Mercy and Not Sacrifice? #5

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:7,8 KJV).

What did our Lord mean in today’s Scripture?

Christ’s disciples are hungry, so they pluck corn and eat it as they and Jesus pass through the fields (verse 1). The Pharisees, rather than being sympathetic toward these hungry believers in Christ, chastise them for “[doing] that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (verse 2). “Moses said not to work on the Sabbath Day, and Your disciples are disobeying Moses!”

Like the entire nation Israel, these religious leaders have lost sight of the God who gave them the Law through Moses. The Pharisees, the chief example of this hypocrisy, worshipped the Law instead of worshipping the God whom they were to worship using the Law!! Jesus frequently condemned this vain religious system during His earthly ministry (similar vain religion has plagued the Church the Body of Christ for the last 20 centuries!).

Christ twice-reminded these “educated,” conceited Pharisees of their ignorance of the Old Testament Scriptures: “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 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?” (verses 3-5).

Jesus wisely argued that, although the shewbread was only meant for the priests to eat, David and his men were hungry and were permitted to consume it (1 Samuel 21:1-6). Furthermore, He argued that Moses’ inspired writings—“the law”—approved work on the Sabbath if not working caused one to disobey other laws of God. Remember, Israel’s priests had to perform Tabernacle and Temple duties, even on the Sabbath day.

Obviously, the Pharisees were so preoccupied with the Sabbath-day keeping that they overlooked the Sabbath-day meaning….