Now it happened that He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath; and His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain.
Why were the disciples eating grain as they went? Was this a snack or a meal? Clues are in the text. This was not just one disciple who casually picks the head of grain as a between meal snack. Several disciples were engaged in eating. It mentions that they were hungry (Mt 12.1). And lastly, Jesus chided the Pharisees for not having compassion (Mt 12.7). It doesn’t seem to be wise to risk offending the Pharisees or potentially violating the Sabbath for a snack. The main point of this event is that Jesus knows what a violation of the Sabbath would be because He instituted it. But this also gives us a rare look at the poverty of the evangelistic team. They were in a foraging mode. They were living out Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 6 where He instructed His followers not to worry about their food. God would provide for those who sought the Kingdom first. For Jesus, the sermon was only half of the lesson. The second half was to live it before the congregation. Modeling is a key component to disciplemaking.