Tuesday, January 17

Something greater

Scripture: Matthew 12

Matthew 12:5–8 Or have you not read in the law that the priests in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are not guilty? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what this means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Observation

The Pharisees criticized Jesus’ disciples for plucking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. Jesus defended them, saying that the priests broke the Sabbath by working in the temple, and something greater than the temple was here. Just as the authority of the temple allowed the priests to work on the Sabbath, so the authority of Jesus allowed his disciples to “work” by plucking grain to eat. 

Jesus declared himself to be “something greater”—in v. 6, something greater than the temple; in v. 41 something greater than Jonah; in v. 42 something greater than Solomon. These are astonishing claims.

He adds in v. 8 that he, the Son of Man, is lord of the Sabbath. This is the most astonishing claim of all, for God himself instituted the Sabbath and is its lord. Yet Jesus assumes that title for himself. Truly, something greater is here.

The lord of the Sabbath also said that God wants mercy not sacrifice, quoting Hosea 6:6, one of Jesus’ favorite texts. God wants relationship—love for God and people—over religious rituals and rule keeping. 

Application

Two things.

First, live today under the supremacy of Jesus. He is Lord! Something greater is here! Rather than living by a set of rules, we live in relationship with Lord. Something greater than our religion, our rules—even Christianity as we know it—is here. Follow him!

Second, elevate mercy over sacrifice. People over policies. Relationships over rules or rituals. 

Prayer: I love you Jesus. You are my Lord—something greater! And I want to live today and every day in relationship with you, and elevate mercy above sacrifice.