Picking heads of
Healing a man
with a withered hand (9-14)
Jesus the Chosen Servant (12:15-21)
temple, mercy, Lord of the Sabbath, chosen, justice, Gentiles, will not quarrel
nor cry out, bruised reed, smoking flax, trust.
1a. David was not
condemned for eating the showbread because of his urgent need. The priests were
not condemned because the service in the temple required that they do work on
the Sabbath. In the same way, the disciples were innocent because their actions
were out of their physical need. The disciples plucked the grains not for their
own enjoyment but because of their hunger while following the Lord. So their
actions were justifiable.
1b. He made the
Sabbath and is therefore greater than the Sabbath. As the Lord of the Sabbath
He is the one we should honor over and above the Sabbath itself.
2. Nowhere in the
passage does it say the Lord had abolished the Sabbath or that He changed it to
Sunday. He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill it
(5:17). New Testament believers must still obey the Ten Commandments (19:17; Lk 23:55,56; 1Cor 7:19; 1Jn 5:2,3;
Rev 14:12). The Lord defended the disciples on the basis of “I desire mercy.”
The issue was not whether to keep the Sabbath but the true spirit of
3. Keeping the
Sabbath and doing good works are both required by God’s law. The accusers hoped
to pose the question as a dilemma so that whichever Jesus’ answer might be,
they might charge Him with defying God’s law.
4. The law is a
shadow and finds its full meaning in Christ. We cannot obey the law for its own
sake without honoring the Lord Jesus and doing what pleases Him.
God is compassionate. He wants us to show the
same compassion when we obey His law. Without mercy, keeping God’s law becomes
5. We may do work
if it is out of immediate necessity or for the sake of the ministry and good
7a. By condemning Jesus, they probably hoped to demonstrate
their own righteousness. It was also quite likely that they tried to remove
Jesus because of their jealousy (cf. Mk 15:10).
7b. Our zeal in keeping God’s law may sometimes turn into an
opportunity to justify ourselves or to condemn others. We may even become
bitter toward those who are truly following God’s law. “Keeping the law” to the
point of wanting to murder someone has certainly gone too far from God’s will.
We need to constantly check our motives when carrying out God’s commands and
remove any self-centered thoughts and attitudes.
9. He was the
beloved Son whom God had anointed with His Spirit (3:16,17;
17:5; Lk 4:1,18). His proclamation of God’s kingdom
would have universal influence. He did not resist evil-doers with violence
(1Pet 2:23), but withdrew from His accusers. He was gentle and lowly in heart
(11:29). He healed the sick, both physical and spiritual, and was full of
compassion for the weak and needy (9:12,13,36).
10. Spreading the
truth of God’s kingdom may be slow and difficult. But if we do so in a gentle
and humble manner and with a desire to please God, the Lord will accomplish His
great work. Preaching the truth should not involve violent actions or bitter
attitudes. What marks the true servant of God is having the heart of God—a
heart of mercy and compassion.