Mercy and grace
For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:8
The Sabbath was a big deal in Jesus’ day. In fact, it was a big deal all through the Old Testament. One of the ten commandments is: Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy or separated. It had become such a strict rule that there was no room for error with the Pharisees. They were watching everywhere to make sure no one was breaking the rule, not to do any work on the Sabbath.
In today’s reading, we see the Pharisees at it again. They saw Jesus’ disciples harvesting grain to eat on the Sabbath Day. They immediately brought the charge to Jesus. Not because they were concerned for His disciples, but because they wanted to accuse Him. Jesus gives them a brief lesson on Sabbath, but then He tells them He is Lord, even of the Sabbath. He wasn’t telling them that it was ok for Him to break the rules because He was God in the flesh. His point was that the Sabbath was made for man to take a rest not made for man to be controlled by a rule. Jesus also told the Pharisees that He desires people to be merciful to others more than He wants people to be controlled by a set of rules. Loving people is what matters to God, not controlling them.
In today’s world, we also have become a bit legalistic. Oh, I know it’s not to the point that we don’t do any work on the Sabbath. However, we are quick to judge others when we see them doing something wrong. I’m not even talking about the actual commandments in the Bible, I’m talking about wrong in being different. Mercy and grace are not the first response most people have when someone is not following procedures and policies. Usually, people go right to condemnation.
Jesus said He wants us to be merciful with one another. He wants to see His people with a different mind set. This is not a tolerance of sin, but rather a love for people perspective. When we look at others, our first thoughts should be how much God loves them and how much we can love them. Jesus said: I am Lord even of the Sabbath so Love God and love people and you won’t have to worry about keeping the rules. Love is the new commandment that fulfils all the rules. (see John 13)
Today I want to encourage you to be merciful not legalistic. Make a conscience decision to love others. When you see someone doing the wrong thing, make an effort to love them. You don’t love their sin or their bad behavior, but you remember that you have missed it at times too. If the person is shown love, then the Holy Spirit will draw them closer to God and the God way of living and loving. Decide today to not focus on what is wrong in the world, love the people who are living in the world despite their shortcomings. Remember, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 12:1-8
1 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?
6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.
7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”