“One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:23-28
Jesus and his disciples were hungry. All the restaurants were closed. So he did some “dumpster diving” with his buddies–and it upset the religious leaders of the day.
Not only was plucking grain a religious taboo on the Sabbath, but for an up and coming Rabbi, this was not something to be tolerated. In other words, if Jesus could bend the rules slightly in his favor, then everyone else would do the same–and it would be a religious meltdown of Chernobyl-like proportions.
Let’s focus on a couple of thoughts: one exegetical and one allegorical.
First, Jesus is making a claim to be God. God had instituted the whole concept of the Sabbath. God was not to blame for the 612 rules that the Jews had put on top of the idea of keeping Sabbath–but the foundation was still God. In other words, everyone knew that the Sabbath was a special religious marker separating the people of God (the Jews) from all other cultures and peoples on the earth.
But when Jesus talks as if it was (and is) all designed for his purposes–then he is making a direct claim to be the One behind it all. He is making a clear statement that he is the Lord God, plain and simple.
This means that all true religion should point to and end at the person of Jesus Christ, plain and simple.
Second, notice that Jesus is walking through the grainfields. And he has every right to–for if he is truly the Lord, then the fields belong to him. The fields represent the souls of people–all over–who need the Lord.
All around us, everyday, Jesus is walking in and through people’s lives. He is at work in every human life, even when we can’t see him. He is no stranger to your life. And he’s totally aware of what’s going on in your friends’ and family’s and neighbors’ lives as well. When you see a person on the street–Jesus is walking through the grainfields of their life.
As his followers, we need to pray that we will faithfully reach the people that he wants us to reach. We need to ask the Lord of the Harvest how we can join him in walking the grainfields. Being a follower of Christ means following him through the grainfields of people’s lives. Not every disciple followed Jesus that day–but for those who did they were used by God to disclose further revelation and truth that sets people free. And when we live like that, we too can be like Jesus, a nonconformist of epic proportion.
1. Do you see Jesus as Lord of All? as God? or just a nice, moral teacher or prophet?
2. Have you ever thought about Jesus walking through the grainfields of your life? of your friends’ lives? Are there parts that you would rather him NOT walk through?
3. How can you become a willing partner with Jesus in reaching other people for him by joining him in the grainfields of the world at large? How does that change how you view your friends? coworkers? strangers on the street?