Friday, September 30

Something greater

Scripture: Isaiah 59-60, Matthew 12

Matthew 12:5–6 Or haven’t you read in the law that on Sabbath days the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.

Observation

The Pharisees criticized Jesus’ disciples for picking and eating grain on the Sabbath—a violation of Sabbath rules prohibiting any kind of work. 

Jesus answered with two thoughts. The first was that David and his men ate the bread of the presence, which only the priests could eat—a violation of the Jewish law that was justified by an emergency need. The needs of the persons involved trumped the rule. The second was this in v. 5-6: the priests violate the Sabbath every week by offering sacrifice on the Sabbath. The temple requirements superseded the the Sabbath law. Then this bombshell: “Something greater than the temple is here.” 

Jesus claims to be greater than the temple, and later in the chapter, greater than Jonah and greater than Solomon.

The Pharisees placed greater value on religious rules than on people’s well-being. Jesus reversed that. It wasn’t that Jesus ignored the rules, but that He valued people more. And Jesus is greater than the Law and Temple—He makes the call.

Application

It’s easy for Christians to let their religious traditions trump their love and care for people. I can remember when everyone was expected to dress up for church—their “Sunday best”. If you showed up in less, you’d be looked down upon. It made it hard for the poor. There are many examples of our traditions trumping love of people. 

But something greater than our rules and traditions is here: Jesus. And He bids us to love others even when they break our rules!

Prayer: Lord, it’s easy for me to look down on others who don’t conform to my standards. Forgive me and help me to love like You do, and to put the person above my preferences.