Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath: 12:1-14.
(Read Matt 12:1-14)
Matthew gives us two examples of how Jesus brings relief to spiritually burdened people. Pharisees had added many religious activities to the law which were not given in the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:8-11). They accused disciples for eating the grain on Sabbath. They also blamed Jesus for healing a man on Sabbath. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for the way they observed Sabbath day holy (Ex 20:8-11). Jesus wants us to see that the purpose of the Sabbath law was to show mercy to human beings and animals from hard labor (12:8). The Sabbath was given to rest from hard labor. The Pharisees missed the point of the Sabbath law (Matt 12:7). Jesus cautions that man-made doctrines should not violate God’s mercy and kindness. If they become hindrance to obey Christ, we need to reject them. Showing mercy is more importance than observing religious rituals. In the Old Testament Priest ate loaves and offered sacrifices on Sabbath day (Leviticus 24:5-9; Numbers 28:9). Pharisees rescued their sheep fell in to a pit on Sabbath day. Jesus asked them “How much more valuable is a person than a sheep?” This passage shows that Jesus had the right to interpret the Mosaic law. Jesus desired mercy and not sacrifices (Matt 12:7). But Pharisees planned to kill Jesus. Jesus is the creator and Lord of the Sabbath, so he has the right to interpret the law. Though David and the people with him ate the bread reserved for priest, he was not condemned (1 Sam 21:1-6). The believers are set free from observing Sabbath because they have entered into eternal rest in Christ (Col 2:15-16). It is noteworthy that in the New Testament all the Ten Commandments are quoted except the observance of Sabbath day. God accepts worship and service that comes from our hearts. Pray that God would protect us from man made religious activities.
Behold My Servant: 12:15-32.
(Read Matt 12:15-32)
Jesus healed the sick by the power of God. It was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 42:1-4). He came to make known the righteousness of God to Gentiles. Salvation of the nations have been clearly predicated in the Old Testament. Christ did not come to crush bruised reed and quench smoking wick. Jesus is gentle to the weak and never rejects those who are wounded in their conscience. Jesus healed a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute. The people amazed at the miracle and said “Could this be the Son of David”. But the Pharisees said Jesus healed this man by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demon. Jesus replied "If Satan is casting out Satan, he is fighting against himself and his own kingdom will not survive". Jesus said “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven but the sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matt 12:31). This sin is deliberate rejection of Christ and his salvation. Their sin is their settled conviction that Jesus is evil. Thus they committed the unpardonable sin of rejecting Christ. Pray that God would help you to find your confidence not in your performance but in the finished work of Christ.
The Sign of Jonah: 12:33-50.
(Read Matt 12:33-50)
The Pharisees accused Jesus of using demonic power (Matt 12:24). This is the ultimate sin against God. A persons's inner spiritual condition becomes clear in the things he speaks. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (12:34). A tree is known by its fruit. If our heart is filled with love, we will also express love in action. Someone has said "Before we speak. think: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”. The religious leaders demanded that Jesus should perform miraculous sign to prove his identity (Matt 12:38). Jesus said that the only sign he gives them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. Jesus' divine identity is revealed by the miracle of his resurrection from the dead on the third day (Matt 12:40). Jonah himself was a sign to Nineveh because he was in whale’s belly for three days before he went to Nineveh to preach. They repented when they heard about the coming judgment (Jonah 3:1-10). Pharisees saw many signs yet they did not repent. Jesus said "Nineveh will rise up against them on the judgment day". Jesus claims that he is greater than Jonah. Yet Pharisees did not repent of their sins (Matt 12:41). Our religious heritage or familiarity with the Bible will not save us. The queen of Sheba came to hear Solomon. Jesus claims that he is greater than Solomon. But Pharisees refused to obey Jesus. The queen of Sheba will rise up against them on the Day of Judgment. Repentance alone will not save. It should be followed by faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Otherwise our moral state may become worse than before (Matt 12:43-45). Jesus calls our attention away from earthly relationship to spiritual relationships (Matt 12:49). Jesus’ mother and brothers have no special access to his presence (John 7:1-5; Mk 3:21). Jesus said "Whoever does the will of God are my brothers and sisters". A believer is closer to Christ than his own physical relatives (John 6:28-29). Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?