What Jesus Did! 'Looking Beyond the Letter' — Matthew 12:3-6

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jesus said to them, "You have read what David did when he and the people with him were hungry. David went into God's house. David and the people with him ate the bread that was offered to God. It was against the law for David or the people with him to eat that bread. Only the priests were allowed to eat it. And you have read in the law {of Moses} that on every Sabbath day the priests at the temple break the law about the Sabbath day. But the priests are not wrong for doing that. I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the temple."
— Matthew 12:3-6
Illustration of Matthew 12:3-6 — "You have read what David did when he and the people with him were hungry."

Key Thought

Jesus emphasizes that we must look beyond the letter of the Law. While technically violating the Sabbath by eating the holy bread, David and his companions are not condemned because of God's plan to use David. While technically violating the Sabbath prohibition against work, the priests serving in the Temple are not violating the Law because they are doing what they are called to do to bless God's Temple. We must look beyond the letter of the Law and listen for the heart of God in the Law. Jesus is greater than David and greater than the Temple. For him, the work of God must continue every day, especially on Sabbath days, because that is the will of God beyond the Law of God.

Today's Prayer

Lord God Almighty, thank you for giving me Scripture to read about your work and relationship with your people of Israel. Please help me to find your will in Scripture and not just a set of rules. But Father, more than just knowing what you desire of me, please help me to do it. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

About that same time, Jesus was walking through the fields of grain on a Sabbath day. Jesus' followers were with him, and they were hungry. So the followers began to pick the grain and eat it. The Pharisees saw this. They said to Jesus, "Look! Your followers are doing something that is against the {Jewish} law to do on the Sabbath day." Jesus said to them, "You have read what David did when he and the people with him were hungry. David went into God's house. David and the people with him ate the bread that was offered to God. It was against the law for David or the people with him to eat that bread. Only the priests were allowed to eat it. And you have read in the law {of Moses} that on every Sabbath day the priests at the temple break the law about the Sabbath day. But the priests are not wrong for doing that. I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the temple. The Scripture says, 'I don't want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.' You don't really know what those words mean. If you understood those words, then you would not judge those people that have done nothing wrong. "The Son of Man is Lord (ruler) over the Sabbath day. " Jesus left that place and went into their synagogue. In the synagogue there was a man with a crippled hand. Some Jews there were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus of doing wrong. So they asked Jesus, "Is it right to heal on the Sabbath day?" Jesus answered, "If any of you has a sheep, and the sheep falls into a ditch on the Sabbath day, then you will take the sheep and help it out of the ditch. Surely a man is more important than a sheep. So the law {of Moses} allows people to do good things on the Sabbath day." Then Jesus said to the man with the crippled hand, "Let me see your hand." The man put his hand out for Jesus, and the hand became well again, the same as the other hand. But the Pharisees left and made plans to kill Jesus.

Matthew 12:1-14

Related Scripture Readings

Then the followers of John came to Jesus. They said to Jesus, "We and the Pharisees fast often. But your followers don't fast. Why?" Jesus answered, "{When there is a wedding,} the friends of the bridegroom are not sad while he is with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will leave them. The friends are sad when the bridegroom leaves. Then they will fast.

Matthew 9:14-15

Jesus answered, "Evil and sinful people are the ones that want to see a miracle for a sign (proof). But no miracle will be given as a sign to those people. The only sign will be the miracle that happened to the prophet Jonah. Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights. On the judgment day, you people that live now will be compared with the people from Nineveh, and they will be witnesses to show that you are wrong (guilty). Why? Because when Jonah preached to those people, they changed their hearts and lives. And you are listening to someone greater than Jonah, {but you refuse to change}! On the judgment day, you people that live now will also be compared with the Queen of the South, and she will be a witness to show that you are wrong (guilty). Why? Because she traveled from far, far away to listen to Solomon's wise teaching. And I tell you that someone greater than Solomon is right here, {but you won't listen to me}!

Matthew 12:39-42

Jesus was doing these things (healing) on the Sabbath day. So the Jews began to do bad things to Jesus. But Jesus said to the Jews, "My Father never stops working. And so I work too."

John 5:16-17

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.