Lord of the Sabbath. My Lord, my Sabbath
Matthew 12:1-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grainand eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” 3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, 4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? 5 Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? 6 But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9 Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him.11 And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, 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 to normal, like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, 16 and warned them not to tell who He was.17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
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 proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 “He will not quarrel, nor cry out;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 “A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory. 21 “And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”
In today’s text Jesus was challenged for not following the Sabbath laws. His disciples picked grain from the field and He healed a man. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” So, it was not that Jesus disregarded the law, but rather that He came to fulfill the law. Certainly Jesus is great in the kingdom of heaven, so He neither relaxes God’s commandments nor teaches others to. In John 5:19 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” Again in John 8:28 He says: “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” The one who is the fufillment of the law did not break it. Hebrews 4:15 says: We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yetwithout sin. Jesus was and is without sin. We too, if we will abide with and in Christ, if we will follow Him and walk with Him, will not disregard, do away with or relax the commandments of God. Nor will we teach others, by our words or our actions to relax or disregard them. Jesus says that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. We have been given the righteousness of Christ, but we must choose to walk in it.
Today’s text says: The Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them not to tell who He was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “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 proclaim justice to the Gentiles. “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. “A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory. “And in His name the Gentiles will hope.” We too have been given the Spirit of God, not only upon us, but within us. In John 14:16-17 Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” We too have been called by God and Jesus to proclaim justice and to bring hope to the world.
reading from Psalm 15, the psalmist says: O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does
not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his
own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. In the longest psalm, Psalm 119, in verses 97-106 the psalmist
says: O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my
teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word. I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.
Heavenly Father, like the psalmist, I love Your law, Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Like Jesus, may I only do the things You are doing and saying. Lord Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the law and the Lord of the Sabbath; not only are You my Lord and the Lord of the Sabbath, but You are my Sabbath. I find rest, peace and comfort in You alone. You are my righteousness. Precious Holy Spirit thank You that by Your abiding presence I can do all that Jesus did. I can walk in righteousness and in power. I can fulfill all that God intends and all that Christ commanded. Thank You, heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.