Read Luke 6:1-11.
Jesus usually encountered conflict with the religious leaders of His day because He prioritized meeting people’s needs over rituals such as the observance of the Sabbath. This is evident in Luke’s recount of two incidents.
In the first confrontation, Jesus and His disciples were walking through a field of grain following a path. Travelling a short distance was not the issue. The issue was, in the minds of the Pharisees that accompanied them, the disciples were picking heads of grain and rubbing them between their hands. That appeared to the Pharisees to be work, which would be unlawful to do on the Sabbath. When the complaint came to Jesus, He reminded the Pharisees of an incident from the Hebrew Scriptures that they should have remembered. David and his companions at the special bread from the altar which was reserved for the priests alone. Then Jesus told the people around Him that He was “Lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus was saying that He was God and the Messiah.
On another Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. The Pharisees, again, were watching Him and waiting for an opportunity to accuse Him. There was a man with a withered hand in the service that day. Jesus asked whether it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath. He healed the man, thus giving Him the possibility of a better quality of life. The observing Pharisees, instead of rejoicing with the man, went into a rage.
The Pharisees were interested in maintaining their rituals. Some of our rituals are good and can draw people closer to God. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are just two examples. However, some of our rituals can have the effect of pushing people away from Him. Jesus demonstrated that believers must place truth and human needs above ritual practices.