“Matthew 12:1-8, Jesus and the Sabbath Laws,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
My dear discerners, thinkers and who you engage in critical thinking and whose aim and goal is truth and facts and not political correctness and media falsehoods and lies, I ask and bid you join me in another intellectual adventure with the goal of gaining truth and facts and eschewing the shallow and misinformed surface thinking whose goals as generated by the forces of politics and commerce is to manipulate. Please join me in this quest I propose to penetrate the darkness of lies and propaganda that permeates our system and find some degree of truth and facts by means of honest discourse and investigation.
Today I ask you join me in attempting to grasp and understand one of Jesus most penetrating sayings and thoughts his comment and analysis concerning plucking grain on the sabbath. This story or the relation of these events is found in Matt 12:1-8 as follows: At that time, Jesus went through the grain fields on the sabbath and his disciples were hungry and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the pharisees saw it they said, look your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath. He said to them have you not read what David did when he was hungry and those who were with him; how he entered the house of god and ate the bread of the presence which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him but only the priests; or have you not read on the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath and are guiltless. I tell you something greater than the temple is here; and if you have known what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the son of man is lord of the sabbath.
I now seek to understand what Jesus means here and what Jesus is driving at. The initial issue was breaking a technical legalism imposed by the pharisees as to plucking grain on the sabbath or break a technical religious regulation. Jesus objects to this rule and its overly technical character and refers to David eating the bread of the presence in the temple meant for the priests and how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath. Jesus in this story and his words is in the process of establishing the new faith and religion based on love and grace and not adherence to legalisms. He says he desires not mercy but grace and love. Here we see Jesus in conflict with the religious leadership. Jesus is not anti-sabbath or anti-Torah but is against the overdevelopment of sabbath legislation and rules. Exodus merely says to keep the sabbath holy and not impose all sorts of work forbidden rules. It is the disciples that transgress, not Jesus, where the section states that they were hungry and plucked the grain. The thrust and point of this section and Jesus’s words and commands is to stress that the issue to Jesus is not law and blindly following rules, but love grace and mercy. These take precedence over all. Jesus here establishes something new and a new religion based on grace love and mercy. It is these which are compelling and significant and it is by love and grace that we will be saved, not the law, or at least not overly technical rules having no basis in god’s love and how we may be rescued and saved.
Ladies and gentlemen, I end this little work of interpretation and analysis and explanation of the words of the eternal god. I take upon this task with hesitation and humility and do hope you will benefit from this essay in some small way and urge you to return to the text and read and read again Matt 12:1-8 and come to an understanding of what the son of god means to tell us here and how we may come to know him and who he is and how we may be saved not by law and works by faith grace and the love of god.