Reading: Matthew 12: 1-21
Blanks: bread, innocent, mercy, good, Stretch, hope
(3) Today again we meet a religious group called the Pharisees.
The Pharisees were those who tried to obey every detail of the Bible in their own way.
(3) For example, the Bible says that they should do no work on the Sabbath day which is Saturday.
Then, the scribes many forms of work that they should not do on the Sabbath day.
(3) For examples, they should do no harvesting on the Sabbath day.
(2) They should not prepare a meal on the Sabbath day.
It has to be done before the Sabbath day.
(3) On the Sabbath day, they should not walk beyond 1000 yards (about a half mile) away from their home.
(3) They can tie a knot with one hand, on the Sabbath day, if they can.
That is fine on the Sabbath day.
(3) But they should not tie a knot with two hands, on the Sabbath day, because that is doing work on the Sabbath day.
(3) Even thinking about working was a violation of the Sabbath.
So they did every necessary work before the Sabbath day.
(3) In fact, many chapters in the books of Mishnah, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud, talked about how to keep the Sabbath holy and do no works.
There were many customs, many rules and many regulations.
It was very difficult to keep all of those.
But the Pharisees determined to keep them on the Sabbath day.
(2) Then one Sabbath day, they saw the students of Jesus went to a field, and picked some heads of grain (which was harvesting and preparing a meal) and ate them.
And Jesus didn't say anything to them.
Jesus just allowed his students to ignore the rules that the Pharisees worked so hard to keep:
So the Pharisees were like:
Your students are working on the Sabbath day.
They should do no work today.”
Then since they read the Bible a lot, Jesus gave them a short Bible study again.
Jesus was like:
“Well, this is how I read the Bible.
(3) In the Bible we read about the shewbread: I Samuel 21:1-6.
The shewbread are the 12 loaves of bread that the priests placed on every Sabbath day on a table in the holy place of the tabernacle as an offering to God.
The priests put new showbread every week and ate what was placed before.
(3) “But then David and his people were hungry when they were running away from King Saul.
The priest had only the showbread to give.
So David and his people ate the showbread that only the priests were supposed to eat.
"But did God judge David and his people for this?
No, God understood that David and his people were hungry and needed to eat.
And for David it was fine.
"So I am sure that God would understand my students.
They ate because they were hungry.
God understands that.
And they are ok because they follow me.
(3) "Here is another example.
The priests had a lot of works to do on the Sabbath day at the temple.
They were especially busy on the Sabbath day.
But God allowed them to work, because people needed to worship God there.
God understood that.
So as long as my students follow me, it is ok.
“In fact, God made the Sabbath for people.
God’s purpose for the Sabbath day was to help people to rest and grow spiritually.
It was nothing more.
That was the intention of God.
It was for the people.
Then again, Jesus used this passage of the Bible which he often used to teach the Pharisees:
(3) “Again in the Bible we read: Hosea 6:6:
“God desires mercy, not sacrifice.”
Jesus was saying:
(3) Let’s say that you show mercy to someone.
And let’s say that you sacrifice your life for God.
Which is better?
Which one does God value most?
(3) Showing mercy.
God is like that.
(3) The Pharisees were trying to sacrifice their lives in their own way.
But Jesus was like:
“God wants you to show mercy, compassion and kindness.
God wants you to help people and be merciful to them.”
(3) “God understands our needs.
God is merciful, kind and compassionate to us.
If you understand that, you will not judge my innocent students.
You will not judge all those people who need God’s mercy.
You will be merciful to them.”
(2) “Showing God’s mercy is more important to God.
It was more important than the showbread and the Sabbath.
Following me is more important."
So Jesus was merciful to his students and to those who need his help.
And Jesus wanted to help them to understand this merciful God on the Sabbath day.
(3) That is how God wants to be known.
God wanted to be known as the merciful God.
And Jesus wanted to help God to be known like that.
(3) People might have been wondering what to expect from God.
When God shows up in our life, how does God show up?
Then Jesus says that God shows up as the merciful God.
(3) In other words, if you want to do something for God, if you ask:
What does this merciful and kind and compassionate God expect me to do?
The merciful God wants to help you to love people and understand people.
The merciful God wants to help you to be merciful to other people.
The merciful God wants to help you to make the world a more merciful place, in Jesus name.
When you live like that, you are living like God.
And people will know that you are God’s child.
Because you behave like God.
Because you serve God and people like Jesus.
Jesus, you have started this merciful work among us.
You help us to live in your merciful way.
May we become the merciful ones like you God.
Thank you for accomplishing these good works through us, among us and in us.
Thank you for your wonderful blessings in our life.
In Jesus name, we pray.