- Sermon Notes
Illus. Deep water.
At the end of Matthew chapter 11, Jesus had told all who were weary and heavy laden to come to Him. That those who would come (they, you, me; all), would
find rest for their very souls. Jesus invitation was for all to come, to trade in the heavy burdens and the unbearable weight of trying to make a way
for themselves, or trying to earn salvation, in order to find rest in Him.
Jesus gave an invitation, but how would the people respond? The beginning verses of chapter 12 give us a clear picture, as skepticism, rejection, and hostility only increased.
Read: Matthew 12:1-15
Jesus’ person, principles, and power had been revealed and it did not line up with the way of the Jewish leaders. Their man-made rules and regulations were continually addressed and opposed by Jesus, and as He probed deeper into the heart of the matter, they dug deeper into opposition.
Jesus was the only way to true rest for their souls. For the religious leaders, however, rest was associated with a day, the Sabbath day to be exact. The Sabbath day had become anything but restful. With 39 classes of prohibited actions that amounted to over 600 rules and regulations on that day alone, people were not blessed, but stressed on their “day of rest.”
As long as they were holding onto a day as the way to find satisfaction, they would not be able to see the true solution to their deepest need.
There are many things people today hold onto as the source of their strength, the way to victory, the picture of true rest, or the foundation of their faith. Many choose to hold onto their merits, occupations, positions, or plotted out personal plans in order to consider themselves successful.
I.Let Him Show You the Way
Matthew 12:1-2, At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”
- Jesus and His disciples were out walking through the grainfields, and the immediate picture we get is that as they were going about, the Pharisees were watching their every move.
- As they walk through the grainfields, the disciples begin to pick the heads of grain and eat them. The Pharisees immediately accused them of violating the Sabbath, on what account? Reaping, threshing, winnowing, preparing food.
- This presented four violations of the Sabbath according their rules.
- Sabbath observance was at the heart of the Jewish legalistic system.
Exodus 20:8-10, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work..
- The command was not to work, what was added to that was any burden a person would bear on that day could be a form of work.
- God had given the Sabbath day to Israel as a sign to them that they were His people, but also to give them rest for their souls.
- But the leaders of Israel had taken that which God had meant for good, to lighten their burden, and to refresh their souls and turned it into a religious burden that had the opposite result.
Slide – Commonly prohibited actions.
- The religious leaders of the day took the commands in Scripture and then added additional rules, restrictions and definitions of those commands.
- The Talmud included tradition explaining how to interpret the Scriptures, based on rabbinic debate and/or decisions, which became tradition and equal to Scripture. If you went against the Talmud, you were breaking the law.
Illus. A few Sabbath regulations.
- To violate rules and regulations like these would be to break the law.
- According to the Pharisees, Jesus’ disciples were breaking the Sabbath law because they weren’t observing the rabbinic rules and regulations.
- Jesus had said all who would come to Him would find rest, yet, the Pharisees were coming to Him, in order to find fault.
- Interestingly, all that they were ultimately trying to pursue (being right with the Lord), would be found through Jesus and His sacrifice.
- Righteousness before Jesus, was found in the Law, refraining from certain foods, keeping religious festivals, holding to the Sabbath.
- What they were looking for, would only be found in Jesus, as the scripture makes clear that these things were only a shadow of what was to come.
Colossians 2:16-17, Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
- In other words, what you are looking for can’t be found in food, or drink, or a Sabbath. These are shadows…It’s only found in Jesus.
Romans 10:4, For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
- In other words, once the reality has come, there is no need to cling to the shadows. Rather, cling to Jesus.
Illus. I’m right here!
- The issue was, though they had seen Jesus, they were not willing to choose Him.
- Jesus had come, He told all who would listen that He had come to fulfill the law (Mt. 5:17), He was all they needed. And He is all you need as well.
- Don’t get stuck in the shadows
- Jesus was standing right in front of them, but, the Pharisees were stuck observing the rules, rituals, and regulations. Which were all pointing to Him.
- The Sabbath day, pointing to the permanent rest in Christ, just as the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
- After coming to Jesus and giving their interpretation of what Jesus’ disciples were doing; He responded with references from the Word explaining why their actions were acceptable, even on the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:3, Have you not read what David did when he became hungry...?
- 1 Samuel 21:1-6, David and his men ate the consecrated bread (showbread) which was baked weekly (representing the twelve tribes of Israel). The twelve loaves would be replaced on each Sabbath day. The previous showbread was only to be eaten by the priests.
Matthew 12:5, Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?
- Next, Jesus presented the fact that the priests themselves broke their Sabbath rule. How? They offered sacrifices to the Lord, twice as many as other days (Numbers 28:9) and were not condemned.
Matthew 12:6-8, But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.
- Jesus said, something greater than the temple is here. They were so concerned about rituals that they forgot the whole purpose of having a temple – to bring people to the Lord.
- And because Jesus is greater than the temple, how much better is He at bringing people into relationship with God!
Hebrews 4:9, There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
- The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95, saying there remains a Sabbath for God’s people. The argument of Hebrews 4 is that the ultimate Sabbath encompasses much more than a singular day.
- God’s intent was much greater than just to give His people a vacation.
- I have heard it said this way, “The Sabbath is not a vacation, it’s location. It’s not so much a day, it’s a place.” The Jews thought the perfect location would be the Promised Land. But Hebrews 4 says that even after they were in the Promised Land, the Lord still spoke of a rest that was to come.
- The Promised Land wasn’t it, and the Sabbath day didn’t bring them what they longed for. So, Hebrews 4 concludes that true rest comes neither from vacation nor location. It is only found in a person, His name? Jesus.
- The Pharisees had become more concerned with the means and methods than the maker. So too, we can become more concerned with the methods of worship, rather than the One we worship.
Illus. You’ve made it!
- The things that the Pharisees thought were making them right, we doing the same to them. They couldn’t make their own way…Nor can you or I.
Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- Reach out to Him today
- From there He went to their synagogue and there was a man there with a withered hand.
- Wanting to find reason to accuse Jesus, they ask Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
- The implied answer seems to have been, if it served their own needs. But Jesus had made it clear throughout Scripture that He came to serve, and not be served.
Vs. 13-14, Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.
- Every one of us, in some way is withered. The solution, however, is not found in shadows, the solution is found in reaching out to Jesus, choosing Him, none other, and no other way.
- Extending to Jesus that which is broken, withered, worn, and weary.