Today we’ll continue with some of your favorites (or the passages you have questions about). Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or message me with any passages you’d like added or that you have a question about!
Today we are looking at Matthew 12: 9-14:
9 He left that place and entered their synagogue; 10 a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out?12 How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
We see here Jesus performing a miracle on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders are just about done with this. This is the second of two Sabbath incidents. Right before Jesus plucks some grain on the Sabbath, and here He heals on the Sabbath. Both incidents make the religious leaders mad, but what has made them even madder is that Jesus goes to the scripture and shows from the Old Teatematn how they were being hypocrites. First with David and then with the ability to get one’s sheep out of the ditch.
So, we see that there were exceptions within the Law for work on the Sabbath. What they were angry about wasn’t that Jesus did what He did, it was that He wasn’t playing by their rules.
See, they were interested in the letter of the Law. No work on the Sabbath, even to bring healing! Stop it! They were not interested in the heart of the Law. The heart of the Law is what Jesus insisted that we keep; the letter of the Law was their human additions to the Law that made the exception for the sheep.
They were not interested in the religion of the heart. They were interested in the religion of the eyes. They’d rather look religious than truly follow God. That’s a danger for them. And a danger for us. Would we rather look religious or follow Jesus?
To keep the Sabbath is to allow our souls to rest in the work of God. It is about giving our very lives the ability to rest from work because God has done the work. The religious leaders were so bound up in fear that they had lost the plot. They were more focused on what they could or couldn’t do on the Sabbath than on actually seeking God.
So instead of celebrating a miracle, they were offended. Because God was at work, they followed the letter. But they missed the very heart of it all.
May we not make the same mistake. Let’s focus on following Jesus with all that we are. If we do that, the rest will work itself out. Let’s focus first on Him, above all else.
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