The Disciples Pluck Grain on the Sabbath
12 1 One Sabbath, Jesus was strolling with his disciples through a field of ripe grain. Hungry, the disciples were pulling off the heads of grain and munching on them. 2 Some Pharisees reported them to Jesus: "Your disciples are breaking the Sabbath rules!" 3 Jesus said, "Really? Didn't you ever read what David and his companions did when they were hungry, 4 how they entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat? 5 And didn't you ever read in God's Law that priests carrying out their Temple duties break Sabbath rules all the time and it's not held against them? 6 "There is far more at stake here than religion. 7 If you had any idea what this Scripture meant - 'I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual' - you wouldn't be nitpicking like this. 8 The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath; he's in charge."
The Man with a Withered Hand
9 When Jesus left the field, he entered their meeting place. 10 There was a man there with a crippled hand. They said to Jesus, "Is it legal to heal on the Sabbath?" They were baiting him. 11 He replied, "Is there a person here who, finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn't, even though it was a Sabbath, pull it out? 12 Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!" 13 Then he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out and it was healed.
14 The Pharisees walked out furious, sputtering about how they were going to ruin Jesus.
The Chosen Servant
15 Jesus, knowing they were out to get him, moved on. A lot of people followed him, and he healed them all 16 . He also cautioned them to keep it quiet, 17 following guidelines set down by Isaiah: 18 Look well at my handpicked servant; I love him so much, take such delight in him. I've placed my Spirit on him; he'll decree justice to the nations. 19 But he won't yell, won't raise his voice; there'll be no commotion in the streets. 20 He won't walk over anyone's feelings, won't push you into a corner. Before you know it, his justice will triumph; 21 the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers.
A Divided House Cannot Stand
22 Next a poor demon-afflicted wretch, both blind and deaf, was set down before him. Jesus healed him, gave him his sight and hearing. 23 The people who saw it were impressed - "This has to be the Son of David!"