1 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” 5 And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” 6 Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. 8 But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” 10 And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
St. Cyril of Alexandria in his Commentary on St. Luke, Ch.6 said:
“Now even though David acted contrary to the law, yet he is rightly and justly esteemed by us as worthy of all admiration; for he was in truth a saint and a prophet. Since, therefore, the law of Moses expressly commands, ‘Judge just judgment and do not regard the person in judgment’ (Deut. 1:16), He says, how do you condemn My disciples, while you still admire as a saint and prophet the blessed David, even though he did not keep Moses’ command? But by the loaves (of the shewbread), there is clearly indicated to us the bread that comes down from heaven to be set forth upon the holy tables of the churches; and all the furniture of the table, used for the performance of its mystical service, was a plain type of the divine treasures. But spiritually [the bread signifies] the twelve Apostles.”
Ephrem the Syrian in his Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron said:
“‘Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’ Our Lord had instructed them in advance and trained them in the truth of the just, so that whenever he dispensed from the law fully, they would not be alarmed. His Father had also dispensed from sabbaths to show that the sabbath was of his own making. He was also continuing to dispense from it that he might show that these were discerning remedies, proposed by the skilled physician for the pain which stretches from the sole of the foot to the head.”
Ambrose in his Exposition of the Gospel of Luke said:
“The Lord Jesus begins to divest man [people] of the observation of the old law and clothes him with the new covering of grace not only through the understanding of words but also through the very usage and appearance of actions. Already on the sabbath, he leads him through the cornfields, that is, he brings him to what abounds in fruit. What the sabbath, the standing corn, and the ears mean to him is no small mystery. The field is this whole world, and the standing corn of the field is an abundant fruitfulness of saints in the sowing of the human race. The ears of the field are the fruits of the church that the apostles scattered with their works and on which they fed, sustaining themselves on our progress. The corn was already standing rich in abundant ears of virtues. The fruits of our merit are compared with these, because they also wither in a shower or are parched by the sun or soaked by the rain or shattered by storms or hoarded by the reapers in the storehouses of the blessed granaries. The earth has already received the Word of God, and the nourishing field sown with heavenly seed has brought forth abundant fruit. The disciples hungered for the salvation of humankind, and by the splendid miracles of their works they plucked as if from the husks of their bodies fruits of their minds to the light of faith. The Jews thought that this was not permitted on the sabbath, but Christ through the gift of new grace designated the idleness of the law as a work of grace.”