful that David could eat the show bread rather than starve and thus the precedence was his well-being. And for this very reason Jesus just explained is why it was not unlawful for them to pluck ears of corn from the field on the Sabbath. So in verse 27, Jesus emphasizes to the Pharisees that the Sabbath was made for man, that is, to be a blessing to man.

Jesus explains in the final verse why He was able to specify to the Pharisees what is lawful and not lawful on the Sabbath day by His claim in Mark 2:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Note that Jesus did not say I am LORD Sabbath or I AM the Sabbath. Jesus said, “I am Lord OF the Sabbath!

Thus Jesus declared to the Pharisees that He had the authority to declare that picking corn for sustenance being a need was lawful, because He is Lord of the Sabbath Day meaning it is His day. Hence Jesus decides how the Commandment should be obeyed and not the Pharisees. The fourth Commandment states that the Seventh Day is “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Exodus 20:8-11) thus validating His claim to be Lord of the Sabbath Day and hence the Sabbath is also the Lord's Day. Read also was the Sabbath made for man and not man for the Sabbath for more on Mark 2:27-28.