Jesus leaves the temple and rejoins His disciples. They start to walk towards the place where they will spend the night. On their way, they pass through a field where the grains have just been harvested. The disciples know the law, that harvesters must leave crops along the edges of their fields and anything dropped during the harvest so that people who are poor and hungry might find food to eat. And so when they find some heads of grain left from the harvest, they pick them, rub them between their hands, and eat them. This is the first meal they’ve had today, and they are hungry. But the Pharisees have followed them and see what they are doing. “So it is not enough for You to break the Sabbath, but You teach your followers to do it as well?” they growl at the group. No work of any kind is supposed to be done on the Sabbath, according to the law of Moses, but Jesus has begun to teach His disciples what the true meaning of that law is supposed to be.
Once again, Jesus answers the charge of the Pharisees: “You have read the Scriptures. You know that David, when he was running from King Saul, ate the holy bread from the temple that only the priests are allowed to touch. He broke the letter of the law, but not the true purpose of it. The Sabbath day is for rest, so that people can have a respite from their labors. Priests on duty at the temple on the Sabbath are not breaking the law by working that day. If you knew the Holy Scriptures that you read, you would understand the words of My Father, spoken through the Prophet Hosea, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifices, and acknowledgement of God instead of burnt offerings.’ If there is work done for the Lord, work of mercy and love, it is lawful work any time it is needed. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5, Hosea 6:6