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Understanding of the Law

Briefing: Have you seen someone get corrected, causing their pride to swell up? Were they able to swallow their pride and accept the correction or did they carry on and compound their problem? Have you ever known yourself to act this way?

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 12:1-14.

On the Street: The Pharisees did not know the correct interpretation of the law. These guys were supposed to be the experts. Jesus said that they have condemned the innocent wrongly. Isn’t this what they did to Jesus?

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. In my Bible, this title is capitalized which tells me that it was meant as an official title. As Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus has total, absolute authority over what is lawful to do on the Sabbath.

Jesus could have easily told them of His authority and walked away, not caring whether or not they understood, but as we have seen so many times before, He has compassion for them. These are the very guys that will plot to kill Him. In our profession we would call this, “going above and beyond”. Jesus tries to logically explain but the Pharisees get so hung up on “the letter of the law” that they miss the true meaning. In the passage before this (Matthew 11:25-26), Jesus reveals that God has hidden the meaning from these “teachers” of the law and revealed it to little children, those with childlike faith.

Next, we see Jesus in the synagogue healing a man with a shriveled hand. Jesus again is confronted by Pharisees who try to trap Him with the law. Jesus reveals their hypocrisy, knowing that they would have compassion on their animals, but not on this man with the crippled hand.

In this study, there are a few sections where we have listed the positive characteristics of individuals. This lesson could be on the negative characteristics of the Pharisees. These leaders were so egotistical that they did not know or care that they were in the presence of God. They saw the miracles He did, just like the cities in Matthew 11:20-24 but like those cities, they were too lost and prideful to change.

Highlights from this Read: Verse 6 is easy to overlook. Jesus tells the Pharisees that someone greater than the temple is here. It’s Him!

For insight on why the Jewish rulers were so absolute in their condemnation of Jesus’ work on the Sabbath, see the following references. Genesis 2:2 says that Sabbath is on Saturday. Genesis 2:3 tells us that the Sabbath was holy. Genesis 1:3 tells us about the days and evenings being measured differently than today. Their day started at sundown. Our modern day starts at midnight. Leviticus 23:3, Exodus 34:21, 35:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:21 all speak to doing no work on the Sabbath.

Investigational Resources: See Mark 2:23-3:6 and Luke 6:1-11 from their perspective. 1 Samuel 21:6 is where you can find the story of David and his men eating the bread. Leviticus 24:5, 9 tells of the priest eating the bread.

Officer Safety Principle: As complacency can be a killer in law enforcement, pride can be just as deadly. Be on your guard against spiritual pride. Give Jesus control of your life.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!