1One sabbath while Jesus was going through the cornfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. 

2But some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’ 3Jesus answered, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?’5Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’

I am intrigued by the Pharisees’ approach to Jesus

‘Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’

Why do they care what Jesus is doing, actually more accurately, what his disciples are doing? Seriously, what is it to them?

Jesus has no political standing in his society. He is not a religious official neither a Pharisee nor a Sadducee. He has no power and no real prestige. Who cares what he does, much less what is followers do? What is the source of the Pharisees’ determination to oversee, judge, and condemn the behaviour of everyone who does not conform perfectly to their rules and regulations?

Jesus points out that the Pharisees’ quibble over his disciples’ Sabbath observance is disingenuous. They are not really concerned about law-keeping. When the revered king David transgressed the law, no one raised the least objection.

The problem here is that there is something in Jesus that is threatening to the Pharisees and therefore they feel the need to attack the least flaw in him they can find.

So often my righteous indignation at the failures I see so clearly in others is merely a cover for my own insecurity, or envy, or resentment. I attack you, not because I am concerned for your well-being, but because your behaviour threatens me. Your lack of commitment to the principles I feel are so important makes me anxious and uncertain about their true value.

When I live in the power of the one who is above all conventions, traditions, rules, and regulations, I will be less concerned about your behaviour and much more concerned about doing all I can to make sure I am living in tune with the One who is, “the Lord of the sabbath,”

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