I'd like to share some thoughts from a recent journal entry.
1At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. 2But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath." 3But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, 4how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? 5Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? 6But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. 7But if you had known what this means, 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,' you would not have condemned the innocent. (Matthew 12:1-7NASB)
On several occasions Jesus came into conflict with the Pharisees over the Sabbath and the 'rules' for keeping it. Often, their rules hindered, or would have hindered someone from receiving a blessing- such as the man whom Jesus healed as recorded in Mark 3:1-5 -or, in this passage from Matthew, having a need met. Jesus' disciples were hungry, but by the standards of the Pharisees, it would have been better for men to go hungry than for them to break the rules of men. By His response (which I will post in another blog), Jesus affirms the dignity of man and rejects the validity of man's law.
It poses an interesting question doesn't it? When do our 'rules' get in the way of meeting the real needs of the people around us? When are we so blinded by our 'laws' that we cannot see those who are hurting, hungry and helpless? It probably happens more than we'd care to admit. We resist moving beyond our rules out of fear; fear of what new doors may open- what God might begin to do; fear of upsetting neatly packaged theological ideas; fear of what the 'establishment' might say, think or do. Jesus shows us that it is man who matters, not the rules men put in place by which they might control other men. Jesus sets us free from those rules, free to serve and love God and our neighbor without fear.
I offer this prayer: Lord, Your Word is clear in its call to love You and love others by setting aside man's artificial rules and walking with Jesus 'through the grain fields'. Amen.