The Gospel of Jesus Christ records that Jesus states He is Lord of the Sabbath:

For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:8 ESV)

So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. (Mark 2:28 ESV)

And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:5 ESV)

Thayer’s Lexicon states the meaning of κύριος is “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding; master, lord; used a. universally, of the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner (the Sept. for אָדון, בַּעַל)” Specifically about these 3 uses Thayer’s states: “possessed of the power to determine what is suitable to the sabbath, and of releasing himself and others from its obligations, Matthew 12:8;Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5” [kurios]

Moses told the people the Sabbath was to be an everlasting sign to the people that it is He, the LORD (YHVH) who sanctifies them:

And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. (Exodus 31:12-13 ESV)

It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31:17 ESV)

Given the significance of the Sabbath to the Jewish people after the destruction of the Temple and exile to Babylon, is a claim to be the Lord of the Sabbath, also a claim to be the LORD (YHVH) God of the Old Testament?


3 Answers 3


Jesus shows here His divine authority:

In fact, the keeping of Sabbath was a commandment for humans as slaves/servants of God, and even the law-giver Moses was such a slave/servant (Hebrews 3:5), to say nothing about the people he guided in the desert; and the significance of giving of Law and the commandment of Sabbath observance, was that the earthly and crude, materialistic and coarse minds of those servants not to be totally forgetful of God and at least one day per week they should by a compulsory not-working remember their Creator.

But when Jesus came from the Heavens, from the Father, the Logos incarnate, He as the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, as God born from God, enjoying fully the sovereignty of the Father* (*see footnote bellow), He Himself is not under Law, but the One who has given Law to Moses-the-lawgiver for that particular condition of Jewish nation, and thus Himself as the establisher of the Law is not a subject to it, but the Master of or over it. Thus, He authoritatively abolishes the Law (Luke 16:16) opening the gate of His and Father's Kingdom for humans, intimating thus, that this gate was shut during the Law-abiding period of Israel.

Moreover, He wants also us, humans to partake of His divine authority and freedom and make us also not slaves, but sons of God by adoption through Him, the natural and the Only-Begotten, i.e. the Uncreated Son, change our status in face of Creator, investing us, derivatively from Him and not naturally, with the divine qualities (cf. Romans 8:17). Thus, in Jesus Christ we can break all laws, as Augustine beautifully says: "diligere et quod vis fac" - "love [in Holy Spirit] and do whatsoever you wish". Thus, personal conscience immersed in Holy Spirit (Rom 1:9) is the sole guide of a free Christian, for where is the Spirit of Sonship, there is also this blessed freedom (2 Cor.3:17); and such a man has become in Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit that He asked Father to send to his followers, a son of God, and for such there is no Law (Gal 5:23). Will anybody blame a genius writer for not obeying a letter of grammar, if this disobedience was for conveying some intentional nuance of thought that made the writer's point much clearer, impressive and captivating? Of course not! - for the slave-grammarians later will include also this disobedience as a certain grammatical rule. Something similar is also here: the Holy and Vivifying Spirit does not regard the letter of Law, which kills (2 Cor. 3:6), thus a person worshiping God in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23) is free from all idolatrous rigidities, ("political correctness" can also, and does frequently turn into such an idol and and other modern day human-created idiocies). Jesus, thus separates His followers - the children of God - from yet slaves (Matthew 17:25-26), wishing of course that all humanity to become children of God and His co-heirs (1 Tim. 2:4).

Thus, to answer the question: of course, He affirms by this that He is the one who gave to Moses the Law, and as the One who established the Law, Himself is not under its authority, but rather He has authority over the Law, just as the Father does, for the entire authority and sovereignty of Father eternally and naturally (the two - i.e. eternally and naturally - being tautologous as a matter of fact) belongs to the Son also, who is the Lord and God (John 20:28).

(*the very term "Son" metaphorically implies that, for in earthly kingdoms king leaves the entirety of the kingdom to the son, not grudging anything for himself, so that the son's kingdom is the very same as the father's; but in supra-spacial and supra-temporal dimension the Fatherhood-Sonship is to be taken as the eternal birth of the Son from the Father and eternal giving on the part of the Father of everything He has, His entire being, to the Son, so that the Father and the Son have one being eternally, and the Son inherits the entirety of the Father's riches naturally and eternally, without any hiatus or intrusion of time as in earthly kingdoms).


It doesn't appear to be, because claiming to be YHVH God doesn't do much to further Yeshua's argument about why his disciples were not breaking the Sabbath. First we have to get rid of any notion that the disciples (notice Yeshua did not join them) were breaking the Sabbath...

"And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands." Luke 6:1

The disciples were picking grain from fields (which the law allows), and they rubbed them with their hands. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible says...

and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands: after they had plucked them they rubbed them in their hands to get clean off the husk or beard, that were on them, and then ate the grains. And as plucking of the ears of corn was forbidden on a sabbath day; see Gill on Matthew 12:2, so was rubbing them; though if they were rubbed before, the chaff might be blown off from them in the hand, and eat on the sabbath day: the rule is this (l);

"he that rubs ears of corn on the evening of the sabbath, (i.e. on the sixth day,) may blow them from hand to hand on the morrow, and eat''

But the disciples both plucked them, and rubbed them, and blew away the chaff from them on the sabbath day, and therefore were complained of by the Pharisees.

On Gill's commentary for Matthew 12:2, he says...

but what offended the Pharisees was, that it was done on a sabbath day, it being, as they interpret it, a servile work, and all one as reaping; though, in the law just mentioned, it is manifestly distinguished from it. Their rule is (h).

"he that reaps (on the sabbath day) ever so little, is guilty (of stoning), , and "plucking of ears of corn is a derivative of reaping";''

and is all one as its primitive, and punishable with the same kind of death, if done presumptuously: so Philo the Jew observes (i), that the rest of the sabbath not only reached to men, bond and free, and to beasts, but even to trees, and plants; and that ' , "it was not lawful to cut a plant, or branch, or so much as a leaf", on a sabbath day: and it may be what might make this offence of the disciples the more heinous was, that they plucked these ears, and ate them, and so broke their fast before morning prayer; for a man might not eat any thing on a sabbath day until morning prayers were ended in the synagogue, nor indeed on any other day; for they used not to eat bread till after they had offered the daily sacrifice, which was about the third hour of the day, or nine o'clock in the morning; nor did they eat till the fourth hour, or ten o'clock (k).

So no actual Law breaking occurred other than the oral tradition that it was unlawful to pick grain and rub it, because this was interpreted to be work. Rather than tell the Pharisees this, Yeshua chose to take it a step further. He brings up a time when David really did break the Law, and how the Jews brought no charge against him.

His argument is "Look what David did, and you have nothing to say about that. Yet whenever my disciples are hungry and eat what is Lawfully theirs, you immediately accuse them. If only you knew that God desires mercy and not sacrifice, you would have mercy on the hungry rather than accuse the blameless." Yeshua then says...

"...The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

Therefore the son of man is lord also of the sabbath." Mark 2:27-28

God made the Sabbath to give mankind rest, not so man would have to watch their every step out of fear that they're breaking it. God gave very specific rules for the Sabbath, but other than that, the son of man is lord and master of how they will spend the Sabbath, because it was made for the son of man. So no, he wasn't claiming to be YHVH God or to have absolute authority over the Sabbath, otherwise the Jews would have stoned him as Deuteronomy 13 commands them to do.

  • Lots of good stuff in this answer. +1
    – Ruminator
    Sep 24, 2017 at 20:12
  • The Jews did kill him for the same repeated charge of claiming to be God or equal with God.
    – Michael16
    Jul 7, 2021 at 18:13

I think the importance lies in the expression "The Son of man". This expression is ambiguous. It can be read as 'the son of man' meaning any son of any man. Or it can be read as "The Son; of man". That is, The Son - the everlasting Son of God - come of humanity. The humanity is the vehicle which conveys the gift of The Son of God. This one, of necessity, is Lord, also, of the sabbath day and all that it represents.

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Thus, all men - every single son of man - is also a lord of the sabbath.

So; no, I do not think it is necessarily a claim to be the LORD GOD.

  • Like your other answers, you have not addressed the question being asked, in particular "is a claim to be the Lord of the Sabbath, also a claim to be the LORD (YHVH) God of the Old Testament?". Please edit this answer to do so
    – enegue
    Sep 24, 2017 at 23:10

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