Matthew chapter 12 makes me laugh a bit! Jesus was innocently walking through a grain field with His disciples. The disciples were hungry so they plucked a few grains to eat. Apparently they were not alone in the area. The Pharisees saw what was going on and accused Jesus about the disciples’ behavior. I mean, who watches people walk through a grain field? This suggests to me that they were actively looking for something to accuse Jesus with. They told Him…
“Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath!” Matthew 12:2
It is almost like they said, “Aha! We caught you all breaking a law! What do you have to say for yourself?” They thought they caught Jesus being an accessory to breaking the law about grain and Sundays. A few things we can learn from this:
The Pharisees told Jesus to look. I guess they assumed Jesus did not know what His disciples were doing? They said, “Look!” to tell Him they caught them in the act. Do they not know Jesus sees everything? If they truly believed Jesus was who He said He was, I wonder if they would accuse Him. How could anyone accuse Jesus? He is God after all! Jesus sees all. we do not need to tell Him to look at someone else’s supposed wrong.
Jesus could have just said, “You are not the boss of me or my disciples,” but, He didn’t. He gave the Pharisees specific examples of others doing things against the law on the Sabbath in the temple, yet remaining blameless. He basically tells them they are missing the point and that He has authority.
“He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12: 6-8
Jesus is merciful. He exhibits the mercy that He tells the Pharisees about. He could have only said the last line of His answer to them. “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.” But, He didn’t. He stopped to explain, to those who disrespected Him. Isn’t He so awesome in everything He does?
We need to be merciful toward others, because Jesus is merciful towards us. John and I were talking last night about our upbringing. I had a consistent faithful example from my parents and church family, as to how to follow the Lord. John did too. Despite our similar upbringings, we both failed the Lord at times. He was merciful to us, though, even though we went to church and knew The Commandments and much of God’s Word. Jesus didn’t say to us. “Shame on you. You should have known better.” He said, “I have mercy on you. You are forgiven.” We can have mercy on others, even if we think they should have known better.
One for the Journal- In our hearts, do we harbor any resentment towards someone for something they did? When we think we know right from wrong, it is tempting to hold a grudge against someone, especially when they hurt you. In your journal, list some things you have been tempted to judge someone for. Then, pray for those people. If they have hurt you, choose to have mercy on them as Jesus does on us.
You are a great Father, teacher, guide and Forgiver of sins! Give us more of Your love so it cannot help but spill out to others in mercy. Guide us as we read Your Word to follow Your example of being merciful. We want to be like You. Only Your righteousness and mercy has any hope of making us that way. Thank You for doing all You do for us every day. Even in the hard times, we will praise You. You are Lord of every day! We love You!
Love and prayers to all of you!
Just me. Just His.