Matthew 12:1-13

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

JESUS’ LORDSHIP OVER THE SABBATH

AND HIS HEALING OF A MAN

WITH A WITHERED HAND

INTRODUCTION:

 

We are in the process of studying the program of the King which includes the narrative about Jesus (11:2 - 12:50), the parables of the kingdom (13:1-53), and the concluding statement, And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence (13:53).

 

The narrative about Jesus includes His eulogy of John the Baptist, His upbraiding of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, His new message of personal discipleship, His Lordship over the sabbath, His healing on the sabbath of a man with a withered hand, His healing of the multitudes, His healing of a blind and dumb demoniac and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, His statement of the sign of the Prophet Jonah, His statement of the sign of the Queen of the South, His statement of the worthlessness of self-reformation, and His statement of new relationships.

We begin with –

    I.     JESUS’ LORDSHIP OVER THE SABBATH – 12:1-8

 

We see that –

            A.  While walking through a grain field on the sabbath day, Jesus’ disciples began to eat some of the grain to satisfy their hunger – 12:1

 

Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

 

At that time suggests then.

 

Jesus went is Jesus proceeded.

 

On the sabbath day indicates when Jesus went through the corn, i.e. through the standing grain or through the grain fields.

 

And his disciples were an hungered is and His disciples were hungry.

 

And began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat is and began to pick heads of grain (or heads of wheat) and to eat (the heads of grain).

 

Next, we see that –

            B.  The Pharisees charged Jesus’ disciples with violating the Sabbath – 12:2

 

Matthew 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to Jesus’ disciples picking heads of grain and eating them.

 

When the Pharisees saw it suggests after the Pharisees saw (it), because the Pharisees saw (it), or and the Pharisees saw (it), i.e. saw Jesus’ disciples picking and eating the heads of grain.

 

Said to him means said to Jesus.

 

Behold is used in the sense of look or see.

 

Thy disciples do is Your disciples are doing.

 

That which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day is (your disciples are doing) what is not permitted (i.e. what is not proper or what is not right) to do on the sabbath.

 

Of course, Jesus was present with His disciples and knew exactly what they were doing, and He had allowed it. This means that He approved of what they were doing.

 

As we continue, we see that –

            C.  Jesus reminded the Pharisees what David did when he was hungry and ate the shewbread – 12:3-4

 

Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him.

 

But he said unto them means but Jesus said to the Pharisees.

 

The rest of verse 3 and all of verse 4 form a question whose structure indicates that a yes answer is expected.

 

Have ye not read what David did? suggests You have read what David did, haven’t you? and implies, Yes, you have read what David did.

 

When he was an hungered, and they that were with him is when he himself (i.e. when David himself) was hungry and the ones with him (were also hungry).

 

Matthew 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

 

Verse 4 completes the question begun in verse 3. David and his men ate the shewbread which was intended only for the priests.

 

How he entered into the house of God refers to David’s entering the tabernacle, presumably into the tabernacle courtyard rather than into the sanctuary.

 

And did eat the shewbread is and ate the loaves of the presentation.

 

Instructions regarding the shewbread are found in Leviticus 24:5-9 ,

 

Leviticus 24:5-9 – (5) And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals [i.e. about 4 quarts or one gallon] shall be in one cake [so they would be large cakes]. (6) And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. (7) And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. (8) Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. (9) And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute.

 

David’s eating the shewbread is presented in I Samuel 21:1-6 ,

 

I Samuel 21:1-6 – (1) Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? (2) And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. (3) Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. (4) And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. (5) And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. (6) So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.

 

The bread that Ahimelech had was the shewbread (or bread of the presentation) which had been taken from the table in the tabernacle on the sabbath day and replaced by fresh bread. It was no longer sacred and could be eaten, but it was ordinarily eaten only by the priests.

 

Which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him refers to the shewbread.

 

Which is plural and refers specifically to the loaves.

 

Was not lawful is the same word used in verse 2 meaning was not permitted (i.e. was not proper or was not right).

 

For him to eat, neither for them which were with him refers to David and those men who accompanied him to Nob where David met with Ahimelech.

 

But only for the priests is except for the priests alone or except only for the priests and means that the loaves of the presentation were intended for only the priests to eat.

 

David’s eating this bread illustrated a concession that the law permitted – that life is more holy than bread.

 

In addition, we see that –

            D.  Jesus reminded the Pharisees that the priests carry out their duties in the temple on the sabbath without committing sin – 12:5

 

Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

 

Or introduces another question.

 

The structure of have ye not read in the law in the Greek text indicates that it expects a positive answer. It implies you have read in the law, haven’t you? Yes, you have.

 

What they have read in the law is how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless.

 

How that is simply that.

 

On the sabbath days is on the sabbaths.

 

The priests in the temple profane the sabbath suggests that the priests in the temple desecrate, profane, or violate the sanctity of the sabbath by carrying out their priestly functions on the sabbath.

 

And are blameless suggests and are innocent, which means that they are not guilty of sin by carrying out their priestly functions on the sabbath.

 

We also see that –

            E.  Jesus is greater than the temple and can determine what constitutes profaning the sabbath – 12:6

 

Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

 

But I say unto you introduces something Jesus is about to say to the Pharisees who were complaining about His disciples picking and eating heads of grain on the sabbath.

 

What Jesus says is that in this place is one greater than the temple, i.e. that (someone) greater than the temple is here or that a greater than the temple is here. He was speaking of Himself.

 

In addition, we see that –

            F.  Jesus told the Pharisees that they did not know what God meant by I will have mercy and not sacrifice, or they would not have condemned His innocent disciples – 12:7

 

Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

 

But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice is a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be false; and it is false.

 

It is understood in the sense of but if you had known what (this) means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, (and implies) but you did not know what it means.

 

The tense of had known indicates that its action was completed in the past and that its result continued until the time the Pharisees judged the disciples of being guilty of breaking the law by picking and eating the heads of grain on the sabbath.

 

I will have mercy and not sacrifice is taken from Hosea 6:6 ,

 

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

 

I will have, where I refers to the LORD, is I desire, I wish for, or I want.

 

What the Lord wants is mercy and not sacrifice.

 

Mercy suggests compassion; whereas, sacrifice implies an external formality.

 

The thought is that the Pharisees had no compassion for the hunger the disciples were experiencing while going through the grain fields when they could have offered the disciples something to eat.

 

The disciples were in the will of God walking with Jesus; and at this time, it was His will for them to be hungry. In addition, Jesus, Who is the Lord of the Sabbath, knew what the disciples were doing; and He did not condemn them. He allowed it, which implies that He approved of it.

 

This situation gave the Pharisees an opportunity to show compassion toward the disciples and offer them some food. Ahimelech showed compassion on David and his men when he provided them with some loaves which were intended for only the priests to eat.

 

The conclusion of the condition is ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

 

Inasmuch as Jesus is addressing the Pharisees, ye which is you (plural) refers to the Pharisees.

 

Would not have condemned is would not have pronounced guilty.

 

The guiltless is plural and means the innocent ones, which refers to the disciples whom the Pharisees had pronounced guilty of violating the sabbath for picking and eating the heads of grain on the sabbath day.

 

Inasmuch as the condition is assumed to be false, it follows that the conclusion is also assumed to be false.

 

It means you would not have condemned the innocent ones (and implies) but you did condemn them.

 

Finally, we see that –

            G. Jesus states that He is Lord of the sabbath day and had no problem with His disciples picking grain on the sabbath day and eating it to satisfy their hunger – 12:8

 

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

 

For introduces Jesus’ explanation of why He could decide what constituted sin against the sabbath.

 

The Son of man is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

Is indicates that this statement is a timeless truth, something which is always true.

 

Lord is Master. Jesus is Lord of everything including the sabbath.

 

The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day also means that the Pharisees were not lords of the sabbath day; so, it was not their privilege or place to decide what is lawful or not lawful on the sabbath.

We continue with –

  II.     JESUS’ HEALING OF A MAN WITH A WITHERED HAND ON THE SABBATH – 12:9-13

 

We note that –

            A.  Jesus entered the Pharisees’ synagogue where He found a man with a withered hand – 12:9-10a

 

Matthew 12:9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue.

 

And when he was departed thence suggests after Jesus went from there, i.e. from the place where He was having the discussion with the Pharisees regarding His disciples picking and eating heads of grain.

 

He went into their synagogue indicates that Jesus entered the synagogue where the Pharisees with whom He had been speaking met to worship God.

 

Matthew 12:10 a – And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. . . .

 

And behold is used to gain the reader’s attention.

 

There was a man which had his hand withered is literally, A man was (there) having (his) hand withered.

 

A man is the term used of a human being, but because of the word him in the next phrase, he was obviously a male. A man is used in the sense of a person.

 

Which had is literally having. It describes an existing situation at the time Jesus met this person.

 

His hand withered suggests that this man’s hand was useless because it was dried up, shrunken, or paralyzed.

 

We also note that –

            B.  In order to accuse Jesus, they asked if it was lawful to heal on the sabbath – 12:10b

 

Matthew 12:10 b – . . . And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

 

And they suggests and the people who were present who were undoubtedly Pharisees.

 

Asked Him indicates that they asked Jesus a question, but it was not an honest question by which they were seeking to learn something they did not know or understand. It was a setup, a trap. They were seeking to get Jesus to do something which would enable them to make an accusation against Him; so, He gave them what they wanted in order to demonstrate the wickedness which was in their hearts.

 

Saying introduces their question, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?

 

Is it lawful? is is it right?, is it permitted?, or is it proper? The same term was used in verse 2 where the Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of having done what was not lawful on the sabbath and again in verse 4 where Jesus asked what David had done.

 

The content of it is to heal on the sabbath days. They were not seeking to accuse Jesus of sin in healing people but of violating the sabbath by healing people on the sabbath.

 

That they might accuse him indicates their intention or motive in asking Jesus this question. Their motive was clear.

 

That may show their purpose in the sense of in order that, or it may show their intended result in the sense of so that or with the result that because they were convinced that Jesus would actually heal this man’s withered hand on the sabbath day.

 

They might accuse him suggests they might bring charges against Him, i.e. against Jesus.

 

In addition, we note that –

            C.  Jesus responded that everyone will rescue his sheep if it falls into a pit on the sabbath – 12:11

 

Matthew 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

 

And he said to them indicates that Jesus said to those who questioned him about it being right for Him to heal on the sabbath. Inasmuch as He asks them a question, it is understood in the sense of He asked them. What He asked them takes up the rest of this verse.

 

What man shall there be among you? is, Who is (a) man among you? or, What man is among you?

 

That shall have one sheep is who will have one sheep.

 

And if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day is a condition which may or may not happen. No assumption is made regarding whether this situation will actually occur. It is and if this (sheep) falls on the sabbath into a pit.

 

It is implied in this story that the sheep is unable to get out of the pit on its own.

 

The conclusion of this condition is will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? The structure of this question indicates that it expects a yes answer. Yes, he will lay hold on it and lift (it) out of the pit.

 

Will he not? suggests he will, won’t he?

 

Lay hold of it suggests grasp it or seize it; whereas, and lift it out suggests and lift it up.

 

Moreover, we note that –

            D.  Since a person is better than a sheep, it is lawful to do well on the sabbath – 12:12

 

Matthew 12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

 

How much . . . better is a man than a sheep? is, How much is a man worth more than (or how much is a man superior to) a sheep?

 

Man is the generic term for human being and may include a female as well as a male.

 

Then in the sense of therefore or accordingly suggests that this statement is an inference drawn from verse 11.

 

Wherefore is therefore, for this reason, or so. It is because a man is worth more than a sheep.

 

It is lawful to do well on the sabbath days is to be doing well on the sabbath days is right (i.e. is permitted or is proper).

 

Finally, we note that –

            E.  To show that it was lawful to do well on the sabbath, Jesus healed the man’s withered hand – 12:13

 

Matthew 12:13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

 

Then suggests thereupon.

 

Saith he to the man is, He says to the man (i.e. the one with the withered hand).

 

What Jesus said is, Stretch forth thine hand is stretch out your hand or hold out your hand.

 

And he stretched it forth is and he stretched (or held) (it) out.

 

And it was restored whole, like as the other is and it was restored whole like the other (hand). Jesus made the man’s hand to be normal.

CONCLUSION:

 

We must always stick with the teaching of the Bible. It is all right to follow the teachings of men as long as what they teach is Biblically accurate. However, when they teach things which are contrary to the Bible, we must always abandon them and their teachings.

 

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

 

In this new year which we are beginning today, let’s determine to study and practice our Bibles more than we ever have previously throughout our entire lives. God will bless you for it if you will really do this and follow through on it.

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