Matthew 12:1-23 – March 7
Our online study in the Gospel of Matthew is intended to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter. Read today’s scripture, journal on it using SOAP, then please share as we encourage one another in this one thing. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
Matthew 12:1-23 – Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
Choose Mercy | Becky Newman
I sought clarity today in a couple references to Old Testament scripture that were in today’s reading. First, in verse 7, Jesus tells the legalistic Jews who are trying to catch him in the act of breaking a law that they need to understand what the words from Hosea 6:6 mean: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Hosea is prophesying about Jesus in Chapter 6; in verse 2, he says, “…on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” Good stuff! And then later in the chapter, Hosea shows exasperation toward the people of Judah’s behavior, focused on the ritual and the laws rather than on God. The ritual and laws were supposed to set God’s people apart as holy, actually draw them closer to Him, but many of the people of Judah let the ritual and laws do the opposite, and it hardened their hearts instead. Jesus is showing the same exasperation in Matthew 12 — You’re so focused on obeying the laws that you don’t see the Son of God standing in front of you, that you aren’t falling down on your knees in worship of the whole reason the law exists in the first place. Second, in verse 16, Jesus asks a crowd of people he healed not to tell others about him. The last verses in Matthew are about how we all need to tell the whole world about Jesus, so why would Jesus ask those he healed not to tell others? It’s as if Matthew anticipated that question and gave us verse 17 — that this was to fulfill Isaiah 42:1-4 which tells us what kind of man our Savior will be. He’s not loud and obnoxious, beating the Word of God into our heads. Nope, He’s a gentle persistent whisper. And that’s the God I know in the time I spend with Him, and I think that’s how He wants me to be when I tell others about Him.
It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in the ritual and laws, checking my Good Christian boxes and even judging others in this. I need this constant reminder that You desire mercy over rituals and laws every single time, and I need to regularly evaluate where I’m slipping into the people of Judah’s behavior.
God, may I never miss You standing right in front of me, may I always humble myself before You and worship You. Show me where I’m slipping and help me to choose mercy every single time.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.