Matthew 12:1-14 – It’s the Sabbath

Read Matthew 12:1-14

What do you do on your Sabbath? I can’t say that I’ve never worked on a Sabbath. There are meals to prepare and shopping to be done. But I am definitely more intentional about spending quiet time with God. I rest my mind and soul as well to prepare for the week to come. David and I even have a “meeting” to discuss our goals and set priorities for the week. That activity alone brings me peace.

I’m not sure I could be as legalistic as the Pharisees. The disciples were hungry. Snapping off wheat while walking along is certainly not what I would consider “harvesting.” Sure, a few grains were gone, “harvested”, but it was to satisfy the human need of hunger. Didn’t you like Jesus’ response? He brought up the example of David and his men, eating the priest’s bread. That would certainly be a no-no, and yet he got away with it.

Jesus also declared, “For the Son of Man [Jesus] is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” He challenged the Pharisees, telling them they “would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’” What was Jesus saying? Did they have their priorities mixed up? Were they too focused on rules and not compassionate enough?

The Pharisees were starting to be bothered by Jesus. They were already trying to trap him. Jesus wanted to heal the man with the deformed hand. Was that considered work? That makes me think that healing was a commonplace occurrence. There were healers but they weren’t apparently allowed to work on the Sabbath. Again, Jesus gives an example of a sheep falling into a pit. Surely quite a bit of work is required to fix that situation.

But the best of all is when Jesus says, “Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he heals the man’s hand. That should be our guide. Are we doing “good”? That is allowed. And priests on duty may work on the Sabbath. That’s good because David and I are both “working” when we lead worship and bring the message at church on Sunday. I have always seen that as a tribute to God and part of my sabbath. We may be leading the people, but we are worshiping God. That is who we are “working” for.

There will always be people around us that want to stir up trouble. It’s not just bullying in the schoolyard anymore. It is grown adults with a chip on their shoulder trying to bring others down to their level. Why is it that some people want to pull everyone else into the muck with them? I don’t think they even realize they are in the muck. They just don’t want to suffer alone and want everyone else to feel miserable, too. Those are the ones we need to pray for.

Let’s pray. Lord, help me to be more merciful and less worried about rules. I do want to follow you and be in your will. That may mean I’ll pluck some grain on the sabbath. Thank you that you are okay with that. You know my heart. You know my desire to do good and help others. May my servant’s heart continue to grow! Forgive me when I get distracted and lose our connection. I am always scrambling to get it back. Clear your away in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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