Matthew 12 Pt.1 – Jesus Is Lord Of The Sabbath!

We saw in Matt.11:29-30 that Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We know that in comparison, the Pharisees would place burdens on the people that were too hard to bear (See Matt.23:4; Acts 15:10). And to see this kind of dynamic in action, all we have to do is look at Matt.12:1-14.

First we see Jesus and His disciples innocently walking through grain fields on the Sabbath day, and eating the odd handful of grain. This was actually right within the requirements of the law, as seen in Deut.23:24-25. And yet, these Pharisees were watching closely and must have found some kind of infringement of their laws. The Pharisees, based on Mishnah Shabbat 7:2 noted 39 areas of work that were prohibited on the Sabbath. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find them.

Jesus came to the defence of His disciples, using several arguments: 1) From the life of David (1 Sam.21:1-6), 2) From the fact that the Levites and those who served in The Temple of the Sabbath, worked around the clock doing all kinds of work, 3) That One Greater than The Temple was there (The Temple pointed forward to something or someone greater than itself, 4) That as Lord of the Sabbath, He had the right to interpret the Sabbath the way He did. He was liberating the Sabbath from the rules that men had burdened it with (See Matt.12:3-8).

Now after this, and actually according to Lk.6:6 it was on another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and healed a man who had a withered hand. It would seem that the Pharisees used the man as a pawn to test Jesus to see if He would perform a healing, one that wasn’t life-threatening, on the Sabbath. They would have seen such actions as work, just like the aforementioned 39 rules mentioned earlier. But Jesus demonstrated that they would rescue their own sheep on the Sabbath Day, if it fell into a pit. He used the argument of the lesser to the greater, saying that a man is of more value than a sheep, and so of course it was right and good to heal the man on the Sabbath.

We see from all this just how the Pharisees had ruined the Sabbath and made it a burden to people rather than a day of rest, and Jesus came to free the Sabbath from all such legalistic burdens!

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