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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2019.02.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 12:1-8

Questions for Littles: On what day was Jesus going through the grain fields (Matthew 12:1)? Why did His disciples begin to pluck heads of grain to eat (verse 1)? What did the Pharisees claim that the disciples were breaking (Matthew 12:2)? Of whom else’s hunger does Jesus remind them in Matthew 12:3? Why would the priests give that crowd their own bread (Matthew 12:4)? Who worked on the Sabbath according to Matthew 12:5? What made their work lawful? Who is greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6)? What did the Pharisees value more than sacrifice (Matthew 12:7)? What does God value more? Who calls Himself the Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew 12:8? What else does He call Himself in verse 8?
This week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Confession of Sin all came from Matthew 12:1-8. Jesus is going through grain fields on the Sabbath. Based upon His earlier Sabbath movements, it doesn’t surprise us that He is on His way to worship, or mercy ministry, or in this case both. Jesus is perfectly consistent (Matthew 12:9, cf. Luke 4:16).

You know who isn’t consistent? We’re not. And the disciples are often the best examples for that. Except for the suffering and death of Christ, there is one area in which they are pretty consistent, though: sticking to Jesus.

And that’s what the Sabbath is all about. Sticking with Jesus (cf. John 6:68). The disciples weren’t harvesting on the Sabbath; they were gleaning. The Pharisees were wrong about the law. But they were wrong about something more serious, and Jesus points it out: they were wrong about Him.

The disciples were with Jesus, just like David’s friends were with David. Those friends got hungry because they were with the Lord’s anointed, and the priests treated them like their own family. These disciples are hungry because they are with the Lord’s Anointed, capital A, the Messiah, the Son of David. And in order to spend Sabbath with Jesus, whatever is necessary to feed them is righteous.

Then there is work that is necessary to enable people to worship. At one time, that was Levites in the temple. Today, it’s police, firemen, EMTs, and others whose service keeps us safe and free to worship on the Lord’s Day. Temple worship was a great gift in its time, but Lord’s Day worship in Christ is infinitely greater.

How is it that the Pharisees missed the glorious gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ? Jesus says that it’s because they don’t know what is meant by “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” They suffered from the exact same problem as the Jews in Isaiah 58. God didn’t want their misery. He wanted their mercy in response to His mercy!

Oh, dear Christian, what a merciful Lord and Savior we have! What a glorious day the Sabbath is, to spend with Him in worship and mercy. Those other things that make it possible—let’s do them!
How do you spend the Lord’s Day with Jesus? What has to be done to free us up to do so?
Suggested songs: ARP118D “Now Open Wide the Gates” or TPH151 “Lord of the Sabbath, Hear Us Pray”

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