Today continues this week’s reading of Paul’s Letter to the Colossians who were probably converted by the preaching of Paul’s co-worker Epaphras. Paul writes to correct the preaching of early Gnostics who confused the Colossians after Epaphras departure. They preached, among other heresies, that only spiritual matter could be good and that corporeal and material matter were evil. Paul writes to remind the Colossians that they were converted from paganism and through faithfulness to the Body of Christ, they are made holy and saved, body and soul. Paul also writes of a time in the future when every creature has heard the Word, looking forward to the inevitability of the complete. on of Christ’s mission.
The Gospel from Luke recounts the first of two controversies regarding the Sabbath. The Sabbath was established in the Old Testament as a day of worship and rest to set God’s chosen, the Hebrews, apart from other peoples. By New Testament times the priestly classes had added a multitude of precepts to Sabbath observance, the slightest infraction of which would call one’s religious commitment in question and, in more severe cases, make one ineligible; ‘unclean’, for communal worship.
In this episode, Pharisees would equate the plucking of grain for food; allowed with harvesting; work prohibited on the Sabbath. Jesus would sarcastically compare it to activity recorded of David’s followers: ‘Have you not read?’ Of course they would of read and almost certainly memorized large parts of the Old Testament.
Jesus would then give them a clue where His authority to redefine permitted activity on the Sabbath comes from and His very identity.