Please keep in mind #4 (or #3 depending on the version) of the 10 commandments:

Exodus 20:8-11

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. and

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

"Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

As we know from John 5:8-11 NIV

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

Per the Pharisees via Matthew 12:10 NIV

and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"

The following list is from this site:

Jesus gave at least eleven different reasons for apparently breaking the Sabbath

  1. Pulling an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath was permitted.
  2. Circumcision is permitted on the Sabbath.
  3. It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
  4. The precedent of David and his men eating the shewbread.
  5. Priests work on the Sabbath and are blameless.
  6. The ministry of the Messiah is greater than the ministry of the Temple.
  7. God desires mercy from His people and not sacrifice.
  8. The son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.
  9. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
  10. It is lawful to lead animals to water on the Sabbath.
  11. The Father works on the Sabbath.

Do we say that Jesus did not commit any sin based on the New Testament? Or do we say that he did not commit any sin based on Mosiac Law?

Just imagine if I commit a sin and someone says,

"Hey, you broke the law!"

and I say,

"I am [some blasphemous saying that I won't even type for example], I make a new law with my authority."

I can completely understand the Jewish concerns.

  • 1
    There was no New Testament until Jesus' death, so any determination of sin while Jesus lived had to be according to the Law of Moses since Jesus was "made under the Law" (Gal. 4:4).
    – user900
    Dec 11 '13 at 17:59
  • It would be helpful if you were specific about which Mosaic Law you think that he may have violated (with reference). Dec 11 '13 at 18:01
  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 I understand that. What I am asking is, "if Jesus broke the law when he healed on the Sabbath, is that considered a sin? If it is not, is it because he was bringing the new law?" Dec 11 '13 at 18:05
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    The reason I say that is because the Pharisees may very easily have been referring to Pharisaic Law rather than Mosaic Law, which was more restrictive. For Jesus to say, yes, I may be violating your Pharisaic interpretation of the Law, but I wrote the Law and know exactly what I meant by it, that's quite a different thing from him saying, It's OK for me to break my own law. So, if you are proposing that Jesus broke a Mosaic Law, it would be helpful to know which Law and to see the exact text of that Law that you think he broke. Dec 11 '13 at 18:29
  • @StevenDoggart I added references after your suggestion to Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15. I can appreciate the confusion by the Jewish leaders at the time. "These are our laws and have been since the time of Moses. You are not the first person to claim to be the Messiah and you are breaking the Mosaic Law." Dec 18 '13 at 14:04

Part of the confusion as modern readers is that we miss what the Pharisees meant when they referenced "the Law." For the Pharisees, "the Law" had two parts. There was the "Written Law" (תורה שבכתב), and there was the "Oral Law" (תורה שבעל פה), which they claimed was also given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. You can read more about this in the Mishnah.

The Old Testament certainly does not prohibit anything that Jesus did; His whole life was lived in fulfillment of the (OT) Law. However, the oral tradition that the Pharisees also considered part of the Law did forbid many things that Jesus and His disciples did.

Regarding the Sabbath, the Mishnah contains a list of 39 classes of work that were not permitted on the Sabbath, per the "Oral Law." Many of these prohibitions were quite nit-picky. (For example, they could only walk a certain distance on the Sabbath.)

Jesus, for His part, showed very little concern (or respect) for the so-called "Oral Law," and constantly refuted it using the Old Testament. This was, of course, outrageous to the Pharisees, and this led to many conflicts between them.

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    @Freemasonthesatirist The main part of that is "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy". It was a day of rest on which a person's normal labor should cease. However, rabbis certainly performed their duties on the Sabbath, as did Jesus.
    – Narnian
    Dec 11 '13 at 21:32
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    The Pharisees did not have the Mishnah. Nobody, absolutely nobody, can say with total certainty what laws they followed. Dec 12 '13 at 13:17
  • 1
    The Mishnah was compiled between 70 CE and 200 CE. The dating of some of it, though plausible, to before Jesu3s is based on belief not fact. Dec 12 '13 at 13:31
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    @gideonmarx That's a bit like saying that we can never know what people in the OT believed because our oldest manuscripts of the TaNaKh are from 600 AD. The Mishnah teaches about the Oral Law, which Jesus frequently refuted according to the New Testament... the NT whose extant manuscripts were written centuries after Jesus' death, btw.
    – Jas 3.1
    Dec 12 '13 at 23:18
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    @gideonmarx: He didn't say the Mishnah was then extant in writing. He said the oral Law was, emphasis on "oral." The codification of the oral Law is known as the Mishnah. But, at the time of Jesus, there was certainly an oral Law and a written Law. The very fact that Jesus argues with the Pharisees about netilat yadayim, something that is in the Mishnah today, proves that this tradition was passed down orally at that time. Why the downvote? It doesn't make sense.
    – user900
    Dec 12 '13 at 23:20

Christianity holds that Jesus Christ was wholly without sin at every moment of his life. This is amply demonstrated in the Bible (e.g. Hebrews 4.15) and in the Christian tradition. Therefore, Christianity would say that Jesus did not sin when he healed on the Sabbath, for instance.

So we can say that anything he did which appeared to be sinful was not actually a sin.

Now, we can also say that Jesus did not remove the Mosaic law:

‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5.17f., NRSV)

So we can further say that anything that Jesus did that appeared to be sinful according to the Mosaic law was not actually a sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this well:

The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day. He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." (§2173)

So no, Jesus did not break the law. He knew and practised its true meaning, whereas the Pharisees perverted its true meaning by a slavish adherence to the letter of the law.

  • 3
    @downvoter Silent downvotes are quite rude. Dec 11 '13 at 19:11
  • 1
    Actually, I see nothing wrong with your statement. At first glance, your comment that "Jesus did not remove the Mosaic law" seems contradictory to orthodox teaching, but it's not. Jesus himself didn't remove (or abolish, loose) the law. He fulfilled it, keeping it perfectly, and even expecting those who followed him to live by a higher discipline led by the Holy Spirit. It wasn't until after his death that the Law was nailed to the cross (cp. Eph. 2:15), because it was by his death that the New Covenant (and thus the new law, the Law of Christ) was inaugurated.
    – user900
    Dec 11 '13 at 20:06
  • I didn't downvote. But in summary of what you said, Jesus could not break the law since he was the law. Therefore if he broke the law (clearly this is the case for healing on the Sabbath) then he didn't really break the law because he's God who brought a new set of laws. Dec 11 '13 at 21:23
  • @Freemasonthesatirist First, the question is about sin, not the Law per set. Second, what you say does not appear in my answer. I do not say "Jesus was the Law". I'm merely summarising Catholic teaching on the subject. Dec 11 '13 at 21:36

I will not justify an answer based on doctrine. ("Christianity holds that Jesus Christ was wholly without sin at every moment of his life." Did Jesus sin? No, that is not possible. Why? Because we believe it is impossible.) This reasoning is faulty.

Did Jesus commit any sin pertaining to the Sabbath?

Shockingly, I believe the answer is, maybe. It depends on who you choose to believe is qualified to interpret the Law, the Scribes and Pharisees, or Christ.

We know that Jesus held a view of sin different than that of the Pharisees. The sin of the Pharisees is that, in their pride and deceit, they added to the Law, and increased greatly the burden on the people to keep the Law.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Here is an example of a contested area. David sinned by eating the showbread. Where does Scripture say David sinned?

Ex.25:30 states that the bread of the Presence was to be placed on the alter, to remain in God's presence at all times, from Sabbath to Sabbath. Lev. 24:9 states it was to be eaten only by the Levites in the holy place (the temple).

Yet better authority supports me. Jesus himself tells us it was a 'sin':

"23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" 25 And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, WHICH IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR ANY BUT THE PRIESTS TO EAT, and also gave it to those who were with him?" 27 And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath." (Mark 2)

Jesus said two things here; there are two things that are greater than the law.

  • 1) The SPIRIT of the law. His disciples were not sinning by picking wheat on the Sabbath because that was not the spirit of the Sabbath; David did not sin as he ate the bread because the Spirit of the law was not violated.

  • 2) He, Jesus, was greater than the temple (the law) That is why He did not sin by healing on the Sabbath. When is a 'sin' not a sin? When it is in keeping with the Spirit, not the letter, of the law.

The Haggai 2 principle was not reversed for Jesus. It was replaced:

The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:9)

The glory of Jesus replaces the glory of the law, and in this way, God grants us peace from the burden of the law. His yoke is light. Even Jesus states that he did not come to abolish the law but to accomplish their purpose. To Jesus, the Spirit of the law (eat the bread, David/touch the leper, Jesus/heal the sick) was more important than the letter of the law (don't eat the bread, David/don't touch the leper, Jesus/don't heal the sick). The Spirit of the Law was the purpose of the Law. (In addition, He removed the letter of the law for us.)

Healing the sick on the Sabbath, walking farther than He should on the Sabbath, not performing ritual cleansing after the touch of the leper or the woman who was hemorrhaging, all are exactly like David eating the Bread of the Presence; it broke the law, but it was not a sin! (NB: it does not absolve David on the basis of his fitting some godly description.)

Whosoever believes that Christ's 'work' on the Sabbath was a sin would sacrifice the Spirit of the law for the letter of the law. That is one of the things that Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing.

That which was in keeping with the Greatest commandment (which contained the whole of the Law) was not a sin.

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    Nice answer and close to what I believe - only with references and example. Dec 11 '13 at 23:19
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    Very nice Susan Gerard. Hope to see more answers from you.
    – user900
    Dec 12 '13 at 0:00
  • Are you sure what you are talking about? And, above all, don't you know Jesus was, de facto, jobless and, therefore, not able to make this sin? Dec 12 '13 at 0:11
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    @ElberichSchneider - I do not understand the second of your questions. As to the first, isn't that a rhetorical statement? A madman believes he is sane. Of this I am quite sure: Jesus is a greater mystery than any other, and we must embrace the flexibility of living in that mystery. Part of that is to avoid pretending we know all the answers, and being comfortable there. Dec 12 '13 at 0:22
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    I mean, if Jesus performing miracles on the Sabbath was sin, then we might as well shut down the site, the churches, and Bible printers, because if he sinned, he wasn't the Messiah, and therefore Christianity is flawed and pointless. But, he is God and is allowed to do good on his day, the Sabbath. May 15 '18 at 19:01

I agree with @Jas3.1, The Pharisees/Leaders had their own laws to protect or guard the Jews from sinning. Which were regarded as an unofficial addition to the bible. In turn Jesus simply omitted them - or dare we say mocked them - to point out to obey the bible only.

It is easier to understand the Sabbath as:
Having a day 'OFF WORK'
Not having to punch-in at your job/work
Not being at your company/work
Not opening your shop for business
Or simply not producing wealth/money/income/greed

God worked for 6 days and rested on the 7th day. One should be PRODUCING Sunday thru Friday and having Saturday off. Might be a better idea to have Saturday Service instead. Of course, it's a denomination opinion.

thanks for reading

  • in a similar regard, Christians appended books to the Torah. I'm not being confrontational, I'm just pointing out the obvious confusion and contention for the Jews. Dec 18 '13 at 14:11
  • i know. when paul said 2 Timothy 3:16 he wasnt talking about the new testatment. lots of lame christians dont know how to use the torah. including myself i think Dec 18 '13 at 20:23

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