Tuesday 04 October 2016

Bible Book:

“Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?” (v. 9)

Matthew 12:9-21 Tuesday 4 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 20


Verse 3 of Sydney Carter's hymn The Lordof the Dance spells out something of the words ofMatthew's Gospel as Jesus interacts with the templeauthorities.

Having had the encounter with the Pharisees regarding hisdisciples taking and eating the grain on the Sabbath (in yesterday's passage), Jesus moves on, He movesinto the synagogue, where he is again challenged with the questionof whether or not it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. We mightask ourselves whether the man with the withered hand had beenbrought along deliberately to enable the Pharisees to challengeJesus once more, but we cannot tell.

Jesus immediately turns the question back by asking if theywould leave one of their animals in distress having fallen into apit (verse 11). He would know well just how valuable the animalwould be to his hearers, after all their stock was theirlivelihood. Jesus then states unequivocally that surely a humanbeing is of more value than an animal, so of course it is right todo good on the Sabbath (verse 12). He then reaches out to the manwith the withered hand, heals him and sends him away cured (verse13).

Those who had sought to trick Jesus were left thinking of waysin which to destroy him, as he was clearly undermining their way oflife and the structure of their faith (verse 14). Jesus has nowleft the synagogue and with news having spread about the power hehad to heal the sick the crowds began to follow him. Some wouldhave had needs and the text tells us that he cured those in need ofhealing, but probably many others were curious about who he was,and especially so when he tells them not to broadcast his deeds toothers.

Matthew then quotes Isaiah, which relates back to Jesus'Baptism. But it also ppoints forward in that God's servant willcome to proclaim justice not just to the Jews but also the Gentilesbut not in a noisy standing on the street corner style but quietlyand, according to Matthew with the modesty of a servant going abouthis business as he is called to do.

To Ponder

  • Was the man with the withered hand a pawn of the Phariseesplaced there to trick Jesus into going against the law as they sawit? What do you think the man with the withered hand felt?
  • Why do you think Jesus called upon the people to keep quietabout what he was doing amongst them? How does it speak to us abouthow we go about mission on his behalf?
  • Should we as his followers stand shouting out the gospel on thestreet corner, or use our faith to be servants of the servants in aquiet unobtrusive way waiting for people to ask about our motivesand giving us the opportunity to share our faith? Why?
Previous Page Monday 03 October 2016
Next Page Wednesday 05 October 2016