Jason Helopoulos / Sep 22, 2019 / Matthew 12:1-21
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
In last Sunday’s sermon, Jason showed us from Matthew 12:1-21 how truly compassionate Jesus is to each and every one of his own. In the passage before this we saw that Jesus invites us to come to him and that if we do we will find rest for our souls. And while we might be tempted to think that our rest is only future and eternal, he tells us that his burden is light and his yoke is easy. The burden and yoke can only refer to our toil here today, and the rest that he promises comes in the midst of it. His rest is for now.
Jason walked us through the passage by developing three key ideas…
1 Jesus, as the Christ of compassion, frees his people from the burden of legalism. The Pharisees, in an attempt to be holy and to end the long silence of God, created a heavy culture of legalism. In this teaching we see Jesus freeing his people from that burden. By eating grains from a field, the disciples are not stealing, but it is not theft the pharisees are concerned with. It’s the work required to clean the grain and put it into their mouths. This is the Sabbath after all.
But Jesus said to them, “Have you not read the law?” Jesus knew they had read it, but he was challenging how they read it. They were not reading it with the eyes of compassion, not in the Micah 6:8 sense where we see that God desires justice, mercy, and a humble walk with Him. They were reading it through the lens of legalism, and Jesus rebuked them for it. David ate the bread of the presence, and any man knows to pull his sheep out of a pit even on the Sabbath. But one greater than David was there, and those made in God’s image are of infinitely more value than sheep.
2 The Sabbath law was given by a compassionate God for the good of his people. It is given for the good of our SOULS, and by it we can come together one day in seven without encumbrance. We’re given this grace so that we can go out and work. It is given for the good of our BODIES. Without this law we would work ourselves to death. God knows us well, that we need time to not work, and so he gives it to us. It is given for the good of OTHERS. The Sabbath was given out of compassion, and it angered Jesus that the Pharisees could not see this.
3 The Christ of compassion always considers our weakness. Despite his being perfectly holy and living among unholy people, Jesus is rarely angry. But when he is it is always for the same reason – a hardness of heart toward others. The money changers showed a hardness of heart toward foreigners. Pharisees show a hardness of heart toward the man with the withered hand. And any hard heart toward people is a hard heart toward God.
Matthew quotes the Old Testament often, but no passage is longer than these four verses (18-21) from Isaiah. Looking ahead to Jesus, he sees a servant who will not break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick. He sees the Christ of compassion. We are all afflicted, but Jesus is compassionate. His rest is for now and for all eternity.