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. Why do they on the Sabbath what is not lawful? The Pharisees do not blame the disciples of Christ for plucking ears of corn from a field that was not their own, but for violating the Sabbath; as if there had been a precept to this effect, that famishing men ought rather to die than to satisfy their hunger. Now the only reason for keeping the Sabbath was, that the people, by sanctifying themselves to God, might be employed in true and spiritual worship; and next, that, being free from all worldly occupations, they might be more at liberty to attend the holy assemblies. The lawful observation of it, therefore, must have a reference to this object; for the Law ought to be interpreted according to the design of the Legislator. But this shows clearly the malicious and implacable nature of superstition, and particularly the proud and cruel dispositions of hypocrites, when ambition is joined to hatred of the person. It was not the mere affectation of pretended holiness, as I have said, that made the Pharisees so stern and rigorous; but as they expressly wished to carp at every thing that Christ said or did, they could not do otherwise than put a wrong meaning in cases where there was nothing to blame, as usually happens with prejudiced interpreters. The accusation was brought—according to Matthew and Mark—against our Lord, and—according to Luke—against his disciples. But there is no inconsistency here; for the disciples were in all probability so harassed, that the charge was directed chiefly against the Master himself. It is even possible that the Pharisees first wrangled with the disciples, and afterwards with Christ, and that, in the rage of their malice, they blamed him for remaining silent, and permitting his disciples to break the Sabbath.
. The Sabbath was made for man. This Fifth argument is related by Mark alone. The general meaning is, that those persons judge amiss who turn to man’s destruction, (83) the Sabbath which God appointed for his benefit. The Pharisees saw the disciples of Christ employed in a holy work; they saw them worn out with the fatigue of the journey, and partly with want of food; and yet are offended that, when they are hungry, they take a few grains of corn for the support of their wearied bodies. Is not this a foolish attempt to overturn the purpose of God, when they demand to the injury of men that observation of the Sabbath which he intended to be advantageous? But they are mistaken, I think, who suppose that in this passage the Sabbath is entirely abolished; for Christ simply informs us what is the proper use of it. Though he asserted, a little before, that he is Lord of the Sabbath, yet the full time for its abolition (84) was not yet come, because the veil of the temple was not yet rent, (Matthew 27:51.)
(83) “ Lesquels convertissent au dommage et a la ruine de l’homme;”— “who turn to the injury and to the ruin of man.”
(84) “ La vraye saison et le temps opportun de l’abolissement d’iceluy;”— “the true season and appropriate time for the abolition of it.”
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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany