Text: Matthew 12.1-14 (Read it here)
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
(Matthew 12.11-12, NIV)
Author: Rob Anderson
Earlier this year, our extended family spent a week at a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico. Literally just steps away from the white sands, the breeze coming in from across the ocean, the beautiful sunsets and the peaceful sound of the waves crashing on shore.
The picture you see on this page is the picture of my “breakfast nook” every morning. A cup of coffee in my hand, often times my Bible or a book to read. A lot of time was spent enjoying this view.
But a lot of time was spent ignoring this view, as well.
See, it is difficult for me—and my guess for many of you—to turn everything off and just enjoy the moment. Truth be known, it took several days to get to the point where I could relax enough to fully soak in the scenery. As long as there is wifi, there is work to be done and it is too easy to slip into the habit of making a day of rest a day of regular routine.
The Pharisees understood this. In their attempt to ensure people kept the Sabbath in accordance to God’s laws, they began to apply rule on top of rule on top of even more rule. Their intent was good, but the result was not and as a result, their rules superseded the purpose for the Sabbath: rest and remembrance of the God who made all things.
As you have read through these daily devotional thoughts during June, I hope you have been encouraged to take a moment of Sabbath here and there.
The work will still be there.
The moment may not.
Why do you think the Jews were so adamant about making rules as to what one could or could not do on the Sabbath? In what ways is this just a natural reaction to following instructions—defining exactly what was required? In what ways does this run counter to the nature of God?
Why is it easier sometimes to follow the specifics of the law than it is to offer mercy? What are some times in your life that you wish you had been shown more mercy than sacrifice? What examples can you give where you wish you had shown more mercy than sacrifice?
In what ways do we as followers of Christ refuse to offer healing for people because they do not fit our definition of what it means to be the kind of people deserving of healing or forgiveness? In what ways do these actions and attitudes cause us to try to play the role of God rather then being individuals pointing others to the sovereign Lord?