Come to me you who are weary and burdened …. Remember that? Shortly after speaking to the crowds who were worn down by legalistic rules Jesus is facing an example of that burden. It wasn’t the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy and not to work on it which was the burden. It was the traditions of the religious leaders who told the people how to apply that commandment.
“At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12 v 1-2)
Jesus is walking on the Sabbath. They do not accuse him of that act so he presumably was within the accepted distance for the Sabbath, about 1,000 yards.
Along the borders of the fields, grain, grapes, olives were left after the harvest so that the poor could pick them. This is all acceptable and within the Law of Moses. But the Sabbath was more important than hunger even if you were a widow, an orphan or very poor.
So the disciples took the grain heads, separated the chaff from the grain and then grounded the grain in their hands as they walked along. They didn’t work up a sweat. They were not filling bags of grain for some business. They did it within their own hands which produced a small snack! But for the religious dictators it was work.
The Pharisees are protecting their culture, they are crying out for purity, they campaign against sin. Why? Because it was sin that cast God’s people out of the garden, it was sin that caused them to die in the wilderness and sin was breaking the rules, law codes, sacrificial offerings that are mentioned in the memorised Torah.
Without Jesus, rules become very important and worth the effort to protect them.
But when you follow Jesus then your attraction for Him may mean you cause offence to those who do not see Him like you do.
Following Jesus means you will have to let go of pleasing man and the rules that protect your status with God.
Every generation battles with the code of conduct passed down to them.
Every generation ends with having more rules than relationship.
Every generation has to ask ‘what kind of Jesus will we follow?’