January 17th Matthew 12
Christ is Lord of the Sabbath
1: At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2: But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 3: But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5: Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6: But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7: But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8: For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Christ heals a withered hand
9: And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 10: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11: And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12: How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 13: Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. 14: Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
15: But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; 16: And charged them that they should not make him known: 17: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18: Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 19: He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20: A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21: And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
The Lord led the disciples to a corn field in which they were allowed to eat the corn because it was left for the poor, and they were poor. The disciples ate the ears of corn but they are criticised for ‘reaping’ corn on the Sabbath day. The Jews had made thousands of extra laws but this rule would make the poor go away hungry. Christ allows them to eat. Christ justified the principle by quoting David who ate forbidden bread from the Tabernacle. Then Christ explains that as LORD of the Sabbath he is able not only to establish the law but he is also able to set the exceptions. Christ accuses the Pharisees of condemning those who have not sinned. The next crisis is when Christ enters a Synagogue and finds a man with a withered hand. Christ is asked a question Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day. Now works of necessity or works charity were always allowed on the Sabbath day. Christ illustrates the answer by asking them whether they would save a sheep from a pit on the Sabbath day. Christ explains that it is always lawful to do well on the Sabbath day. Christ healed the man with the withered hand. The Religious leaders had been faced. They had been stood up to, by Christ. So what are they going to do? Will they give in? Will they say, Hey we were wrong – sorry? NO. They went out and plotted to destroy Christ. This shows the type of religion they had. Jesus withdrew to calm down the situation. Christ withdrew to fulfil the scripture. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. The reed was the thing used by the scribes to write. When a reed was bruised it was to be broken in two to prevent the reed from causing faulty writing. Christ’s job was not to break their job. The flax was used to burn incense in the temple. However if it is smoking, it means that it is about to go out, because the oil has run out (Oil is symbolic of the spiritual life) Will Christ snuff out this offensive smoke? No. He did not come to end the ministry of the scribes and priests.
- What did Christ mean when he said that he was Lord of the Sabbath?
- What do you think about the clash between Christ and the religious leaders?
- Why didnt Christ just end the opposition to his ministry?