Luke 6: 1 – 11
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Rather than being closed in and controlled by the popular interpretation of the law, Jesus has his own path, his own divine guidance and this is what he will teach his disciples. Since he is popular he is a threat to the religious establishment, the Pharisees, with their very conservative interpretation of the law. They studied for 18 years to become rabbis, and who is this Jesus anyway? But he demonstrates the difference between inspired teaching and human studying and systematizing. By doing his own thing and proclaiming that he has God’s blessing on his interpretation of Sabbath, Jesus absolutely threatens the Pharisees at the deepest possible level.
God give us courage to walk as you are leading us to walk, even when our path diverges from that of the powers that be. Speaking truth to power is difficult but such a blessed way forward in this life.
Noon Day Prayers Question
Jesus chose common, uneducated folk to be his disciples. He chose the marginalized to become channels of His grace to the marginalized. The people he chose may well have not had much time for the professional clergy and rituals of their day; he was after all the shepherd to the lost sheep of Israel.
As one who would follow Jesus, are you walking with the marginalized, the sick, the lonely, the poor, the imprisoned, the strangers in our midst (immigrants and refugees)? Consider Jesus, imagine him being with you now. Surrender yourself to him and ask to be sent where he would have you go.
Luke 6: 12 – 16
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Here is the culmination of Jesus’ process of picking his team. After much prayer, Jesus chose 12 apostles for his New Israel. There would always be synagogues and the religious faithful, but his disciples were chosen to create the new Israel, filled with people from every corner of the earth. Today on Sundays, we practice our version of synagogue-style worship. We have our traditions, our theologians and our preferred style of worship. If Jesus came today, would he be choosing disciples from amongst us?
We also live in the new covenant announced by Jesus and like the prodigal son, anytime we wake up and realize we have forgotten who we are, forgotten to be Jesus to those we meet, to find Jesus in those we meet, we are welcomed back into our Abba’s open arms. Anytime we turn to Jesus and tell him we want to be like him, in that moment the Father will again give the Holy Spirit to us if we ask.
As children of the One in whom we live and move and have our being, we are always close to God’s heart, even when in our own heart we have strayed far away. So turn now, ask God to take you deeper into his heart, that you might become more like his chosen son Jesus. Trust the Spirit within you to lead you into the paths of compassion and truth, that you might become the gift to this world that you were created to be. Amen.