The disciples were hungry and ate grain in the field. The Pharisees, who apparently like to watch for violations, don’t like it because it is the Sabbath.
Sometimes I wish someone I know would have heard a sermon I heard because it applied to them. The Pharisees are good at applying the Law to others.
But Jesus disagreed with the interpretation of the Pharisees. Their interpretation was not official, perhaps not even mainline. Jesus has a different interpretation.
- Jesus is greater than David. The argument from lesser to greater applies. In time of need, Jesus says the need is more important than the law.
- Jesus is greater than the Temple. If Sabbath laws don’t apply to the Temple, then Jesus can also get a pass.
- In general, mercy toward the need is more important.
It’s possible to live under rules without taking them to extremes. Jesus seems to interpret Sabbath laws in such a way. And he is Lord of the Sabbath.
I don’t suppose the Sabbath laws apply to us in any way now, but the example Jesus gives us might help as we interpret other instructions.