The common sabbatarian understanding of this text is “Sabbath was given for all mankind“, therefore all of mankind should observe it not just the Jews. I have 2 reasons to believe otherwise.
1) This interpretation goes contrary to the Jewish understanding that Sabbath was given only to the nation of Israel.
2) The context. When you read the context of this verse (beginning at verse 23), you will notice that this interpretation is out of placed. Jesus and his disciples on Sabbath were plucking grains. Then the Pharisees accused them of breaking the Sabbath. Then Jesus gave some old testament instances, then declared the “the sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath”. Why would Jesus suddenly mean that Sabbath was made for mankind? It seems out of placed.
New Living Translation (and other contemporary versions) rendered it wonderfully. “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the Sabbath.'” Jesus was actually saying, “Hey, don’t let the sabbath control you, it is supposed to be for your benefit.”
So if that’s the case, it now goes with the context. Jesus seems to be breaking the Sabbath, as the Pharisees noted. Therefore, Jesus corrected their view and told them that their neck hurts for being so stiff. They should see the Sabbath benefiting them and not the other way around.
(Arnold Gamboa, 08-02-2005)