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2007-03-25_Lord of the Sabbath_Matthew 12.1-21_SL

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Lord of the Sabbath

Matthew 12:1-21   |   Shaun LePage   |   March 25, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Excerpt from “Churches That Abuse” (below); Jesus: “Don’t pick on the defenseless. I’m the issue.”???

B.    Matthew 1-10—Jesus presenting Himself to Israel as King. Ch 11 begins His rejection. Chs. 12–13 one day; rebellion against King getting more fierce; Rejected John; now rejecting their King.

II.     Body—3 Confrontations in Matthew 12:1-21 (read one section at a time) [Chart]

A.    Confrontation #1 (1-8) [Note: confrontation is necessary when bullies pick on the innocent]

Verses Bullies Innocent Defender
1-8 The Pharisees (v.2) Jesus’ hungry disciples (v.1) Jesus (vs.3-8)

1.     (1-2) Lawful—Deut 23:25. “Not lawful to do on a Sabbath”—the issue—Ex 16:22ff; 20:8-11. Pharisees not strictest sect, original intent to help people know what could and could not be done on Sabbath. Rabbis developed lists of tasks prohibited including sowing, plowing, reaping, but also silliness: carrying a child, tying/untying a knot, writing/erasing 2 letters, sexual intercourse, etc. | So, “picking” was harvesting / work according to rabbis (“grainfields” vague; some type of crop; Lu 6:1 adds “rubbing them in their hands” probably wheat—thresh)

2.     (3-5) Jesus disagreed—2 examples to show Sabbath laws do not restrict deeds of necessity:

a)     (3-4) David—the great king (1 Sam 21) ate what was “unlawful” (not Sabbath); hunger outweighs Sabbath; in fact, rabbis said it was unlawful to fast on the Sabbath—Catch-22!

b)     (5) Num 28:9ff commands priests to work on Sabbath. Serving God outweighs Sabbath.

3.     (6) “Something greater”—Jesus! King—greater than David. Priest—greater than temple or temple priests. Disciples were serving “something greater”—this outweighed Sabbath.

4.     (7) “But…” (also 9:13). They didn’t know what God really wanted! “Compassion” (Hos 6:6, dsj is loyal love, mercy, grace, lovingkindness) not “sacrifice”—adherence to law without inner devotion to God leads to judgmentalism, legalism and “condemning the innocent”.

5.     (8) Question: how do you know what God intended, Jesus? “Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus claimed to be God! He gave Sabbath laws. He can supercede the rabbis’ rules. He knew and kept the spirit of the Sabbath laws because He is Lord of the Sabbath!

B.    Confrontation #2 (9-16):

Verses Bullies Innocent Defender
1-8 The Pharisees (v.2) Jesus’ hungry disciples (v.1) Jesus (vs.3-8)
9-13 “They” (v.9; Pharisees vs.2,14) Man with withered hand (v.10) Jesus (vs.11-16)

1.     (9) “departing…synagogue”—Jesus doing what Jews did on Sabbath—worship at synagogue.

2.     (10) “withered” (ξηρός—scorching/boiled) | “Lawful to heal?” Stupid question! Worse—evil question from evil motives: “so that they might accuse Him.” No compassion!

3.     (11-13) Rabbis allowed some exceptions. “Healing” sick animals was allowed. Jesus argued from their laws this time—“will you not lift a sheep out of a pit?” Expected answer: Of course you will! Then, from lesser to greater: You can heal animals—why not a man? Surely healing outweighed Sabbath laws. Boldly: “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” So He did it! (v.13)—this led to the third confrontation. 

C.    Confrontation #3 (17-21) Jesus “withdrew” from this confrontation—for now. Indication of what was to come! Israel was rejecting her King!

Verses Bullies Innocent Defender
1-8 The Pharisees (v.2) Jesus’ hungry disciples (v.1) Jesus (vs.3-8)
9-13 “They” (v.9; Pharisees vs.2,14) Man with withered hand (v.10) Jesus (vs.11-16)
14-21 The Pharisees (v.14) Jesus (vs.15-16) Father/Isaiah/Bible (vs.17-21)

1.     (14) Was there awe at this miracle? Worship Jesus? Compassion for man—just let it go? No, “conspired against Him…destroy Him.” Legalism blinded them to what was most important.

2.     (15-16) “Aware of this (omniscient), withdrew”—why? Many followed (in contrast to Pharisees) and Jesus “healed them all”! “Warned them not to tell”—why? Not time for final confrontation. He knew they would “conspire/accuse/destroy (kill)” Him—He’d pick the time.

3.     (17-21) “Fulfill” again (at least 7 times before; Jesus is Messiah—preannounced). From Isaiah 42:1-4—longest OT quote in Matt.; What was specifically “fulfilled” here?

a)     (17-18; 21) “My Servant…Beloved” again identifies Jesus as Messiah. “Chosen” One prophets said was coming | “Spirit upon Him” (Trinity; baptism) | “Gentiles” indicates the shift about to take place—sent apostles to “house of Israel”; rejected Messiah to Gentiles.

b)     (19-20) Isaiah revealed character of Messiah: “not quarrel” with opponents; “withdrawal” fits with “not…cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets”; “battered reed…break off / smoldering wick…put out” is a picture of incredible compassion. “Battered reed” on the verge of breaking. “Smoldering wick” on the verge of burning out.

(1)  Compassionate toward the lost (contrast to Pharisees)? Certainly true of Jesus’ character. Goes well with 11:28-30, “weary and heavy-laden”.

(2)  Another possibility: Not going to “finish off” His enemies yet. Compassion allows them even more time. Goes well with “until He leads justice to victory”. He will judge, but for now He is being patient with them—2 Peter 3:9.

III.   Lessons from the Lord of the Sabbath:

A.    Recognize the identity of Jesus. Who is Jesus? Legalists: Sabbath breaker. Jesus called Himself Lord of the Sabbath (God, King, Priest, Messiah/Servant/Beloved, etc.).

B.    Observe the Sabbath through Jesus. Legalists made it exhausting. Jesus made it truly restful (11:28-30). “Shabath” means “rest.”

1.     Must we obey the precept? No!

a)     The Sabbath was a sign for Jews. Ex 31:16-17

b)     The Sabbath was a shadow of Christ. Col 2:13-17

2.     Must we obey the principle? Yes!

a)     The Sabbath is for physical rest. Mark 2:27; Designed to need physical rest—take it!

b)     The Sabbath is for spiritual rest.

(1)  Come to Jesus (11:28-30). “Come” to Him and rest from your own works and He will “give you rest.” “Take (His) yoke” of discipleship and you will “find rest for your weary souls.”

(2)  Worship on “the first day of the week” (not legalistic; because of The Resurrection) and “do good”. Don’t come here to sleep J!

(3)  Heaven will be all Sabbaths. We will experience true and complete eternal rest in God’s presence.

C.    Have compassion like Jesus. Legalists were more concerned with their rules—being right—than with genuinely helping people. Jesus had compassion for people.

D.    Handle the Scriptures like Jesus. Legalists add to because they have “not read” carefully—“Have you not read…if you had known…?” (Rom 10:2-3). Don’t be a spiritual bully: “I prayed about this and you’re wrong!” “God’s not showing you the truth.” Misuse of Scripture: Taking verses out of context, arguing from silence, getting bent out of shape because someone disagrees with your interpretation, etc. Read very carefully and gracefully.

IV.  Closing: Pastor found roads blocked one Sunday morning; forced to skate on the river to get to church. The elders of the church were horrified that their preacher had skated on the Lord’s day. After service meeting pastor explained it was either skate or not go at all. One elder asked, “Did you enjoy it?” Preacher answered, “No,” board decided it was all right! (Today in the Word, MBI, December, 1989, p. 12.)

! Excerpt from "Churches That Abuse"

1992 Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, Michigan; A division of Harper Collins Publishers; pages 197-200; By Ronald M. Enroth

Bruce Hogan says the he has been "recovering nicely" after six terrible years in the very militant Potters House, also variously known as La Puerta (or, The Door), Victory Chapel, or Christian Fellowship Church, based in Prescott Arizona. Bruce, with no grounding in the Bible, was just beginning Southwest Missouri University when members of the Potters House first arrived in town. Impressed by their zealousness, and influenced by their concern, he joined their ranks in 1984.

Bruce was self-supporting while at Southeast Missouri State. Not only did he work full-time and take a full course load, he also became involved in all the fellowship activities, outreaches, revival meetings, and regular services of the church. After a few months of little sleep and failing, he landed in the hospital from sheer exhaustion. The attending physician told him to stop the whirlwind of activity or he would be dead in weeks. However, with his salvation at stake, Bruce continued, and, as he puts it, "sacrificed my higher critical thinking faculties" to the leadership of the Potters House. Week after week of meetings and revivals that lasted late into the night had done their job and caused him to "just stop thinking."

He describes the Potters House movement as very aggressive, strong on church planting, militantly committed, and very anti-intellectual. Bruce's inquisitive nature and analytical mind were always considered a manifestation of rebellion. When he attempted to show one of the elders that his teaching was not in line with the Scriptures, he was violently rebuked and told, "I am the shepherd. You are the sheep. God is my head and covering, and I am answerable only to Him. And don't you forget it." It is Bruce's opinion that the Potters House attracts those with altruistic natures who know little or nothing about God and the Scriptures but who are on a spiritual quest.

After six years of pastoral and psychological abuse, Bruce and his new wife left the Potters House. The Potters House shunned the Hogans. They were told that they were going to hell and that they had never been saved. They were also slandered by the leadership. "I was sacrificing babies in my basement or was a homosexual, or whatever." Eventually they left everything and moved away.

Having no church to go to that he felt he could trust, Bruce said, "The heck with it. I'm going to stay at home and read my Bible. 'Every man to his tent.'" Over six month's time, primarily because of being laid up from a severe, work related back injury, Bruce came to know the truth in Scripture. Feeling very old now, he says, "God's people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. I would have become a heretic if God had not put me on my back for six months. All I did was read the Bible."

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