I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Recently, Willow Friends did a production of Frozen Jr. I absolutely loved it! I have two beautiful young daughters under the age of 12, and Frozen was one of their favorite movies. In the production, the artist who played Queen Elsa sings a lovely ballad entitled “Let it Go!” The song is basically Elsa’s expression that she is letting go of one way of thinking and adopting another that is more triumphant. In our text, I hear Jesus telling the Pharisees to “Let it go!”
In Matthew 12:1-2, the Pharisees observed Jesus’ disciples breaking off some heads of grain to eat because they were hungry. They accused them of picking grain or doing work on the Sabbath. They let their legalistic view of the Sabbath dismiss their compassion for the starving disciples.
Jesus was encouraging the Pharisees to accept a new way of thinking about the law, but to do that, they would have to let go of their old way of thinking. The Pharisees were very legalistic in their understanding of the Jewish law. Therefore, the law became more of a burden to those who desired to follow it. The original intent of Sabbath was a gift of rest to the people, but the Pharisees disregarded this and instead placed the focus on rigid obedience.
People are not going to get everything right all the time. Neither will you or I. In the kingdom of God, we are to put love and compassion over legalism. I have found that asking the question, “What does love require of me?” helps to give me the answer of what I should do when faced with a legalistic dilemma. Thus, when it comes to ‘keep the rules’ or ‘show compassion,’ it is easier for me to look at the rules and sing, “Let it go! Let it go!”
- Reflect and think about, what ‘religious rules’ am I holding onto?
- Where could I be more compassionate when it comes to others?
- If you are not serving, consider finding somewhere to serve in our local church. Click here to see the opportunities to serve and get involved at Willow
We are in week four of reading Matthew which means it’s a new chapter! If you have a printer, visit BibleGateway.com and print out all of Chapter 12. You can use this printout all week and mark it up. If you don’t, you can write in your Bible. Next, read the chapter and ask yourself the five W’s and an H.
- Who is speaking and to whom?
- Where is it taking place?
- When did it happen?
- What happened?
- Why did it happen?
- How did it happen?