Often the Lectionary “skips” over sections of the scriptures in order to tie themes together. When this happens, some really great stories get left out. I don’t believe this is done with malice, but rather in the interest of helping preachers connect the dots from Sunday to Sunday. One story which I love is found in Matthew 12 verse 1 to 12. This story comes on the heels of Jesus’ call to “take my yoke upon you” because “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Jesus and his disciples are moving through the countryside on a Sabbath. As they traveled, the disciples plucked heads of wheat and ate them because they were hungry. Somehow, there happened to be Pharisees who witness this and bring it to Jesus’ attention. They complained that what the disciples of Jesus were doing was “not lawful to do on the Sabbath”. Technically, they were doing two things which were unlawful. First, they were traveling on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:29). There were very few exceptions to this law, but it was enforced none the less. Second, they were “laboring” by plucking up wheat (Exodus 20:8-11). Clearly both infractions needed to be brought Jesus’ attention by the Pharisees.