Sunday 8 September 2013

Matthew 12:1-21 - Jesus' authority and nature

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Here in Matthew 12:1-21 we see again that Yahshua is more concerned about the spiritual intention of the Law than he is about the observance of the details.

The Pharisees were experts at writing minute rules, often going far beyond the Mosaic Law itself. The Law requires people to rest on the Sabbath, but it doesn't say that rubbing off the wheat husk to nibble the kernels is "work". Doing so while strolling through the fields might just as well be seen as a form of relaxation.

Not only does he provide cogent counter-arguments, he also demonstrates that they flout their own rules when necessary and then heals in a way that requires no more work than the words "stretch out your hands".

His response to their plotting is simply to go to another area. Matthew tells us that Jesus is fulfilling Isaiah 42:1-4.

One important lesson to take from this passage is that we, too, should be much more concerned about the spiritual intentions of the Law than about its literal meaning. We should not be so careful about church tradition that we fail to respect our parents, for example. We should not use any kind of ritual duty to justify neglecting the hungry. Nor should we criticise others for failing to pay a tithe or pay into church funds when they are struggling to feed their family. And we are not to be self-satisfied at attending a worship service while our neighbour needs help with a practical difficulty at home.

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