Reading: Matthew 12: 1-8 (3)
Jesus and his students traveled a lot.
They went to various places to preach and teach and heal people.
Then, some people voluntarily provided foods and moneys.
They gave enough money so that Jesus could help the poor.
But today it was different.
Because they were traveling on Sabbath, there was no place to buy food.
So, they were hungry.
Then, as they passed by a field, they picked some heads of grain and ate them.
But at this time, there were other religious group who thought that working on the Sabbath, meaning, picking the heads of grain was sin.
It so happened that these people were watching Jesus and his students.
Then they were shocked seeing the students of Jesus were picking some heads of grain and ate them.
They thought that Jewish people should not work on Sabbath.
They thought that they should not make God mad at them, by breaking the Sabbath like this.
So, they were saying to Jesus like:
“Jesus, what is this?
Your students are breaking the Sabbath!
Why don’t you stop them, huh?”
As for Jesus, he had more important things than keeping the Sabbath.
It is to preach the gospel.
He spent his time traveling on Sabbath, because there were others who needed to listen to the gospel and experience the gospel.
So, even though they were poorly prepared for Sabbath, they traveled to help people understand God.
So, Jesus told them like this:
“Let me help you understand God.
God gave Sabbath for people to rest.
The same God understands our situation and would not judge my students.
So, relax, because God is merciful.
“It is like this.
When people had to run away to save their lives, they can run even on Sabbath.
“Or it is like this.
Some people had to work on Sabbath to serve God.
They are pastors, church leaders and so on.
God understands that they need to work to preach the gospel.
So, God would not judge them.
Instead, God would bless them to work well on Sabbath.
“So, I don’t judge my students who eat because they are hungry.
My students can live like this.
They have more important works to do.
Besides, I am the creator of the Sabbath.
I am creating the Sabbath.
I’m creating the rest that is necessary.
So don’t worry.
“Instead, trust that God is merciful like this.
In other words, blessed are the merciful, for they’ll receive mercy.
So, dare to be merciful and kind like God.
Dare to forgive and love.
Then you will receive mercy.
Then you can serve God in the way that God wants.”
Jesus has a different understanding about sin.
Jesus understands that sin is inside of us.
It is jealousy, envy and hatred and so on.
Jesus is struggling with these because God understands our deepest thoughts.
So, even though Jesus didn’t call his students sinners, because Jesus understood about God, Jesus offered his life on the cross to take away our true sins.
Then when he rose back, Jesus said:
“Everything I taught is right.
So, remember my faith, my life style and my attitude toward life.
This is the life that I give you so that you may have the eternal life.”
Looking at this life, we form a community to practice what Jesus practices.
So, we would not judge easily when people made mistakes.
Before that, we try to understand God.
We try to understand a merciful God.
Then we try to understand people and their situation.
We try to understand their mental and psychological situation.
We try to understand their upbringings.
We try to understand their thoughts.
Then we can be merciful to people.
Then, we would not condemn those who are innocent.
Then, we can truly help people.
Jesus, you are compassionate.
Help us to understand so that we may also be merciful.
May we be easy on people like you so that they may experience you the most merciful one.
In Jesus name, amen.