Matthew 12:1-8 – “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” NKJV
As I look back on the years I laugh and cry over the Phariseeism of many in the Church. This account has always stood out to me and given both comfort and confrontation. The Holy Spirit has used it to remind me of the danger of becoming legalistic and ritualistic. Through the years I have been around preachers who would blast people for working on Sunday but would lead the crowd to the restaurant after church for lunch. I have heard sermons on the sin of hunting or fishing on Sunday but then hear a promotion of the upcoming Cowboys game and even a viewing party in the church fellowship hall. I guess we tend to kill the sacred cows we don’t want.
Here the Pharisees were incredibly upset with the disciples for “working” on the Sabbath by gathering ears of corn and eating them. How dare the disciples, for the Law of the Pharisees demanded no work be done and that was considered work. I find it most interesting that they were not even remotely concerned with the disciples taking someone else’s corn. Justice was not their strong suite but keeping every jot and tittle of their law was. Their self-righteousness was enhanced by their strict compliance but justice and mercy were secondary.
Jesus took their exceptions and exposed their hypocrisy pointing to that which is most important – – Messiah! He forced them to come face to face with Mercy and that is a message that we dare not forget. Mercy truly rewrote my life and yours! Without God’s mercy and grace we would be in a world of hurt. It is not our great sacrifice or strict compliance with some man-made list of rules that justifies it is God’s Grace! It is possible to become so zealous for the minute that we miss the vital.
God help us to realize that God is the focus not a particular day of the week. God help us to remember that it is by Grace that we are saved not by our compliance to a list of rules and our comparison to others. Yes, I know what day it is and I also know that the LORD is Lord of the Sabbath and every other day of the week. This is the day the Lord has created and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
God bless you as you go through this day!