Matthew 12:1-8 (Sabbath Controversy)

Mat 12:1-8     What is the key word in Mat 12:1 that was at the center of the controversy described in these verses?  See also Mat 12:10.  What was the importance of the Sabbath to the Jews?  See Gen 2:2-3, Exo 20:8-11, 31:12-17, Deut 5:12-15.  Observe that the verb “to rest” used in Gen 2:2-3 is the verbal form of “Sabbath” that means not primarily to rest but to cease or desist, as it is most frequently translated in the rest of the Bible (see for example Gen 8:22, Exo 12:15); only 7 of the 67 times it is used does the NASB translate it as “rest”, and then only in reference to the Sabbath.  Think: does God grow weary that He needs to rest?  Cf. Isa 40:28.  Thus a “Sabbath” is a ceasing from work, and “to sabbath” or “to keep sabbath” is to cease from work.  What is the result of ceasing from physical work?  What is the result of ceasing from spiritual works?  What rest did the Pharisees who took issue with Jesus and His disciples believe it was necessary to impose?  What rest did the seventh day Sabbath typify that Jesus offers through the gospel message?  See Heb 4:9-11 and cf. again Mat 11:28-30.  In what ways had the physical rest that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day sought to impose become a burden and heavy load upon people?  See Mat 12:1-2,10.  What sorts of burdens and heavy loads do religious leaders today place upon people?  In His response to the Pharisee’s charge that His disciples did what was not lawful on the Sabbath, did he argue their point that they had violated the letter of the law?  How did He answer their charge?  What does His answer indicate about some portions of the law taking precedence over other portions of the law?  What are the weightier portions of the law?  See Mat 12:7, 9:13, 22:37-40, 23:23, 1Sa 15:22, Pro 21:3, Mic 6:8, Gal 5:22-23.  In light of whose son the Jews understood the Messiah would be (Mat 12:23), what is the significance of the event Jesus relates about David in answering the Pharisee’s charge?  Cf. Mat 1:1 and think:  As David himself and the men with him had violated the letter of the law and yet were not held guilty because he was the one whom God had anointed to be king and was acting under a greater mandate, should not people allow for the possibility that David’s Son whom God would anoint to be the Messiah might do the same with His disciples?  See Mat 12:8.  What is the significance that the other event He relates has to do with the priests?  See Heb 5:10, 7:1-4,11-19, 2Ch 26:14-21 and think:  If the Levitical priests profane the Sabbath but are considered innocent because of the higher calling of their temple service, should not people allow for the possibility that the One whom God would anoint as high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek might need to do the same because of His higher calling?  In this light, what is the “thing” that was greater than the temple and the temple service of the priests (Mat 12:6)?  See Joh 2:19-21, 1Co 3:16.  What apologetic value would these events presented by Jesus have had for those at the time Matthew was writing who were being swayed by the arguments that Jesus and His followers did not keep the Law of Moses, especially in regard to the Sabbath since they often met on the first day of the week in honor of the resurrection (see Act 20:7, 1Co 16:2, Rev 1:10)?  Observe the way in which Jesus answered His critics in Mat 12:3 & 5; see also Mat 19:4, 21:16,42, 22:31.  Observe also that the Greek word for “read” means literally to “know again”; what does this teach us about the importance of reading the Scriptures? Of reading all the Scriptures? Of meditating upon them as we read so as to understand their implications? Of reading them regularly to refresh our knowledge and understanding? Of the importance of excellent literacy so as to be able to read and understand the Scriptures?  Is regular reading and meditation upon the Scriptures a part of our daily lives?  What does Mat 12:7 teach us about the substance of true religion?  Cf. Mat 9:13, Isa 1:11-17, Jam 1:27.  Observe also that “compassion” is usually translated “mercy”, and the Hebrew word used in Hosea 6:6 from where Jesus is quoting is usually translated as lovingkindness and refers to a covenant faithfulness or loyalty; see Hos 6:4-6 and cf. 1Sa 20:8-16, 2Sa 9:1-8, 1Ki 8:23, Neh 1:5, 9:32, Jer 2:2, Mic 6:6-8, etc…  What does this teach us about what God desires from those who seek Him in truth as opposed to what those suppose He desires who seek Him in pretense?  What does it teach us about what it means to walk in covenant faithfulness and loyalty with the Lord?  What point is Jesus making in Mat 12:8: that “the Lord’s day” mentioned by John in Rev 1:10 is the Sabbath, or that it is not the Sabbath that is Lord over the Son of Man, but the Son of Man who is Lord over the Sabbath?  Cf. Mar 2:27-28.

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