Jesus prioritizes meeting people’s needs over keeping rituals.


As the group arrives, invite them to name an organization or program in which they participate. Suggest that they refer to their
billfold, wallet, or phone apps for ideas (examples: memberships or shopping rewards programs). Invite volunteers to name guidelines or rules involved with these organizations and

  • How do people respond when God’s will comes into conflict with
    their desires?

Jesus encountered conflict with established religion when He prioritized meeting people’s needs over keeping rituals, such as observance of the Sabbath. As we study this passage, look for the  dangers of keeping a religious ritual above all else or placing ritualpractices above human needs.

As Jesus’ ministry continued, tension and friction grew betweenhim and the religious leaders of his day. How Jesus observed (or, in the minds of the religious leaders, violated) the Sabbath was one of the religious leaders’ greatest causes for concern.

Read Luke 6:1-2.

  • How did Jesus approach the Sabbath?
  • How did the Pharisees interpret Jesus’ approach?
  • What human rules and rituals might people treat today as if God Himself had spoken them?

Some people place keeping a religious ritual above all else.

Read Luke 6:3-5
In 1 Samuel 21:1-6, David was running for his life from Saul and sought help from a priest named Ahimelech.

  • How does the story illustrate the bigger picture of keeping the law?

Jesus was trying to teach the Pharisees that rules and traditions have their place and should be honored, but they should never get in the way of doing right by people.

  • What are some rituals we observe that draw people closer toChrist?
  • Which ones might push people farther away from Him?

After framing the entire law in the context of helping people, Jesus returned to the subject of the Sabbath.

  • How does Jesus being Lord of the Sabbath—and of the entire law—affect our daily lives?

After the confrontation in the grain field, Jesus’ relationship with religious leaders continued on a downward spiral. This led to another battle on a different Sabbath.

Read Luke 6:6-11.
The Scribes and Pharisees had already proven they caused more about their rules than people. Jesus demonstrated that believers must place human needs above ritual practices.

  • How do verses 5 and 9 clarify the Sabbath issue?
  • How does the situation faced by Jesus compare to ways believers are critiqued by non-believers today?


  • How does Jesus’ example of prioritizing people’s needs over keeping rituals help you establish priorities?
  • When have you felt tension between obeying religious “principles” and helping “people”?
  • As you follow Jesus, are you becoming more free to love others, or becoming more constrained by religious rules? Why?