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 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 12:3-6 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 9:14-15
  • Matthew 12:39-42
  • John 5:16-17


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.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.