Which divine laws admit of exceptions, and which don’t? In other words, which laws did God intend to be taken in the strictest, most literal sense, and which were meant more as general guideposts that could sometimes be improved upon, adapted, or maybe even set aside? The answers to this question have not always been clear, and debates have arisen over this question that have been divisive and even destructive.
For example, in Matthew 12:1-8, Jesus debates the Pharisees over the correct interpretation of the Biblical prohibitions against working on the Sabbath. According to the Pharisees, picking the heads off of grain and eating them while travelling on a Sabbath was a violation of a divine law that could never be set aside. According to Jesus, that law was meant to have exceptions. For example, the priests working in the temple still had to work in the temple on the Sabbath, as required by divine law elsewhere.
Then Jesus adds something that will be a key principle for all his disciples: “something greater than the temple is here… the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” This is why, if we wish to understand God’s laws, we must turn to Jesus Christ and to His Church.