24 February 2010

Jesus Knows the Scriptures

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”  Matthew 12:1-8
  • The recorders of Jesus' ministry are giving us a clear picture, are they not?  It appears that early in Jesus' ministry, there was constant tension between Jesus and the religious leaders over the Sabbath.  Jesus was constantly doing things on the Sabbath that drew not only questions from the religious leaders of the day, but their growing anger and hatred as well.  Remember that those who wrote about Jesus' life did not tell us all of what Jesus did because as John said, they simply could not.  What they wrote was for the reader to believe that Jesus is our Saviour and our Lord.   So, there are some things we need to learn from this constant battle over the Sabbath.
  • As any rabbi would, Jesus knew the Bible.  He knew how to read the Bible.  He knew how to teach from the Bible.  His authority combined with his intimate knowledge of scriptures give this amateur teacher pause and causes me to worship him all the more.  
  • Here, he speaks about an account from 1 Samuel 21.  This is the second straight account we read about Jesus using a highly-regarded historical hero to challenge their thinking.  First, he spoke about Moses and now David.  He then points out an obvious "exception" to Sabbath law prescribed in Numbers 28 in which the priests had to work in order to perform the prescribed Sabbath sacrifices.  He then closes his defense with another quotation from Hosea 6.
  •  The religious leaders would have known the scriptures as well.  This demonstrates that knowledge of the scriptures is not enough, but it is how we interpret the scripturesJesus gives us a hint of the interpretive problem, "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless."  God's Law was given so that His people would know Him better.  God's Word was given so that His people would know Him better.  It is clear from the constant friction between Jesus and the religious leaders, that the religious teachers had improperly interpreted the scriptures.  Which led them to "condemn the guiltless".  This is why faulty religious teaching is so dangerous.  Because faulty religious teaching condemns the guiltless and this leads to unjust consequences.
  • So why did the religious leaders interpret scripture wrongly?  They did not know the author.  They focused so intently on the rules themselves and the rules they created so that people would not break God's Law, they forgot that the Laws they were so concerned about were the Lord's, not theirs.  They stopped asking, "What does God want?  How does he want us to live?"  Apparently, God wants us to show mercy to one another more than our constant apologies.  God wants kindness more than spilled blood.  
  • For us to have a proper interpretation of God's Word, we must have a proper understanding of the Author Himself.  This must be the hope of this blog and every other study of scripture:  Who is our Heavenly Father?  What does He want?  How can I serve Him?

No comments:

Post a Comment