Matthew 12:8
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) For the Son of man.—The words contain the ground for the authoritative judgment of the previous verse. They assert that this also came within the limits of His jurisdiction as the Messiah, just as the power to forgive sins had been claimed by Him under the same title. In both instances, however, the choice of the title is significant. What is done is done by Him as the representative of humanity, acting, as it were, in its name, and claiming for it as such what He thus seems at first to claim for Himself as a special and absolute prerogative.

12:1-8 Being in the corn-fields, the disciples began to pluck the ears of corn: the law of God allowed it, De 23:25. This was slender provision for Christ and his disciples; but they were content with it. The Pharisees did not quarrel with them for taking another man's corn, but for doing it on the sabbath day. Christ came to free his followers, not only from the corruptions of the Pharisees, but from their unscriptural rules, and justified what they did. The greatest shall not have their lusts indulged, but the meanest shall have their wants considered. Those labours are lawful on the sabbath day which are necessary, and sabbath rest is to froward, not to hinder sabbath worship. Needful provision for health and food is to be made; but when servants are kept at home, and families become a scene of hurry and confusion on the Lord's day, to furnish a feast for visitors, or for indulgence, the case is very different. Such things as these, and many others common among professors, are to be blamed. The resting on the sabbath was ordained for man's good, De 5:14. No law must be understood so as to contradict its own end. And as Christ is the Lord of the sabbath, it is fit the day and the work of it should be dedicated to him.For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day - To crown all, Christ says that he was Lord of the Sabbath. He had a right to direct the manner of its observance - undoubted proof that he is divine. 8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day—In what sense now is the Son of man Lord of the sabbath day? Not surely to abolish it—that surely were a strange lordship, especially just after saying that it was made or instituted for MAN—but to own it, to interpret it, to preside over it, and to ennoble it, by merging it in the "Lord's Day" (Re 1:10), breathing into it an air of liberty and love necessarily unknown before, and thus making it the nearest resemblance to the eternal sabbatism. This argument Luke hath, Luke 6:5. Mark hath it thus, Mark 2:27,28, And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. Some interpreters make these two arguments:

1. The Son of man is Lord of the sabbath; therefore it is in my power to dispense with this action of my disciples, though it had been contrary to the letter of the law: or rather, therefore it is in my power to interpret the law, which I myself made.

2. The sabbath is made for man, not man for the sabbath. A law made for the good of another bindeth not, in such cases where the observation of it would be evidently for his harm and ruin. The law of the sabbath was made for the good of man, that he might have a solemn time, in which he should be under an obligation to pay his homage unto God; this must not be so interpreted as would tend to the destruction of a man.

I find interpreters divided about that term the Son of man. Some think that it is not to be interpreted, as usually in the gospel, concerning Christ; but of ordinary men, and that man’s lordship over the sabbath is proved by the subserviency of it to his good, to which end also it was ordained. But certainly that is both a dangerous and unscriptural interpretation: dangerous to give man a lordship over a moral law, for it is very improper to call any lord of a thing, because he hath the use of it, and it is for his advantage: I cannot see but we may as well make man lord of the whole ten commandments as of one of them. Unscriptural, for though our Saviour useth this term more than threescore times in the gospel, yet he always useth it with relation to himself, never with reference to any mere man; neither is there any necessity to understand it otherwise here. Christ affirming himself Lord of the sabbath, spake properly enough to the Pharisees’ quarrel; for it must needs then follow, that he had power to dispense with the observation of it at particular times, and much more to give a true and right interpretation of the law concerning it. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. By "the Son of man" is meant, not any man, as some have thought; for no mere man is lord of any law, moral or ritual, natural or positive; or has a power of disposing of it, and dispensing with it at pleasure; but Christ himself; which is the constant sense of this phrase in the New Testament, and is a character of the Messiah in the old, Daniel 7:13 who, as he was the institutor of the sabbath among the Jews, that being a ritual, and of mere positive institution, could dispense with it, and even abrogate it at his pleasure. The Jews so far agree to this, that he that commanded the law of the sabbath, could dispense with it; they say (z), that

"the day on which Jericho was taken was the sabbath day; and that though they slew and burnt on the sabbath day, , "he that commanded the observation of the sabbath, commanded the profanation of it".''

And since Christ is greater than the temple, and has all the perfections of the divine nature in him, is equal to the Father in power and glory; and even as mediator, has all power in heaven and earth given him; so as he is Lord of all other things, he is of the sabbath, and has a power of dispensing with it, and even of abolishing it; see Colossians 2:16 and since the Lord of the sabbath had a power of dispensing with it, and made use of it in the cases of David and his men, and of the priests in the temple formerly; the Pharisees ought not to think it strange, that the Son of man, who is equally Lord of the sabbath, dispensed with it in his disciples now.

(z) R. David Kimchi in Josh. vi. 11.

For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 12:8. Γάρ] τοὺς ἀναιτίους, I say, for, and so on. “Majestate Christi nititur discipulorum innocentia et libertas,” Bengel. The authority of the Messiah (under which His disciples have acted) is superior to the law of the Sabbath; the latter is subject to His disposal, and must yield to His will. Bertholdt, Christol. p. 162 f. For the idea, comp. John 5:18; Holtzmann, p. 458. Others (Grotius, Kuinoel) interpret thus: Man may set aside the laws regarding the Sabbath, whenever it is for his advantage to do so. In opposition to the regular use of ὁ υἱὸς τ. ἀνθρ., the argument is different in Mark 1:27.Matthew 12:8. his weighty logion is best understood when taken along with that in Mark 2:27 = the Sabbath for man, not man for the Sabbath. The question is: Does it merely state a fact, or does it also contain the rationale of the fact? That depends on the sense we give to the title Song of Solomon of Man. As a technical name = Messiah, it simply asserts the authority of Him who bears it to determine how the Sabbath is to be observed in the Kingdom of God. As a name of humility, making no obtrusive exceptional claims, like Son of David or Messiah, it suggests a reason for the lordship in sympathy with the ethical principle embodied in the prophetic oracle. The title does not indeed mean mankind, or any man, homo quivis, as Grotius and Kuinoel think. It points to Jesus, but to Him not as an exceptional man (“der einzigartige,” Weiss), but as the representative man, maintaining solidarity with humanity, standing for the human interest, as the Pharisees stood for the supposed divine, the real divine interest being identical with the human. The radical antithesis between Jesus and the Pharisees lay in their respective ideas of God. It is interesting to find a glimpse of the true sense of this logion in Chrysostom: περὶ ἑαυτοῦ λέγων. Ὁ δὲ Μάρκος καὶ περὶ τῆς κοινῆς φύσεως αὐτὸν τοῦτο εἰρηκέναι φησίν. Hom. xxxix.—κύριος, not to the effect of abrogation but of interpretation and restoration to true use. The weekly rest is a beneficent institution, God’s holiday to weary men, and the Kingdom of Heaven, whose royal law is love, has no interest in its abolition.Matthew 12:8. Κύριος, Lord) The innocence and liberty of the disciples is guaranteed by the majesty of Christ, and the authority[554] of the Son of Man manifests itself in mercy.—σαββάτου, of the Sabbath) The Lord of the Temple, and of all things else, is undoubtedly the Lord of the Sabbath; nor has He merely that right which David had.[555]

[554] “Dominatio”—domination, lordship. There is a play on the words dominus (lord) and dominatio, which cannot be preserved in English. It might be expressed by sovereign and sovereignty.—(I. B.)

[555] Matthew 12:9. Καὶ) This was eight days after those things which have been just mentioned (V. g.), and eight days before the Passover. In this brief interval very many events happened of the greatest moment. The people were now getting ready for the feast. Hence a large (abundant) opportunity of doing good presented itself to the Saviour.—Harm., p. 309.Verse 8. - Parallel passages: Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5. For. With immediate refer-once to guiltless. The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day; is Lord of the sabbath (Revised Version); ere, being added in the Received Text from Mark and Luke. Christ clinches the argument, and at the same time explains his phrase in ver. 6. The temple is greater than the sabbath; I am greater than the temple; these my disciples are therefore guiltless; for, to put it briefly, I, whom they are following, am greater than the sabbath and rule over it. Observe, however, that Christ does not directly say "I," but the Son of man. The reason is seen in Mark, where a connecting link is given: "The sabbath was made for man. and not man for the sabbath: so that the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath." Christ there implies that the sabbath is inferior to man, not only because it exists for his sake (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:9),but also because it falls under the lordship referred to in Genesis 1:28; and therefore that he himself is really superior to it as man, and much more as the ideal Man (Matthew 8:20, note). Our saying is very condensed, but includes the name thought, omitting even as unnecessary, after having definitely pronounced the innocence of his disciples. (For the thought of the saying, cf. 2 Macc. 5:19, "God did not choose the people for the place's sake, but the place for the people's sake," and the Midrash 'Mechilta,' on Exodus 31:13, especially the words, "The sabbath is given to you, not yon to the sabbath." So also Talm. Bab., 'Yoma,' 85 b.)
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