Luke 6:1 One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” 3 Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” 5 Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” 6 On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. 8 Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day (scribes and Pharisees) were highly concerned about keeping the letter of the law. Why? Because God had made clear when the law was given to Israel in the first place that violating the law would be disastrous for the Israelites. The OT reading for today from the Moravian Daily Texts is Deuteronomy chapter 7. Read that chapter and you’ll understand why the religious leaders were freaking out when Jesus appeared to be violating the commandment about keeping the Sabbath.
I wonder if Jesus were to appear today what conventions he might break, how I would respond, if I would recognize him. Hard to tell. What our passage today tells me is that Jesus would likely be very different from my imagination.