Monday, December 19, 2011

Lord of the Sabbath- Mathew 12:1-13

This is a sermon report on the Sabbath and what we are to do on this day.

V.1-2 Here on their way to the temple, the twelve disciples, who had probably not had time to eat before because of the teaching that had been going on before, were plucking and eating the heads of grain in the fields that they were walking through.

At this time there were laws that the religious leaders would take from the scriptures concerning the Sabbath and interpret them on their own understanding, without looking to other commands given in the scriptures to see what the laws really meant.

When the Pharisees see the disciples plucking and eating the grain, they start to accuse them of not acting lawfully on the Sabbath. In v.3-8 Jesus answers to the pharisees by telling them about David when he was running for his life from King Saul (1 Samuel 21:1-6).  We see that Ahimelech was afraid when he saw David coming to him alone. This was the David that slew the giant and was a famous warrior. Why would he be coming to him (Ahimelech?)

David then obviously lies to the priest about why he is there, and asks for food. The only food  in the temple was the show-bread, which David probably knew was there. The show-bread was reserved for the priest's use in their ceremonies. Ahimelech gives the bread to David which was an act of mercy on his part.

Jesus also gives the example of the priest's in the Old Testament. He talks about how they would do double the amount of work on Sabbath while all of it was for the Lord and in obedience to Gods commands. He shows through reasoning how they are always adding to the laws of God and condemning people when it was completely lawful for them to do simple things like obey the law of God in taking food to someones house to feast with them. While their law-book would say that they could not carry anything larger than a fig out of their house.That wouldn't be much of a feast if all each person had was a fig!

The rules that the religious leaders added to the true law of God are ridiculous and in no way seen in any part of the Bible. The commands of the Bible for the Sabbath always work together, but the religious leaders would take one command from the scriptures and take it to mean something else when if you look at other commands you would know the command differently and completely without you having to try to reason what it means. To interpret scripture you must look and search the scriptures. What God wants us to know, He explains in His word.

Jesus tells the pharisees that He desires mercy and not sacrifice. In  Mathew11:30 we see that the Lord delivers us from the burden that we carry when we are not saved.God made the Sabbath for man and not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not to be a burden for man. But when the religious leaders make a bunch of rules for the Sabbath that were not specifically commanded in the Scripture they make it a burden.
God did not desire that we make sacrifices to try to please God on the Sabbath. Instead, he desires to take one day and give it to man to rest their bodies and souls in the things of God. This is the will of God in giving us a day off from the work and burden of this world and to rest in Him. He also desires us to act mercifully to others, and to do the will of God in showing the love and mercy of God in our actions. Jesus demonstrates this later in healing the man with the withered hand.

Jesus in V.9-13 shows that we are allowed to do things that would be an act of mercy to others. Like maybe to go to the store and buy medicine for someone who is sick if you have no medicine available or no one to ask for some.

What we are to do on the Sabbath:  In Isaiah 58:13-14 it talks about not doing what we would and should usually do on  the other six days of the week. Meaning that we shouldn't seek the pleasures of this world for our own comfort. We are to do what God commands us on this day which is to think completely on Him the whole Sabbath and to do His mercies to others. This should be a delight to Christians. But this command is also given to all of creatures (Ex. 20:8-10) it doesn't just say those that are saved.
 In Nehemiah 13:15-18 we are clearly shown that to sell or to buy for our own gain is profaning the Sabbath. We are to trust God in providing for us on the Sabbath. We are told to provide and get ready for the Sabbath before it begins so that we will not be distracted from thinking on Him the whole day. Even though, because of our sinful nature, we cannot possibly think on God the whole day, we as Christians are to have a desire and make an effort to do just that. We who are sons of God have the gift of repentance when we do not obey this command perfectly. But we should have the desire to do this perfectly.

One other thing that I want to show is that God knows what we need. We also have a picture in the Sabbath of being freed from the penalties of sin. In Genesis 3:17-19 God punishes Adam and all future by saying that for the rest of time man will always have to work to eat and survive. On the Sabbath we are commanded not to work on this day. We are not held to work to survive on this day but to delight in God the whole Sabbath without being distracted by the things of this world.
When we say that it is okay to work on the Sabbath we are saying that God should be like Pharaoh in Egypt when he would not let the people of Israel rest on the Sabbath. This is blaspheming the name of God.

Later in Mathew 12:14 we see the irony of all this when after debating with Jesus the pharisees break the Sabbath by plotting to kill Jesus and committing murder in their hearts.

These are some of the things that we are to do and not to do on the Sabbath. There are more commands concerning the Sabbath but I won't post about them now.

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