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Lord of the Sabbath

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 10, 2021 7:00 am

Lord of the Sabbath

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 10, 2021 7:00 am

Scripture tells us that Jesus lived a sinless life, but didn’t the Pharisees accuse him of breaking one of the commandments by failing to keep the Sabbath? And if Jesus wasn’t bound by that Old Testament law, then should we feel obligated to keep it today? In this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour with Dr. Boice, we’ll discover the answers to these questions as we study Matthew chapter 12.

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Scripture tells us that Jesus lived a sinless life, but didn't the Pharisees accuse him of breaking one of the commandments by failing to keep the Sabbath and if Jesus wasn't bound by that Old Testament law then should we feel obligated to keep it today on this broadcast of the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will discover the answers to these questions as we study Matthew chapter 12 welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in his earthly ministry, Jesus was misunderstood, criticized, and ultimately condemned to death all for doing the father's will as we listen into the message today. Remember that persecution often follows those who are truly living lives of obedience to God that we are looking at various reactions in Jesus Christ that develop as a result of his initial early ministry in Galilee. Spent a lot of time looking at that when we have found ourselves moving into the 11th and 12th chapters as we are now we discover that it's not all rosy.

One thing John the Baptist has had some doubts so that of the puzzle to us out with a wino is called by God to be the forerunner of the Messiah, the one who even received the sign from heaven, pointing out that Jesus is the one doubts in any database and his disciples that Jesus question. Are you the one who should, or should we look for another Jesus answered them by pointing to the Scriptures which he was fulfilling was a reaction from the people at large. Gordon doubt they were in different you might say, well, all right, that isn't so bad now, except that there difference really ended up in unbelief.

If you're believing you're not indifferent if you're indifferent, you're not believing in belief is the critical thing Jesus pronounces judgments to comp against these people. It's a very sad portion of the gospel.

It's very serious.

As we read what Jesus has to say. There's a sense in which up to this point it really hasn't been all that bad because doubt is not unbelief in unbelief. At least something that may yet be overcome here when we got in the 12th chapter which is the chapter which we come.

Now we find something much worse.

We find fierce opposition on the part of the Jewish leaders find they are so fierce in their opposition to Christ, that by the end of the section they are plotting how they might actually destroy them while they're in view all the way through the chapter are mentioned explicitly in four of the verses in verse 214, when a four and 38, but there either speaking, maneuvering or standing behind the action and virtually every other verse or something really serious. Here are the religious leaders of the people taking a firm stand against what they regarded as an upstart Messiah, the ones that have the power we know that in the end, humanly speaking, I succeeded because they were able to have Jesus Christ killed Mount what was the problem. While the immediate cause of their peers opposition to Jesus was his disregard of their detailed rules for the Sabbath rules which were difficult to follow and which were a burden for themselves as well as for the Jewish people. Matthew suggests this in a subtle way, at least to us, but it would be apparent that a Jewish person in the time was reading the gospel, by the way in which the first verse of chapter 12, follows on the end of chapter 11 notice at the end of chapter 11 of the very last verse. Jesus says my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew goes on in the first verse of chapter 12 the talk about the Sabbath and any Jew who read that understood the contrast Sabbath burdens were not polite very heavy thing difficult to bear. And they labored under the now we find that this concern that they had for the Sabbath that we think about and clearly at one level, at least, was a justified concern because, among other things, it was one of the 10 Commandments fourth of the 10 Commandments told the people to keep the Sabbath and the commandments its longest goes like this. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.

On it you shall not do any work.

Neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals or the alien within your gates in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth to see and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy rather weighty commandment very fact that it's there moral law of the Old Testament should give us pause as well find ourselves asking are we keeping our holy night Lord's day to God as we really should the Pharisees have something going for their concern for the Sabbath was something else they undoubtedly remembered that the breaking of the Sabbath in ancient days was one of the reasons for the Babylonian captivity and the overthrow of their city. They found it in the Scriptures was there and second Chronicles 36 chapter we read the Cyrus carried into exile to Babylon.

The remnant will escape from the sword, they became servants of him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power and because of this. In this way, the land enjoyed its Sabbath grass all the time of his desolation. It rested until the 70 years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah say at that point will want to. Jeremiah said you find it in Jeremiah 17.

If you do not obey me and keep the Sabbath day holy, not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle and unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem and consumer fortresses got it done, that the Pharisees remembered it and let it happen again. So they were very concerned that the Sabbath be kept properly.

How many Jews undoubtedly did it in the right spirit, just as many Christians today keep a strict Sabbath observance of the right spirit not in the spirit of legalism, but because in their judgment. One day, at least, should be set aside for religious purposes of the worship of God. The problem was that they had become legalistic the way they were handling this so what they had done and to the intent of the Old Testament, which was good. A whole set of burdensome man-made regulations and it descended into the worst kind of legalism give you some examples about the law said that no one was to travel on the Sabbath are not there. In Exodus 1629, but then you asked the question what constitutes traveling on the Pharisees worked on that they came up with the concept of what they call the Sabbath day's journey.

That is how far you can go on the Sabbath and might be traveling was about a thousand yards somewhat limiting the course might be that the emergencies of the situation would require that you go further so they had little loopholes that one of which was that if you put rope across the end of the street from your town sort of made the whole town. Your house or dwelling place so you could go to the rope, however far, that would be amended to go thousand yards beyond that worry you could do it this way, if you really had to go further, the day before is on Friday. You can put a little food.

A thousand yards out. Then when you traveled Sabbath day's journey to the place where you had hidden the food the night before.

You can sit down and eat it. Therefore, technically, constituting that your home they could go thousand yards beyond that, I suppose, determined man if he were clever enough, my working it out in advance could probably travel halfway across Palestine as another example, how about carrying a burden of laws that are not to do that.

That's what the text in Jeremiah is all about susceptor 17 2127 but you asked the question once a burden. Well great big load would probably be a burden but about some clothing, coach Gary cote at a burden Pharisees answered it this way. They said it, you're wearing edits or clothing. It's not a burden. If you're not wearing it but merely carrying it is suppose you have a code in one room of your house and wanted to put it in the closet and the other, how do you get up there in the Sabbath, will you put them on course walk across your house and you take it off and hide it in your closet you get the Sabbath so you take that very seriously. When asked another example, here is the same kind of logic. A man is out walking and he spits is that working will actually work without and they said well it all depends on what happens to the spent different lands in the dirt makes little thorough and that's that's plowing and not allowed to do that on the Sabbath day, but on the other hand, if it hits a it's not accomplishing anything and so that's all right. So being religious, according to their terms on the Sabbath more or less depended, in part at least on what direction you spent now in all the Pharisees that established 39 categories of work that they put inhibited on the Sabbath and one of these was reaping this. What became the bone of contention between these religious leaders of Jesus and his disciples that is what Matthew talks about the dissident a number of incidents in the first one is this Jesus and the disciples were walking on the Sabbath day and as I walked along the disciples were passing by the green fields and they reached out some of the heads of grain, which were right of them in their hands in order to separate the grain from the chaff blue Jaffe go away leaving the grains like small seeds in their hands and they began to eat those chewing on done that, you know, it's not particularly delicious snow sugar on it like our breakfast cereals, not even any salt but it is nourishing sort of turns out to be something like chewing gum because of the gluten is in the grand I rate.

That's what they were doing. Now the parasites came along and they were upset by this wasn't a question of stealing goes perfectly permissible to help yourself to grain by the side of the road. As a matter of fact, the law commanded Deuteronomy 2325 that was quite allowable. The real problem was the Pharisees understanding of the meaning of the Sabbath some years after this, the famous Jewish rabbi's name was Maimonides said to pluck ears as a kind of reaping. So that's the way they were thinking that the disciples according to the thinking of the Pharisees were guilty of far more than that were not only reaping the course which they were by plucking grain but also by rubbing it in their hands. They were guilty of rushing and when they blew away the chaff.

They were guilty of winnowing and when you put all his acts together realizing that they ate what they had was they were guilty of making a meal in the Sabbath. All of the above were forbidden. So you ask now how does Jesus answer that well. You might've answered it by making all kinds of writing useful distinctions we might have said they disciples really aren't working. After all, plucking a few heads of grain is in working come on, he might have said, these are disciples are not farmers. Farmers might be working.

Disciples are farmers are not working on that kind of thing.

But if he had done that, of course, he would be proceeding in the same way that the Pharisees had been proceeding. What he did instead was give a quite different answer and he did it scripturally took them to the Old Testament. First of all, he took them to the case of David and the story that you find in verse annual chapter 21. Everyone was familiar with her. David was being pursued by Saul and he fled to the priestly town of Laub being in danger of his life when he got there he had no provisions.

Neither he nor his men. And so he asked Ahimelech the high priest was in charge of the place if he had anything to eat and Ahimelech said no I don't have anything to eat, either.

Except of course these loaves of bread which are laid up in the tabernacle before the Lord. That was done regularly and changed every week as part of the worship of the people was holy bread was like communion bread was set apart to a special service.

Nobody was supposed to eat of latter project only a buddy that was not a priest. David said will give me some so we took it and ate it and he gave it to his man how Jesus calls attention that Jesus says to them having to read what she says the story wasn't suggesting that they didn't know the story, of course, they knew the story suggesting is that they hadn't understood its full significance because if I had understood it, they would realize that there basic legalistic approach to the Sabbath was wrong didn't explain an incident like this. David was right. Take the bread, then his need in the moment superseded the normal rules that would have restricted the eating of actual bread that had been consecrated by the priests, suggesting as the Pharisees should've known that and being students of the law. They should've adjusted their understanding of the Sabbath. Accordingly, Mark two verse 27.

A parallel passage dealing with the same incident, but Matthew doesn't include in verse of verse in which Jesus says the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath is exactly the point he makes here the Sabbath, as well as all the other laws are for man's benefit to make life difficult for them saying to the Pharisees. I should've understood that not think is another example. Again, this is a biblical one. It refers to the work of the priests and what they do in the temple. Matthew is the only one of the four Gospels that contains this particularly sharp reply. Although all of the Gospels refer to this problem of the Sabbath and probably because Matthew is a chiefly Jewish gospel written the Jewish people and all understood about the priest priest did work on the Sabbath. Of course, so profane, according to a technical understanding about where they burned incense was work I change the showbread of the presence and that was work, and even offered double burnt offering on the Sabbath and that was work now when Jesus refers to that none of the Jews could possibly object to it because all of those articles of work were given to the priest by God and recorded in the Old Testament what he was saying is that some work takes precedence even over the Sabbath laws that he did something very significantly when under refer to himself by saying one even greater than the Sabbath is here what he meant by that of course is that the work he was doing was far more important even than the labors of the priests and therefore shouldn't be bound by this kind of legalistic reasoning and was 1/3 answer that he gave, once again, this was biblical. It is the teaching of Hosea 66 this is the second time it's appeared in the gospel. It was there once before in Matthew 913. Here it comes in again and the text is this I desire mercy and not sacrifice this little bit like Paul's evaluation of Laub in first Corinthians 13.

He says that I have not love, I gain nothing. Work as a way of saying we don't have lover show mercy. None of these other things like speaking in tongues prophesying knowledge or faith in going to church or giving of the offering or doing all of the parts of good works, or anything at all to see if that is true if something is important is faith as it is, how much more consent.

Sabbath regulations now this point. Matthew adds a second related story healing of a man with a shriveled hand, we might think. As we read here in Matthew, that it followed immediately on the former confrontation, but as a matter fact I didn't because Luke also tells the story of Luke makes clear that a happen on another Sabbath is later somewhat Matthew doesn't take a later story and put it into his account at this point in order to make a connection showing here is another argument verifying Jesus understanding of the Sabbath and also a validation of what he does see what he does is show mercy to this handicapped man. The Pharisees were not about to do it. It's a way of demonstrating very visible way that is always right to do good, and secondly, because the man was healed that's accomplished only by the power of God also vindicates what Jesus is doing because it was perfectly clear that God was blessing what he was doing and therefore blessing his understanding of the Sabbath. Now we ask at this point. How did Pharisees react when I was a boy my father used to have different saying he would share with me from time to time.

One of the things my father used to say was this it was say a man convinced against his will, is of same opinion still suppose that's ancient wisdom through undoubtedly any rate, it certainly was true of this incident, because here, the Pharisees silenced by the biblical responses of our Lord as naturally they would be the other Gospels even says that explicitly they were silenced. Yes, but they were not convinced. Not only really not convinced they were even deepened and strengthened in their hatred of Jesus Christ and we read in the 14th verse that they were now determining the killing got terrible. That was how terrible this kind of thinking as there were men who were being punctilious in their observance of the law. They were the most religious of all religious people that they regarded details of how they kept the Sabbath more important than life on the very son of God and so they decided that they would kill them breaking the law against murder with no apparent forms and to do it in order to uphold their own regulations makes us think of server cases of ever ever been the case that there is a crime so bad that it's not been practiced by someone in the name of religion go back and look at the history of religion on the history of the race and you'll find that the worst things of all been done often by people who do it in the name of God.

And that's exactly what these men were doing what Jesus Christ so much all he was breaking the laws of course I was bad enough as a rebuke to their legalism and their whole self-esteem hung up on their legalistic observance of the law, but there was more to it than that. The real problem was that Jesus was late and they were not. Jesus was good they were not. Jesus spoke with authority and they did not market records and interesting detail at this point, he tells us that the Pharisees took counsel with the Herodian's plot how they might kill them. That's Mark's equivalent of what we have here. The 14th verse of this chapter is Mark 36 the Herodian's were a political party on a religious party of all energy platform was upholding the Herodian dynasty and when we read this detail what we find is that the religious and secular authorities are actually combining to get rid of this troublesome rabbi, so it is that's the way it works in history, church and state come together to get rid of somebody was actually righteous and therefore making a difference for righteousness was the way with John Hoss.

He was taken to the stake. They tried to do with Luther while people like Latimer and Ridley all the other martyrs always the church from the state religious and the secular authorities. They got together to destroy the one was truly influential because people who know God in a really righteous or too disruptive to effective what they're trying to do the minimum, I think of that is very little persecution of Christians today either by the religious authorities or by the state reason probably, as it were not very righteous, not very effective and not really turning the world upside down as the disciples did in the early days. Now, in spite of the opposition of these leaders. Jesus is not according opposition, at least at the present time. So we find him responding in the mildest always. First of all, he withdraws quietly in order to work elsewhere. Matthew says in verse 15 Jesus withdrew from my place in the very next verse he admonished those who knew him and believed on him not to tell other people who we was we understand by that is that he wasn't a fanatic. He wasn't supporting either fame on the one hand, or martyrdom. On the other income to make atonement for the sin of his people. In the meantime have to teach them and the atonement would come in time.

But in the meantime, the other work to do and so we did. It is our not yet come. This was a watershed moment in Christ ministry a turning point. Matthew makes perfectly clear. We see it as we get onto the next chapter because Jesus begins to teach in a different way. After this begins to teach in parables explains as he goes on why he's doing it, and how he does it. Since this is such a turning point were not surprised to find the Matthew pauses now in order to sum up Jesus ministry doesn't buy this great quotation from the Old Testament to come from Isaiah 42.

It's a firstborn versus doesn't quote it exactly as is Matthew inspired by the Holy Spirit, picking up on Isaiah and making perfectly clear that it has to do with Jesus Christ. But as he doesn't. These are the words here is my servant to my chosen one. I live in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit on him and he will proclaim justice to the nations will not quarrel or cry out, no one will hear his voice in the streets bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not stop out till he leads justice to victory in his name, the nations will put their hope.

I said as we began the study of Matthew, way back in the early chapters that Matthew more than any other of the Gospels quotes from the Old Testament in support of what Jesus Christ is doing is doing here and this is the longest of all those Old Testament quotes longest by far is a very good one because it's the first of those great sections in Isaiah that had to do with the suffering servant of the Lord and it has four great predictions that concern Jesus Christ. First of all, the Messiah will bring justice to the earth.

Verse 18.

Second, that the Messiah will not cry out in the streets like a demagogue whipping up the crowds, but instead will know about his work quietly and humbly.

Verse 19 Berg Messiah will not trample on the week.

Those who were poor in spirit first 20 and finally the Messiah will bring salvation to the Gentiles. Verse 21 amazing set of predictions and yet this is exactly what Jesus Christ has gone were not the expectations of the day no Jew expected the Messiah to do this Messiah was going to be a Messiah of Israel, and it was on to do his work in a militaristic strong way driving out the Romans seven. Let the chips fall where they may.

The week parish Jesus did exactly what this went about his work quietly teaching and at last dying for the people. The benefits of his work came in time eventually to the Gentiles. And as far as justice is concerned, that's what the church is been proclaiming ever since his resurrection, and it will come to perfection in that day when Jesus Christ returns on commentator says what is pictured here is a ministry so gentle and compassionate that the weaker not trample on not crush until justice to full righteousness of God triumphs is certainly well at the end you glad it's that way your Gentiles who have benefited by that work of the Messiah for all nations. If you are weak one to whom price ministers of your crushed and broken. Jesus Christ is, to be a savior for someone just like you. So these verses tell you to be encouraged as Lord of glory has become the humble Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior, and he has come for you.

He didn't come to snuff out what's weak he didn't come to break that which is already bruised. He came to save lost judgment. Yes.

Not to be taken lightly. The judgment is going to come one day in the meantime, this is the day of grace of the offers a two year he wants you to believe you, you'll find that is able to save and to strengthen and to keep you now all of life for all eternity because he is a gracious son of the Almighty God our father.

We are so thankful to Jesus is like that. He is not a great military or political person somehow runs roughshod over those who are weaker is to apply are mighty or aloof or separated from us to be of any help, but one who came to be just like us and who cared for the downtrodden man who invited the weak and the humble, to come to him and find rest, so we do is life, confess that he is indeed the Scriptures declare them to be. This is our Savior.

This is our Lord. We also invite others to come.

We do it in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us online alliance for Canadian gifts meal those 2237 Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON, and 1C2Y9 ask your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and thank you again for your continued support and for listening to Bible study

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