September 7: Jesus is the Lord of All (Matthew 12:1-14)
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. (ESV)
It is has been a while since we have studied the gospel of Matthew. If you remember, Matthew’s goal in his gospel is to reveal Jesus as the Messiah from God, the King of a new kingdom. He is the unique Savior and Lord of all. We saw this in the first 4 chapters where his birth, lineage and baptism show him to be a divine King. In chapter 5-7, this King then gives new laws of his kingdom in his Sermon on the Mount. In chapters 8-9, Jesus as King demonstrates his divine power in ten miracles, declaring that his kingdom has come. In chapters 10 and 11, Jesus calls his disciples, thus establishing the formation of his new kingdom with twelve new leaders. In spite of all this, he is met with disbelief among the general population, and now in chapter 12, he experiences opposition from the spiritual leadership of Israel. Matthew combines two conflicts over the Sabbath not to teach us about the Sabbath per se but rather about Jesus being the Lord of all things who has come to destroy the religion of men and establish true faith in himself leading to joy. The purpose of this passage is to present Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath and the one to whom we turn for the joy, peace and satisfaction, which the Sabbath was always intended to give.
Review and Apply
What is the difference between legalism and faith?
Why do we find comfort in legalism?
Where do you see legalistic tendencies in your own life?
Why did God give his creation a Sabbath?
What does Jesus mean by saying that he is Lord of the Sabbath?
What are the marks of true faith in your life?
What level of joy do you have in Jesus? Why is this so?
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