At that time Jesus was passing through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat them.
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is not allowed for them to do on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and also those who accompanied him:
4 how he even entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not allowed for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple regularly desecrate the Sabbath but are innocent of wrong?
6 I am telling you, something greater than the temple is here.
7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I want you to show mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent ones.
8 Because the master of the Sabbath is the Son of Man.”
snacking on the Sabbath
The mass rejection that Jesus and the apostles were now experiencing in the Galilean region was being spearheaded by the Pharisees. They had just had enough of Jesus’ failure to accommodate himself to their culture.
A case in point: Jesus’ disciples were breaking the taboo against doing manual labor when they grab a snack in the grain fields. That is an unholy thing, and an insult to good respectful people who know the boundaries and keep them diligently. The Sabbath was God’s idea, not man’s. Those disciples had no right to treat that holy day so casually.
Jesus obviously saw the issue differently. Like David in the Old Testament, Jesus put the needs of those with him above the cultural taboos of the self-righteous. It was not about the show. It was about showing mercy. Besides, as master of the Sabbath, it is Jesus who decides what is allowed, not the Pharisees, or the traditions of their society. Like the priests in the temple, if their ministry requires it, they can break the rules. Under the new kingdom from the sky, each believer decides how to keep the Sabbath. And each believer answers not to the Pharisees or even the church. He answers to his Lord, the master of the Sabbath.
LORD, forgive us for demanding that other believers live up to our standards. Give us your insight to see our fellow believers as equal workers for the same master, and the wisdom to let you be their judge.