Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Light | Reader – Easter 2020
Silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)
Reading: Matthew 11:27-12:8
At that time, Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them... (Matt. 12:1, NIV)
I don't know about you, but when I am hungry, I am distracted. I am crabby and I don't really allow ideas or information presented to me to sink in. Today we pick up where we left off yesterday. In yesterday's text Jesus urges his disciples to come to Him when they are weary, and to find Him as a source of their rest. He gets in a little bit of trouble in this text. Knowing they are hungry, because of course He's God, He walks his disciples through a grain field on the Sabbath--on this day He had a lesson to teach and a point to make.
Walking through the fields wasn't what got Jesus in trouble, it was what He did next that got his archenemies, the Pharisees upset. As they are walking through the field His disciples begin to snack on the grain that they are walking by. The Pharisees, the religious know-it-alls of his day gasp in horror and challenge Him about allowing his disciples to 'work' on the sabbath. This was a significant charge because breaking the Sabbath was an offense punishable by death in those days. In this instance the Pharisees not only sought to discredit Jesus and His ministry, this charge also revealed their heart of hearts, they were after His head.
In the face of such a serious accusation Jesus doesn't fold under pressure. He takes a powerful stance. He defends the weak (the disciples in this instance) and does what is right. He reminds the Pharisees that the Father prefers 'mercy over sacrifice,' essentially saying that doing the right thing guided by love is greater in God's eyes than trying to please God for other reasons (like doing 'religious things' for others to see, see Matthew 23:5). In this interaction, Jesus establishes that the Father's heart leans on the side of mercy (Matt. 12:7, James 2:13) and the way He shows the disciples mercy in this instance is by defending them and meeting one of their immediate felt needs--hunger.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He eagerly wants to give us rest and provision both in this life and in the life to come. In a day where bad news seems to be all we hear, this is good news.
Question to consider this week: How can I be a light in my community and circles of influence this week?
Action step: Jesus' followers are called to continue to be the church even in times like these. As you encourage and pray for those around you, ask how you can also bless and help meet an immediate need in their lives, showing mercy, being Jesus' hands and feet.
Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge that you are in fact in control. Thank you for the promise of rest in You. I trust that You are good and desire mercy over sacrifice. Help me to trust that You can and will meet some very real needs in my life. In Jesus' name, amen.
Conclude with silence (2 minutes)
-Melissa + Luis