Scripture: Matthew 12:1-8 [NLT]
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:1-8, New King James Version)
Observation: (What do you see when you read this scripture?)
I see Jesus walking along, being followed by his disciples and a group of “interested” Pharisees. I wonder if the disciples had asked Jesus permission to eat the grain at some point. They would have known the “unlawfulness” (according to rabbinical law) of harvesting on the Sabbath day, so it seems to me that they must have asked Jesus permission. Also, Jesus points to the fact that He, being greater then the mere temple (which is only a shadow of HIM) is Lord of the Sabbath. So in essence the disciples were following His command or authority and not the authority of the rabbi’s.
After being challenged about the harvesting, Jesus seeks to teach them the true understanding of the Sabbath law and in essence all of God’s law, and of course He gets to the real heart of the problem. First, he gives the example of David, working under the instruction of God, who was able to use the temple bread for needed sustenance. Next, He quotes scripture and points to God’s desire for mercy above sacrifice. Mercy is a thing of the heart; sacrifice is a thing of display; though either can be done with improper motives and done without the direction of the Lord.
I don’t see Jesus making an argument against the Sabbath here or really even for it. He is making an argument the deeper point of authority. Who has the true authority in your life? Who has your heart? These are the questions He is tackling.
The Pharisee’s had made the “law” their authority and not the Giver of the law. Ask yourself, which is greater? By worshiping the “law” they had forgotten to truly worship (give your heart to) the Giver of the law, the reason for the law or principle of the law, and they had created new man made laws to protect the law. They had made it a burden instead of a joy. Is the Sabbath a joy in your life? If not, it can be. Get to know the One who gave you the Sabbath and then you will learn to love the day like you love the One who gave it to you.
Application: (How can I apply this to my life?)
I need to continue down the path of knowing Jesus more and more. At times in my life the Sabbath can be a burden. I want to reach the place where I long for it because it is a special time that I spend with Jesus. I know that is why it was created.
Prayer: (Let Him know what your thinking)
Thank You so much for bringing wisdom to a dieing world. Help me to respond to Your love and in turn long for Your Sabbath rest and time spent with You. Give me the strength to resist the little temptations that get in the way of our relationship and the fortitude to stand firm against the “big” temptations.
Thank You for Your love and care. Thank You for never giving up on me.
Please be with my family and our small bible study groups. Help us to grow in Your love and help us to share You with others.
Be with Joe, the Whitleys (let us know if there is a way we can help them Lord), the Wilson’s, and our children. Keep them all safe and give them health and peace in You.
Thank You for all that you provide in my life. I am so rich with You in my life. Amen.