So I was having lunch sitting across the table from another pastor in town. In conversation we disagreed on a topic and we debated. We debated some more. Apparently it got a little tense and then all of the sudden in mid sentence, this pastor stopped and turned away jumping into another conversation. A hand hit my shoulder, I look up and there was one of my elders, a rancher- tough as nails. He was standing there with a few cowboys on his lunch break and he said to me, looks tense, need us to handle this one, pastor?
In our text Jesus does exactly this. The Pharisees jump at the disciples accusing them of not washing properly as some of the oral tradition made up law dictated. Now the Pharisees were used to walking and people would quake. They were the law, they knew the law, they could hand out punishments that could echo into eternity. So when they jump out and accuse these disciples, they are expecting them to cower. They are expecting nervous explanation. They are expecting to hand out some punishment. They are expecting to embarrass them.
That does not happen. Jesus doesn't miss a beat. The Pharisees were just starting to smirk and Jesus responds on the disciples behalf, “You hypocrites!” He then displays a brilliant understanding of both God’s law, and their additional interpretive understanding and additional laws. He shows how far off they were equating their made up traditions, with God’s Law and not just any but he throws out a hypocrisy of theirs in ignoring one of the Ten Commandments. No one did this. Ever.
Without Jesus, the gathered crowd would simply get as far away as they could from these disciples because they did not want the wrath of the religious leaders either. Without Jesus the crowds would have, could have, turned on the disciples aggressively. This could have been ugly!! Because Jesus is there, they are not alone. Because Jesus is there they are safe. Because Jesus is there, they have someone to fight this battle for them in a way they never could have on their own.
So what about when the Pharisees come for you? What about when the world tells you you’re not good enough? Jesus fights for you too. We have a Savior who promises to be with us always. That means when we are feeling tempted we can call on him and he fights with us and for us. That means when we’re feeling guilty, he reminds us that forgiveness is ours. Jesus declares you good enough despite your shortcomings because he loved you so much that died for you. That means when we leave this place and head to our eternal home, we will be declared blameless and innocent because of how he fought and fights for us.