We've all done it...missed the forest for the trees...over-reacted...made a mountain out of a molehill. In the busy life that we live we often want things simplified so we boil most of what we do down to a checklist. Don't do this. Don't do that. Sure, there are things that we shouldn't get involved in but when our day consists of a list of things 'not to do' then our energies are tied up in negative and defensive posturing. Read the beginning of this encounter between Jesus and a group of religious leaders. Our entire week's text is found in Matt 12:1-14, Mark 2:23-3:6& Luke 6:1-11:
One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples (were hungry and) began breaking off heads of grain to eat (and rubbed off the husks in their hands and ate them). But the Pharisees (saw them do it and) said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” Mark 2:23-24
Jesus was on a colission course with the Cross and busy about saving humanity from our sin. He was going from town to town and bringing the good news of salvation to all who would listen. He continues to encounter distractions from this group of people who did not understand who He was and what He was doing. They really wanted Him to fit into 'their box' of expectations for The Messiah if He was indeed The One. Since He didn't fit then they denied Him.
They made this choice by comparing Him and His work against their law. Notice I did not say against 'God's Law'. Jesus is God. Jesus gave the law. Jesus rightly interpreted the law. These other men had been handed down God's Law from others and over time they had put many additional laws in affect for the purpose of protecting mankind from breaking God's Law. These man-made additions are also known as Oral Tradition.
You can research a few things about that law in these scriptures: Where the disciples stealing? No, Deut 23:25 permits the casual plucking of grain from a field. This practice was mainly to take care of the poor, hungry, foreigners, orphans and widows (Leviticus 19:9, 23:22). Exodus 32:21 prevents 'work' on the Sabbath. Exodus 34:21 prevented harvesting for greedy or anxious farmers.
The main issue for us today is learning to interpret God's Word rightly. We do that from learning God's heart. When we lose touch with God's heart we begin to enforce rules that change our relationship with God to a 'don't do that' religion. We make a Big Deal out of insignificant issues and pass right by the bigger more important things in life. We make a mountain out of a molehill.
No one ever found peace and joy from not doing something. Rarely does a sports team score a point on defense. More tomorrow...stay tuned.