Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for June 3, 2018
To discover how the Law enhances our lives as God’s people
Matthew 12:1-14 (CEB)
1 At that time Jesus went through the wheat fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry so they were picking heads of wheat and eating them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are breaking the Sabbath law.”
3 But he said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those with him were hungry? 4 He went into God’s house and broke the law by eating the bread of the presence, which only the priests were allowed to eat. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple treat the Sabbath as any other day and are still innocent? 6 But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what this means, I want mercy and not sacrifice, you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent. 8 The Human One is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9 Jesus left that place and went into their synagogue. 10 A man with a withered hand was there. Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they asked, “Does the Law allow a person to heal on the Sabbath?” 11 Jesus replied, “Who among you has a sheep that falls into a pit on the Sabbath and will not take hold of it and pull it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! So the Law allows a person to do what is good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did and it was made healthy, just like the other one. 14 The Pharisees went out and met in order to find a way to destroy Jesus.
If you had known what this means, I want mercy and not sacrifice, you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent. (Matthew 12:7)
This week we start a new series of lessons, with the overall theme “Justice in the New Testament.” The first four lessons are subtitled “God Is Just and Merciful.”
In the chapter before out text, we find Jesus approached by John’s disciples asking if He is the One or should they wait for another. While Jesus does not answer directly, He simply tells them to go back and report to John what they have seen.
The previous chapter 12 closes with these three verses “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When we take those veres and compare them to our lesson text, Jesus might be offering a new yoke that is not as burdensome as the old yoke of the law. Jesus is offering a new way that can bring rest, a humble way that brings gentleness.
When Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees for breaking a sabbath law, He is saying laws are not bad, He only says, There needs to be compassion administered along with the law.
In our society today He might have said, “is it wrong for an ambulance or fire truck to disobey the traffic laws?”
God had given the Israelites laws for their own good, because a society cannot exist without some order and laws help provide that order. But at the same time the Priest were instructed to work on the Sabbath, because it was for the benefit to the community.
None of God’s laws apply, when good can be performed. Human life supersedes God’s law of the Sabbath. Therefore Doctors, Firemen, Policemen, and Preachers appear to be exempt from Sabbath laws.
More importantly we that have accepted Christ as the Son of God, are now bound by a new law. Love your neighbors, and more importantly love the Lord with all of our heart, mind and soul.
Just as “obedience is better than sacrifice” so is “mercy.” Can we go wrong extending mercy? What if we follow Jesus’ lead and become a merciful people, and less legalistic? Would burdens be lifted? Would Jesus be glorified? Is human life more valuable than animal life?
My hymn for this week is “Jesus Took my Burden and left with a Song.”