Controversy Over Sabbath Work (Luke 6:1-5)
If you are like me, your summers often involved picking fruits and vegetables from the garden. In fact, one of my fondest childhood memories is of eating fresh watermelon right in the field from my Grandad’s patch in his backyard as a small boy. My younger brother and I would run barefoot through the patch wearing nothing but cutoff jean shorts, playfully chasing each other in the hot Oklahoma summer sun, until our Grandad called us over to eat one of the melons that had fallen and broken while he was picking. I can still remember the taste of his prized black diamond melons and feel the juice dripping off my chin to form a dusty trail down my darkly tanned and toned little belly. If only we still had that green glass salt shaker whose contents turned the melon juice into pure gold in our parched, thirsty mouths…
If we could speak with the Disciples in person today, I’m sure they would tell countless stories about the sweet times they spent in the fields with Jesus. Times when they walked and talked and enjoyed His company and relished in His presence. Perhaps the story we study today would come to mind for some. Jesus and His disciples are walking through a grain field and some of the disciples picked heads of grain from the stalk as they walk by them. Casually rubbing them together in their hands to separate the wheat from the chaff before eating them. If you close your eyes you can probably visualize the scene quite easily. Little did they know that skeptics and critics stood close by just waiting for the opportunity to call a foul.
When challenged about a supposed Sabbath work violation, Jesus gave a curious and unique defense followed by two very bold claims. A defense that challenged their paradigm and claims that threatened their positions and stature. Come with us today on a journey through the grain fields in Luke 6:1-5 as we see Jesus take the Pharisees to task for being more concerned about keeping their self-imposed rules than about the welfare of God’s people. The Son of Man, who is Lord of the Sabbath, cares for His people and meets their needs. And, in so doing on the Sabbath, His actions create even more stress and tension for the religious leaders of the day who failed to see Jesus for who He truly was; Lord of all!
For more information on this Bible study series see Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.