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The drama that is presented in the conflicts of the Gospel, for the most part, easily stultifies deeper lessons that can be found beyond the conflict. No doubt, there are great lessons in the conflict, however there are more than enough articles exploring those lessons. The conflicts that The Savior was presented with are particularly amusing for us believers because we get to read our Master’s consistently delivered repartee’s to the Religious Leadership.

Why is it that the Religious Leaders’ scathing correction of Yeshua’s behavior in the grain field is not an example of an exception being made to God’s law, but a shining example of how wrong the Pharisees were to begin with? How does Yeshua’s reply correct their misguided interpretation of God’s law? And, our focus: have you ever wondered what can be found deeper, if one fixes their gaze beyond the conflict and drama of the argument that ensued? Wonder no more, my friend. This article begins a solid foundation in answering that question and the others. Read this article prayerfully, humbly and with your thinking cap on to find the jewels that are the answers to these questions. Let’s learn together.

The rough, prickly grain heads grazed His hands while He walked, palms out at His sides. He was only mildly aware of the barley’s play against His skin. His eyes were closed, His head was tilted up and He could feel the rays of sweet golden sunshine beating upon His face which gradually, day-by-day, darkened His olive skin. He could hear His Disciples chatting amongst themselves while He prayed in thanksgiving to The Father. It had been a long time since they had all been together like this. Just three months prior, Yeshua sent His Disciples out, two-by-two, in the spirit of Elijah and John the Baptist: preparing the cities of His region for His soon coming. They had been making straight the path of The Lord. Many months before, they had experienced what happened when people were not ready to receive Him, in the region of the Gadarenes, on the other side of the Sea of Galilee: the people of that town were afraid of Him and asked Him to leave.

While the golden rays showered Yeshua’s upturned gracious face like a warm blanket, He basked in the various excited stories His Disciples were sharing with one another about their journeys. As Yeshua walked trustingly forward, eyes closed and ears opened, there was a check in His spirit. The glorious moment was about to end. He looked. He found the eyes of Lebbaeus, gaze fixed upon Him with an obedient, grateful, and ready countenance. Lebbaeus was so quiet and keenly aware, all the time, of the surrounding circumstances. The ever so subtle look in Yeshua’s eye was all Lebbaeus needed. The ruddy haired, mysterious man He had chosen to be His Disciple knowingly, and almost imperceptibly nodded to His Master; the new scar on his forehead from recent persecutions reflected against the sunlight. Lebbaeus was then on guard and ready. Yeshua was certain that Lebbaeus began praying although it was not something one could see from the outside. Yeshua was grateful for His Disciple.

Not long after that, a group of flowing robes and tall hats were seen kicking up dust with their slow, confident steps as they crested the not so distant hill. There was enough time for He and His Disciples to disappear into the thick trees and down the ravine on the other side of the wood. More than ample time to stop gleaning no doubt. After all, the Pharisees were simply on the way home from Synagogue. Yeshua had a different idea for them though. If they would take the bait, He saw this as an opportunity. If they would not, no need for correction/warning and a pleasant Sabbath would continue. He ensured that the venomous group saw His Disciples gleaning. Once He was sure, He held up His hand. He stopped. The chatter stopped. The Disciples turned respectfully towards their potentate members of the Religious ruling class and for a shear moment, it seemed they considered returning the favorable gesture before walking on. Alas, a face so lined with wrinkles one might mistake the cheeks for a crumpled piece of paper sitting aloof, beneath it’s opulent hat. The truculent man adjusted the trajectory of his gait to meet Yeshua’s changing countenance. The atmosphere became serious.

Thomas and Yeshua looked at one another. Thomas had a threatening look in his eye as he drew his Master’s attention to his foot which he was ever so slightly shaking in the dust. When they looked at one another again, Yeshua’s knowing expression was both stern and soft. He gave an approving and encouraging nod to His austere friend. Thomas was a man of logic. Thomas was a man Yeshua could count on to carry out instructions in a sensible way in the midst of the spiritual overload they often experienced in their line of work. The out of control religious tyrants that oppressed their own Israelite brothers and sisters for their selfish comforts were about to experience the first warning that they were laying a foundation of rubble for their successors to stumble through. All the tools Yeshua had needed were at their disposal. The Father had not failed them previously and would not fail them here either.

The scene above is loosely based on Matthew Chapter 12. The Pharisees proceeded to accuse Yeshua of breaking God’s law: Torah. Yeshua was, in fact, breaking Talmud, which holds the Jewish Religious Traditional laws constructed and enforced by the Religious Leaders. The Talmud is still practiced today in Jewish Orthodoxy. Yeshua was not breaking God’s Torah, not even close. In the above scene it was a Sabbath and they were gleaning a field and eating what they were gleaning. The Torah teaches us not to work or exchange money on the Sabbath Day while maintaining focus on fellowship within the confines of a Holy Convocation (formal religious service) (Exodus 20:8-11; Nehemiah 13; etc). The Talmud permits the Holy Convocation and the fellowship but it forbids thousands of things, attempting to take God’s place in the defining, for His people, of what He means by “work”: as if the people were not created for, and were not capable of relationship with their Father who is, let us say, more than willing to define the vague terms of His law in a more personal way than words on paper. יְהוָֹה was quite literally begging to do this for each and every one of His beloved children young and old. All they had to do was really try to listen. Listen and obey.

“Look, Your Disciples are doing what is not lawful on The Sabbath” (Matthew 12:2), the Pharisees spat, as most of His Disciples still chewing, looked on. Thomas popped another few kernels of the barley’s grain into His mouth, storing them between his cheek and gums before looking inquisitively, but solid as ever in countenance, between the Pharisees and Yeshua. As mentioned previously, this article’s focus is beyond the drama, but to touch upon Yeshua’s repartee: He was making the point that although the Pharisees had an official title that permitted them to do certain things others were not allowed to do in order to fulfill their duties to God and His Temple, that Yeshua was above even the Temple, His Disciples carried authority greater than that of the greatest Priests in that Temple. (paraphrase Matthew 12:3-8). He did not mention, however that no exception was necessary as Torah was kept. His warning and repartee were warmly wrapped into the parallel He drew concerning David.

Now, to our main point. Remember or re-read the storyline presented in paragraphs two and three, but remember it without the approaching Pharisees. This penultimate paragraph you are reading is going to seem a bit anti-climactic. It is that way on purpose. This article’s intention is to give you something to think about, not to think for you: CNBC’s or Fox News’ style is not congruent with GTS’. Fill your mind with, meditate on, and put these thoughts on the backburner to anchor you to a sound mind while the world constantly attempts to peck away at sanity: wanting your mind muddy, foggy, and half cocked. Yeshua choosing to take His Disciples through the grainfield was on purpose. It was with purpose. It was sound, calculated, and likely not aimed at picking a fight, but at communicating in pleasant ways both encouragement and correction to attentive and humble ears. His intentions likely did not involve the Pharisees attack at all, but was dealt with as a result of neccesity. A part two that dives deeper into this subject, will be published soon. Until then, consider that the gleaning in the grain field incident happened on the heels of His sending them out two-by-two, when they were to take nothing but the clothes on their backs for the purpose of preaching the gospel and preparing the way. They had enjoyed victories and likely suffered defeats, mistreatment, and hate for the holy work they were completing. In order for us today to have well-rounded, soundly guided thoughts on this matter, thoughts that aren’t floating off in space: it is important to know what The Creator’s Torah has to say about gleaning. It is important to know who benefited from it, who provided it and what it represented spiritually, physically. Yeshua was no doubt thinking on these things. Yeshua used the foundation of Torah and The Prophets to speak mysteries into the souls of His Disciples yesterday, today, and into the generations to come. The Torah command about gleaning can be found in Leviticus 19:9-10.

A personal study on gleaning will help you to understand Yeshua’s character better. It will align your mind to His mind (reference Philippians 2:2). It will also give you deeper insight, preparing you to enjoy part two, as we fellowship around His Word. And of course, the drama with the Pharisees does, at the least, tangentially tie into the lesson well. If these questions are beyond your reach, leave a comment below and I will try to address your question in the next article. Until then everybody, be strong, be strengthened, and shalom mishpocha. Let’s grow together.

By: T.Griffin ben Yeshua Messiah

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