Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.
While we walked out of the city towards a synagogue, I realized we hadn’t eaten. Being the Sabbath, we couldn’t prepare food since it’s considered work. Tradition said we couldn’t fast either. My heart and stomach were trapped between tradition and law.
Ahead of us, there was a field, it’s unharvested edges glowing in the sun. God told Moses in the Law that people who go into a field can pick kernels with their hands, or what was left on the ground as a way to care for the poor and widows. All they had to do was get it.
“Can we do that on the Sabbath?” I asked another disciple.
“I’m too hungry to care,” he said as he began picking and eating kernels. Soon a few of us were doing the same.
We were in a pretty large group, a mixed bunch that typically gathers when Jesus enters a town. Among us were a few Pharisees who were traveling the short distance the Sabbath allowed. They quickly noticed, moving up to Jesus and saying, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
I stopped, eyes wide, my mouth full in mid-chew. Busted.
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?”
“Of course, I read it!”
“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.”
The High Priest understood what took priority over the ritual law in David’s day. Would the Pharisees, I wondered.
“Something greater than the temple? God lives in the temple,” Thaddeus exclaimed.
“Lord of the Sabbath…” I thought while still chewing. The field was behind us, and the synagogue ahead.