Matthew, Chapter 12
Matt. 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. 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. 3
But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an
hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of
God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat,
neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 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? 6 But I say unto you,
That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7 But if ye had known
what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not
have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the
sabbath day. 9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their
synagogue: 10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered.
And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?
that they might accuse him. 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? 12 How
much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do
well on the sabbath days. 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. 14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against
him, how they might destroy him."
The Pharisees accused the disciples of the Lord of breaking the Sabbath
day because they plucked the ears of corn and ate when they were hungry
on the Sabbath day. The Lord answered the accusations of the Pharisees
in several ways. First, he pointed out to them that David and the men
that were with him when they were hungry went into the house of God and
ate the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them
that were with him, but only for the priests. Mk. 2:27 reads, "And he
said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the
Sabbath." God designed the Sabbath for the benefit of man, and not man
for the benefit of the Sabbath. The occasion of David and his men eating
of the showbread was due to their dire need. The temple service, like
the Sabbath, was not designed to be a hindrance to the livelihood of
man, but for the benefit of man.
Second, Jesus pointed out that one was in their presence that was
greater than the temple and by implication greater than the Sabbath. As
the Lord of the Sabbath, he was over the Sabbath and determined the
rules of the Sabbath and not them.
Third, Jesus is merciful to the needs of his people and the disciples
had a need because of their hunger. He said, I will have mercy, and not
Fourth, the Lord said the disciples were guiltless of breaking the
Fifth, the Lord showed the Pharisees that under their interpretation of
the Sabbath, they also would be guilty of breaking the Sabbath: "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? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep?"
Sixth, the Lord told them and us that it is lawful to do well on the
Sabbath. Doing well on the Sabbath is not a violation of the Sabbath.
Seventh, the Lord manifest the above principles by healing a man with a
withered hand on the Sabbath day.
The Pharisees continually had problems with the Lord healing on the
Sabbath day. They were legalists and they wanted to interpret the law
according to their own definition of the law. They thought that with a
system of commandments, they could be righteous through the keeping of
the system. Their legalism was a hindrance to any show of mercy or
compassion that they considered to be contrary to their particular
interpretation of their system of commandments. Thus, they were
extremely angry at the Lord and went out and held a council of how they
might destroy the Lord. They never stopped to think that their council
and their efforts to destroy the Lord were extremely serious violations
of their system of commandments.
Matt. 12:15 "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence:
and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; 16 And
charged them that they should not make him known: 17 That it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18 Behold my
servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well
pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to
the Gentiles. 19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man
hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and
smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto
victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust."
When Jesus knew that the Pharisees had taken counsel to destroy him, he
withdrew himself from that place. Great multitudes followed Jesus. No
doubt, they followed him to witness his mighty power or to experience
his healing of their bodies. Jesus healed all that were sick, infirmed,
diseased, or had unclean spirits and he charged them that they should
not make him known. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy by Isaiah in
Isaiah 42:1 "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my
soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth
judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his
voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break,
and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment
unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set
judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law."
We are told a number of things in the above passage of scriptures.
First, Jesus is the servant of God. Jesus said, "I came down from heaven
not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. This is the
Father's will which sent me, that I should lose nothing, but raise it up
again the last day." Jesus, as the servant of God, came to do the
Father's will. As the servant of God he came to save his people from
Second, Jesus is the chosen or elect of God. He was the chosen one to
fulfill the terms of the covenant of redemption. He was chosen to save
his people from their sins. He was chosen to give them eternal life. He
was chose to resurrect their dead bodies in the morning of the
resurrection and to deliver them unto the Father in the glory world.
Third, the Father was well pleased with the Son. When Jesus came up out
of the baptismal waters, the Father said, "This is my beloved Son in
whom I am well pleased." Jesus did everything the Father appointed him
to do. He did it to perfection.
Fourth, Jesus had the Spirit of God without measure: John 3:34 "For he
whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the
Spirit by measure unto him."
Fifth, Jesus brought forth judgment, not only to the children of Israel,
but also to the Gentiles. It was declared of the angel at his birth, "he
shall save his people from their sins." Just before Jesus died on the
cross, he cried out, "It is finished." He had finished the work of
bringing forth judgment for his people.
Sixth, one of the amazing things that people have a hard time
understanding is that Jesus told many not to make him known. He came not
to be known as a great orator or a great politician or to receive the
earthly acclaim of men while he walked on the earth, but he came to save
his people from their sins. He did not strive, nor cry, nor make his
voice to be heard in the streets.
Seventh, Israel at the time Jesus walked on the earth was a bruised
reed. In the scriptures a reed is a symbol of a kingdom: 2 Kings 18:21
"Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even
upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce
it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him." Just as
Egypt was inferior and subordinate to Babylon so Israel existed as a
kingdom under the greater kingdom of the Roman Empire. They were
suffered to exist as a kingdom by the authority of the Roman Empire and
their laws were subordinate to the laws of Rome. Israel was a bruised
reed that would not be broken until Jesus had brought forth judgment
Eight, Israel was as smoking flax at the time of Jesus walk on the
earth. Smoking flax was a sign of God's judgment resting upon them. This
judgment would not be quenched unto Jesus had brought forth judgment.
This judgment of sin was accomplished at the cross of Calvary and then
40 years later at 70 A.D. Israel was destroyed of the Roman army and
those that survived the invasion were scattered amongst the nations and
Israel ceased being a kingdom. Thus, the bruised reed was broken and the
smoking flax was quenched.
Since the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, the gospel has mostly
gone forth to the Gentiles and the Lord's people in the church amongst
the Gentiles have trusted in him for the last 2000 years.