Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 6 – A Withering Response

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

Our last post spoke of the hardened heart within the Pharisee, and how accusation was the goal of their question.  How did Jesus respond?

Let’s enter into the passage again.

Sheep or Men

Sheep in a pitMatthew 12:11  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?

Here the Messiah introduces a simple consideration, a real life situation that all sheep owners can relate to.  It is a question that obviously requires an answer in the affirmative.  Of course the Pharisees would lift their own sheep out of the pit.

Is their sheep’s life in danger?

Not likely.

Would lifting a 40 lb sheep be considered work according to the Pharisees?

Slightly obvious answer to that question when you consider that rubbing wheat  together in your hands constitutes “illegal” work.  (How inconsistent!)

Matthew 12:12  Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Jesus then brings out the unanswerable response.  If they answered, they would condemn their own doctrine.  Trapped.  (Is He ever good at this logic thing.)

You see, the argument compares the owners of the victim.

Notice that He is also teaching these Pharisees that He is the Creator/Owner of the man with the withered hand, and by extension each of us in our withered lives.  The Pharisee would rescue their property, that is the sheep.  The Messiah is willing to rescue His “property”, that is the man with the withered hand

But the argument also hinges on the value of the victim!

A sheep and a man are of totally different value.  One was a sacrificial animal, supplying food and clothing until it’s death.  The other, the broken and crippled man, Jesus died for.

Of how much more worth is the soul of a man?


 

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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 5 – An Accusation

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

In our last post, we found that Jesus culminated His logical refutation of the Pharisees claims by stating He is the ultimate authority.   Jesus applied logic to the situation, and yet the religious heart is so resilient in it’s stubbornness.  Irrefutable logic enters not a hardened heart.

The conclusion – He is Lord over the Sabbath.  He is Lord of all.

In the following posts, Jesus reveals His authority in the midst of the Pharisees, in their synagogue, reinforcing His logical argument with an act of love for a poor crippled man.

 Matthew 12:9-14

Let’s continue considering the Sabbath in relation to the Messiah, and by association with His followers

Matthew 12:9  He went on from there and entered their synagogue.

I get the impression that Jesus went directly from the field to the synagogue.  He entered their synagogue.  He went straight to the “fight”.  He didn’t shy away from a controversy, although there are many times when He simply refused to enter into an argument with someone.  This is wisdom personified.  (Lord give me wisdom!)

Consider when the Pharisees caught a woman in adultery (John 8:36).  He simply bent down and started writing in the sand. No defense or rebuttal.  A simple action.

But this is not the Messiah’s approach here.  It seems He sees the Sabbath laws that the people of Israel were under as an issue that required addressing and what better place than the very synagogue that produced the instigators in the previous passage.

Matthew 12:10  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.

Will these folks never learn?

I am assuming that those instigators that met Jesus and His disciples in the field earlier in the day made it back to their synagogues just in time to enter into a discussion with the Lord.  Golly – If that is true, what a tenacious faith in the ultimate priority of the Sabbath.  They were soundly refuted earlier, but they just gotta keep trying.

How often do we keep trying to justify a practice, habit, lifestyle, religious way in front of the Lord before we give in, and finally admit that we are wrong.  That is, if we admit it.  Sadly we may have fought against a certain truth so long that it has become a non-issue for our lives. We won the argument, but sadly lost so much.

That is so so sad.  The importance of keeping short accounts with the Lord could not be more obvious for me out of this short passage.  Be quick to admit your error, confess, agree with the Lord on the rebellion you may be in.

He is merciful to the wayward.  They (we) only want to accuse Him.  May we be more like Him and less like me.


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 4 – My Authority!

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

Our last post dealt with the Master comparing Himself with the Temple.  In this post, He continues to ramp up the argument by fully expressing His authority.

Two Authorities

Matthew 12:7  And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

This is the second time Jesus tells the Pharisees of Hosea 6:6.  It seems to fit the need for these Pharisees, to be confronted with a re prioritization of values for their lives.

Jesus states that the Pharisees didn’t understand the Scriptures they claimed to live by and declares His disciples as guiltless.

God despises religion that places a requirement beyond love, and this is what the nation of Israel had done.

Religion often reverses the intentions of God in His creation.  Note in the parallel occurrence, where Jesus add the following clarification

Mark 2:27  And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Religion grasps onto a gift and makes it a law.  The Sabbath was given to the nation of Israel as a gift to man.  The Pharisees had developed the Sabbath, with good intentions, I am sure, into a burden for man to carry.

Two authorities to choose from.  One authority based on the thought of man, and his desire to protect the law of God (which eventually crucifies the author of that very law!)

The greater authority is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

He is authoritative over the Sabbath, not the Sabbath over Him.

So Carl, are you saying that the Old Testament Sabbath day of rest has no authority over the believer.

Consider the New Testaments teaching on ultimate authority.

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Who is the authority in your life?

There can only be one authority in anyone’s life. If the Lord Jesus states we are to observe the Sabbath, we must observe the Sabbath.  If you are unsure if He has taught that, see my blog post “Commandments for Christians – No Working on the Sabbath”

 


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 3 – A Greater Temple

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

In our last post we saw that Jesus’s first response to the Pharisees, Jesus compared Himself to King David.  By extension, His followers were compared to Davids followers, and the “sinful” act they performed by eating food allowed only for the priests.

The story was perfect, and the comparisons of the two Kings refuted the Pharisees claim.  This first response could have completed the discussion but Jesus continues.

Two Temples

Matthew 12:5  Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?

During the Sabbath, the priests were super busy.  Work work work.  The blood was a flowing and them sheep didn’t die without help!  All the offerings and sacrifices were labor intensive and the priests had to supply on the Sabbath for the Temple activities.

The temple servants were not held to the Sabbath rules, as well did the Pharisees know.  Jesus takes advantage of this.

Matthew 12:6  I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.

Using this exception for the servants of the temple, Jesus laid out His second reasoning in defending His followers of their actions.

He is the Greater Temple.

And as they were discussing in the grain field, Jesus claimed that the Greater Temple was right in front of them.

The Greater Temple has the authority over the activities of His servants.

As an aside, when I first started to realize that all things in the Old Testament were simply shadows of the Lord Jesus Christ, my mind was blown.  I still come back to missing such truths as

  • Jesus is the real Promised Land
  • He is the new Jerusalem
  • The Lord is the Tabernacle, not made with hands

Are you “missing” the greatness of the Lord Jesus?  He is tha Alpha nad the Omega, and all things in the Old Testament were written as a type of His person and ministry.

One challenge for my reader – Consider all the sacrifices in the Old Testament, and how they typify the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus, of His character and actions while on this blue ball.

Please join me a s we venture into additional passages in the New Testament, and find out how Jesus relates to the Sabbath.


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 2 -Whose Authority?

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

In our last post we spoke of how the Pharisees relied on the authority of the traditions of the elders to claim the disciples were in sin due to rubbing grain together.  It astounds me that the law exercised could result in the death of any person due to rubbing grain together on a Sabbath day.

Let’s continue in our passage and consider how the Lord brought His authority to the Pharisees

Two Kings

Matthew 12:3  He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:

Jesus likened Himself and His disciples to King David and his band of followers.  This is amazing, since the Messiah is often referred to as David’s Son, and the comparison would not be lost on the Pharisees.

Both Jesus and David’s followers were hungry, but with David’s situation, they  took and ate the holy shew bread, only allowed for the priests.  It seems Jesus disciples simply broke a “rule” of harvesting grain on the Sabbath (that men had created.)

Note that Jesus picked a time in David’s life that, although he was anointed as King of Israel, he was on the run, under persecution from the ruling government of Israel.  Is that not like the condition Jesus was in at the time.  The anointed King Jesus was not accepted by the current ruler.  His followers were, and are despised and rejected, as the Leader is.

Matthew 12: 4  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?

King Davids followers broke a law of God, in that they ate which was only for the priests.  King Jesus’s disciples rubbed grain on the wrong day, and the Pharisees in the wrong way.

In this argument, the food was less sacred, the law being “broken” was less sacred (it was a tradition of the elders) and the King being followed is greater!  Every factor in this comparison fights against the Pharisees initial claim!

This initial argument hinges on the identification of the Lord Jesus as likened to King David.

You see, King Jesus has authority over His subjects. 

The Pharisees rules – they can keep them for themselves.


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 1 – Rubbing Grain

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

Let’s start considering the topic of Sabbath keeping in relation to Christians by reviewing Matthew 12:1-8, where Jesus addresses the Pharisees about eating some grain.

Yep that is right – they got into “it” over His disciples rubbing and eating a handful of grain!

Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.

GrainOn a Sabbath day, Jesus and His disciples were traveling through some grain fields.  It seems a bit strange that grown men walk through grain fields, but in this case, it may have been to extract a bit of sustenance.  You see, in ancient Israel, it was perfectly legal for standing fields of grain to be a local snack station.

Check out Deuteronomy 23:25

Deuteronomy 23:25 If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.

You can’t harvest any of your neighbors grain for the year of course, but a snack for the day was perfectly legal and acceptable.  For Jesus and His disciples, it was snack time, since His disciples were hungry.  (Christians can suffer hunger? – You bet!)

Matthew 12: 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”

What were the disciples doing that was so unlawful? Kindly remember that the Pharisees had set up volumes of traditions over centuries of studying, intending to protect the law of God. 

In my research, I found a “rule” that the Pharisees may be referring to.

“he that reaps on the Sabbath day, ever so little, is guilty of stoning, and plucking of ear of grain is a derivative of reaping.”

The Pharisees may be appealing to this authority.  They could stone (capital punishment) someone for rubbing grains of wheat in their hand.  Wow – is there not something wrong with this thinking?

The Pharisees follow their Judaism based on the authority of the elders traditions.  The Lord also bases His response on authority.

He brings “authority” to them in three arguments, or rebuttals.  Three rebuttals that will follow in our following posts.

Hope you can return as we Consider the Bible and how we are to relate to the Sabbath.

 


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Verse List

jesus-the-grain-field

The following passages are a listing of every occurrence of “Sabbath” in the new Testament, supplied for those who would like to pursue this study a bit further.


Matthew 12:1 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.

Matthew 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:10 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.

Matthew 12:11 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?

Matthew 12:12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Matthew 24:20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.

Mark 2:23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.

Mark 2:24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

Mark 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2:28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mark 3:2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.

Mark 3:4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?

Mark 15:42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.

Luke 4:31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath,

Luke 6:1 On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands.

Luke 6:2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”

Luke 6:5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered.

Luke 6:7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.

Luke 6:9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?”

Luke 13:10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.

Luke 13:14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”

Luke 13:15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?

Luke 13:16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

Luke 14:1 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully.

Luke 14:3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”

Luke 14:5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?”

Luke 23:54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.

Luke 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

John 5:9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.

John 5:10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”

John 5:16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 7:22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.

John 7:23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?

John 9:14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.

John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

John 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.

Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

Acts 13:14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.

Acts 13:27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.

Acts 13:42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath.

Acts 13:44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.

Acts 15:21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.

Acts 17:2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Colossians 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

Hebrews 4:9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Introduction

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

Consider John 5:18 in light of the importance of the Sabbath to the Jewish nation?  Sabbath observance was a matter of life and death!  Note than John was giving two reasons the Jews were trying to kill the Messiah; equality with God, and breaking the Sabbath.

John 5:18
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

I get the equal with God thing – Jesus is God manifest in the flesh.  (Deal with it – every day of your life friend.)

But Jesus  breaking Sabbath?  How could Jesus (God manifest in the flesh) be breaking His own law?  That is the definition of sin!

But hold on to your hat.  Jesus informs us just one verse prior that the Father works on the Sabbath

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

thetraditionsoftheelders.jpg

Okay – now I’m seriously messed up again!

How could God the Father and His Messiah be breaking the 4th commandment and things still exist.  God cannot go against His own authority – that is impossible!

Okay – here is a solution.

I wonder if John is simply referring to the Sabbath traditions of the elders, but not the written commandment delivered by angels through Moses!

Unless something else is going on…

Come join me as we venture down this path of Jesus on the Sabbath.


By the way, I will be posting a list of New Testament verses that include the word Sabbath for those who may be interested in pursuing this study on their own – Highly recommended!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I am looking forward to visiting with you in our next post.


 

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Tradition and the Calf Path

calf-path

One more time where I find a poem in my travels that teaches more than I expected.  I hope you enjoy.


by Sam Walter Foss

Tradition and the Calf Path

One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.

And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed — do not laugh —
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.

The following is the core of the matter.

A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.


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