Saturday, January 8, 2022
In Charge of the Sabbath
12 1-2 One Sabbath, Jesus was strolling with his disciples through a field of ripe grain. Hungry, the disciples were pulling off the heads of grain and munching on them. Some Pharisees reported them to Jesus: “Your disciples are breaking the Sabbath rules!”
3-5 Jesus said, “Really? Didn’t you ever read what David and his companions did when they were hungry, how they entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, bread that no one but priests was allowed to eat? And didn’t you ever read in God’s Law that priests carrying out their Temple duties break Sabbath rules all the time, and it’s not held against them?
-Matthew 12:1-5 The Message
12 Verse 1: At that time, Jesus went through on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.
Verse 2: Now, when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath!”
Verses 1-2 studies: The Pharisees set 39 categories of forbidden actions on the Sabbath, based on God’s law and Jewish custom. Harvesting is one of those prohibited actions on the Sabbath. According to religious leaders, the disciples’ picking harvest by picking wheat and rubbing their hands were harvesting. Jesus and the disciples picked grain because they were hungry, not because they wanted a profit. Therefore, they were not working on the Sabbath. But the Pharisees did not want to see past the law’s technicalities. They did not have compassion, and they were determined to accuse Jesus of breaking the law.
It is important to understand context, and these five verses are an excellent example of why context is essential. Not all situations are the same. So understand the problem, have compassion because you never know why things happen; if they look like they were breaking the law, they may not be. Don’t get caught up in law that it blinds you of the actual situation because it could be you looking for the same empathy when others accuse you.
Verse 3: But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions—
Verse 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?
Verse 4 study: The consecrated bread story is in 1 Samuel 21:1-6. This is the bread that is replaced every week. The old loaves were eaten by priests. The loaves given to David were old loaves that were replaced with fresh ones. Even though the priests were the only ones allowed to eat the bread, God did not punish David because the need for food was important than priestly regulations. Instead, Jesus said, “If you condemn me, you must also condemn David,” which is something the religious leaders would never do without causing an uproar among the people. Jesus wasn’t condoning disobedience to God’s laws; instead, he reminded discernment and compassion in enforcing the laws.
Verse 5: Or have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbath, the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?
Verse 5 study: The Ten Commandments prohibit work on the sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11). That’s the letter of the law. The purpose of the Sabbath is to rest and worship God, but the priests were allowed to work to perform sacrifices and conduct worship services. This “Sabbath work” was serving and worshipping God. Jesus always reminded people intent of the law, the meaning behind the letter. The Pharisees had lost their spirit of the law and were rigidly demanding that the letter and interpretation be obeyed.
Matthew 12:10; Luke 13:14; 14:3; Jon 5:10, 7:23; 9:16
1 Samuel 21:6
Father, I have an issue when sharing your Word with others. It’s also mentioned in the Bible, and I see it when talking to other believers. They make you look like a scary person like they don’t belong because they are not perfect. There is no empathy for those wanting to know you; instead, it is you are not good enough and constantly keep bringing up sins and past affairs. I pray today that we can enter any situation with love and care and tell the truth with empathy. It is a difference between ignorance and politeness. Let us be polite with love and wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.