Being With Jesus
In today’s Gospel the Pharisees criticize the apostles for picking heads of grain and eating them on the Sabbath. Jesus responds by reminding them of the time that the army of Israel violated the law by eating the bread of the temple that only the priests could eat. What do these stories have in common? In the story of the army eating the temple bread, Jesus reminds them that it was King David himself who led this supposed violation of the law. You can imagine that if some general of the army had showed up at the temple with such a request that he probably wouldn’t have gotten very far. Yet, when the king shows up…well who is going to say no to the king?
Obviously, it makes a difference who you are with. David had authority over the laws of the temple and could allow the men who were with him to eat the sacred bread. In just the same way, Jesus claims that he is “lord of the Sabbath” and has the authority to allow the men who are with him to “harvest” grain on the Sabbath. This is an amazing claim if you think about it.
If we remember back to yesterdays’ Gospel, the Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus didn’t fast. He replied that they were “with the bridegroom” and thus it was not the time for fasting. Today, Jesus reminds us of the special privileges of those who were “with King David” and, most significantly, the special privileges of those who are “with him.” Do we realize that we too are “with Jesus?” We are his special friends. This allows us the freedom not to arbitrarily violate the Sabbath, but rather to live out what the Sabbath was always meant to be about. We get to spend time resting “with Jesus.”