Scripture Reading — Matthew 12:1-4
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to [Jesus], “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
—Matthew 12:2 —
Another Sabbath practice to develop is that of embracing people. Sabbath invites us to value the relationships that God has placed in our lives.
The Pharisees were deeply disturbed by the Sabbath habits of Jesus and his disciples. As far as they were concerned, thirteen men walking through a field picking heads of grain was harvesting, and rubbing those grains together and blowing off the chaff to eat the grain was threshing. The Pharisees, in an attempt to safeguard the Sabbath from work, had strictly forbidden both activities.
Jesus reminded them, however, that even their greatest earthly king, David, had once eaten consecrated bread in a time of need. Jesus was referring to a time when David was running for his life from King Saul and, in desperation, had gone to the high priest to get food for his men (1 Samuel 21:1-6). The only food available was the consecrated bread that only the priests were allowed to eat. Although he no doubt struggled with the decision, the priest rightly decided to offer David the bread.
The needs of people trump rules and regulations. Because people are vitally important to God, embracing others is another vital Sabbath practice for us.
Thank you for the many people you’ve placed in our lives, O God. Help us to be mindful of them and to reach out to them with your compassion, love, and care. In Jesus, Amen.