TEXT: Matthew 12:1-8:
1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Bob Utley said, “By the time of Jesus, the Sabbath had become anything but a day of rest. What should have been a blessing became a burden! But Jesus invited them to come to Him for the true Sabbath rest, for He alone is Lord of the Sabbath, and only in Him can one find rest for your souls. Dear reader, are you still working to try to merit God’s favor? Are you burdened? Then you need to come to Jesus and enter His rest!”
In our last message in this series, we looked at how Jesus gave the example of David and his friends eating the consecrated bread of the temple to counter the Pharisees who tried to condemn the disciples for eating the corn out of the field. First, we saw that work out of necessity is allowed on the Sabbath. Second, we saw that the work of God’s ministry is allowed on the Sabbath.
Third, Jesus gave an example from the prophets to show God’s true desire. In Matthew 12:7, Jesus says, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 here, which reads, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” This is not the only time that Jesus quotes this verse to the Pharisees. He also does in Matthew 9:13, where he also states “for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew Henry said, “Ceremonial duties must give way to moral, and the natural, royal law of love and self-preservation must take place of ritual observances. The rest of the sabbath was ordained for man’s good, in favour of the body.. Now no law must be construed so as to contradict its own end. If you had known what this means, had known what it is to be of a merciful disposition, you would have been sorry that they were forced to do this to satisfy their hunger, and would not have condemned the guiltless. Note, First, Ignorance is the cause of our rash and uncharitable censures of our brethren. Secondly, It is not enough for us to know the scriptures, but we must labour to know the meaning of them. Let him that readeth understand. Thirdly, Ignorance of the meaning of the scripture is especially shameful in those who take upon them to teach others.” The sacrifices that the Jews were ordered to make were important and not to be ignored. The “sacrifices” that Christians are ordered to make in obedience to God are also required. But God doesn’t want your sacrifices if you aren’t doing it with obedience in your heart. He wants us to treat our fellow men with mercy in our hearts just as God shows mercy to us in sacrificing His Son. If we must break a religious tradition in order to show God’s mercy to someone who needs it, God not only allows it, but prefers it.
In the conclusion to this passage, Jesus “pulls rank” on the Pharisees. In verse 6, Jesus says, “That in this place is one greater than the temple.” In verse 8, Jesus says, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Earlier Jesus pointed out that the temple is more important than the Sabbath. It follows that the God that the temple points to is also more important than the Sabbath. Jesus is declaring himself to be God, and thereby declaring that He has the authority to define what keeping the Sabbath really means. David Guzik said, “This principle was the most dramatic, based on who Jesus is. He is greater than the temple, even as much as they honored and valued the temple. Even more so, He is Lord even of the Sabbath. This was a direct claim to Deity. Jesus said that He had the authority to know if His disciples broke the Sabbath law, because He is the Lord even of the Sabbath. Jesus was indeed greater than the temple. Considering how highly the temple was regarded in the days of Jesus, this was a shocking statement. Yet the temple as it stood in Jesus’ day did not have the ark of the covenant, that important demonstration of the throne and presence of God. Yet Jesus was a much greater demonstration of the presence of God – He was God made flesh! The temple also lacked the Shekinah, the Urim and Thummim, and the sacred fire from heaven. Yet Jesus is all these things to us; He is surely greater than the temple. Since Jesus is greater than the temple, we should regard Him as so. The temple was admired with love and wonder; we should admire Jesus even more. The temple was joyfully visited; we should come to Jesus with even more joy. The temple was honored as a holy place; we should honor Jesus even more so. The temple was a place of sacrifice and service; we should do even more for Jesus. The temple was a place for worship; we should worship Jesus even more.” Just like everything else in the world, the law has been put in the hand of Christ. God has put aside one day out of the week for us to rest, but that day is still the Lord’s day, to be dedicated to Christ like the rest of our lives.
Fanny Crosby said:
We thank Thee, O Lord, for a Sabbath of rest;
A day of all others the brightest and best;
A day that observed and respected should be,—
‘Twas made for Thy worship, ‘tis sacred to Thee.
We thank Thee, O Lord, for a Sabbath of rest;
A day that so richly Thy presence hath blest;
A day when our vigor and strength, we renew,
While onward, and upward, our path we pursue.
And when the last Sabbath shall fade from our sight,
Prepare us to enter the mansions of light;
And there, with the just and the faithful to spend
A Sabbath in glory, that never shall end.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 18:8: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.