The disciples took the grain heads, separated the chaff from the grain and then grounded the grain in their hands as they walked along. But they were being watched. The Pharisees are always watching. They accuse the disciples of breaking the rules of resting on the Sabbath.
“Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12: 3-8)
Jesus uses 3 examples:
- Abimelech the priest gave the Temple bread to David (who was not a priest) when he and his men were fleeing from King Saul (1 Samuel 22). The Temple bread was only to be eaten by priests (Leviticus 24).
- The priests who work in the Temple on the Sabbath are innocent of breaking the rules (Numbers 28).
- Hosea their prophet understood mercy is better than sacrifice.
Jesus takes the opportunity to reveal who He is:
- I am greater than the Temple.
- I am Lord of the Sabbath.
And so the remarkable amazing thing is what Jesus reveals and what we MUST understand.
5 truths to living with God’s rulebook.
- The rules of God are not challenged but man’s interpretation of them are.
- The rules serve God’s people not the other way round (David and the bread).
- The rules made allowances (the Temple priests who did His commanded work).
- The rules of God are not condemnatory but man’s rules are.
- The rules have at the heart of them Mercy (Hosea) and Rest (11:28-30).