JESUS' TEACHINGS CONCERNING THE SABBATH AND OTHER QUESTIONS

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    [Matthew:12:1-50].

    Lesson No.: 
    42
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" (Mark 2:27).

    Cross References: 

    I The Pharisees' Dispute with Jesus Concerning the Sabbath
    1. Immediate accusation is made, [Matthew:12:1-2]; [Mark:7:6]; [Luke:6:7]; [John:9:16].
    2. The disciples desire to satisfy their hunger, as did David, [Matthew:12:3-5]; [1 Samuel:21:6]; [Deuteronomy:23:24-25].
    Christ gives a clear statement of His pre-eminence, [Matthew:12:6]; [John:3:31]; [Hebrews:3:3]; [Colossians:1:18]; [Luke:11:31]
    4. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, [Matthew:12:7-8]; [Mark:2:27-28]; [LUK:6.5]; [Colossians:2:16].
    5. The Pharisees seek accusation against Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, [Matthew:12:9-10]; [Luke:6:6].
    6. Jesus reveals the inconsistency of his questioners, [Matthew:12:11]; [Luke:6:9]; [John:7:23].
    7. The man is healed on the Sabbath, [Matthew:12:12-13]; [Hosea:6:6]; [Micah:6:8]; [John:5:9].

    II The Pharisees' Plot to Destroy Jesus
    1. They form a conspiracy against the Son of God, [Matthew:12:14]; [Acts:23:12]; [Genesis:37:18]; [Daniel:6:4].
    2. Jesus was praised by the Prophet Isaiah, [Matthew:12:15-21]; [Philippians:2:5-11].
    3. Christ continues to heal those who come to him, [Matthew:12:22]; [Matthew:15:30]; [Matthew:17:18]; [Mark:1:31]; [Mark:10:52]; [Luke:7:21]; [John:4:50-53], [Isaiah:53:4-5]; [James:5:14-16].

    III The Charge that Jesus Cast Out Devils by Beelzebub
    1. The people were amazed at the miraculous healing, [Matthew:12:23]; [Matthew:13:54]; [Matthew:22:41-46].
    2. The Pharisees accuse Christ of obtaining His power from the devil, [Matthew:12:24]; [Luke:6:10-11]; [John:10:20].
    3. The accusers are confounded, [Matthew:12:25-29]; [Isaiah:11:2]; [Colossians:2:3]; [Luke:11:19-22].
    4. Our Lord marks a definite point of division, [Matthew:12:30]; [Luke:11:23]; [John:10:1]; [Ezekiel:18:4]; [1 John:3:7-8]; [1 John:5:18].
    5. Jesus warns the Pharisees of the dangerous ground they are on, [Matthew:12:31-37]; [Mark:3:29]; [Acts:7:51].

    IV Jesus' Denunciation of Sign-Seekers
    1. The Pharisees seek an exhibition but not divine leading, [Matthew:12:38-39]; [Luke:11:16]; [John:4:48]; [1 Corinthians:1:22].
    2. The Jews shall be condemned by the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba, [Matthew:12:40-42]; [2 Thessalonians:2:11-12].
    3. The final state of the backslidden Jews is revealed, [Matthew:12:43-45]; [Luke:11:24-26]; [2 Peter:2:20].
    4. Jesus declares who are his true brethren, [Matthew:12:46-50]; [Hebrews:2:11].

    Notes: 

    The question of Sabbath observance is the first point taken up in our lesson; and as it is vital that we be well grounded in all points concerning our Christian pilgrimage upon earth, so it is important that we know our ground concerning the Sabbath. This generation is much given to desecration of the day set apart by our Lord as a day of special honour and reverence to God, but as we study the Scriptures and open our hearts to the teachings of Jesus we shall find that observance of the Sabbath is not to be taken lightly.

    Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, is a holy day and as such it should be reverenced. One who honours God and His Word can not find it in his heart to bring reproach on the Gospel, and dishonour by pleasure trips, picnics, or other such frivolities of the world the day God has set aside, let alone buying, selling, or engaging in other business transactions.

    No Christian is ever found in the places of sin on Sunday or any other day, but a special reverence and regard should be placed upon the Lord's Day. As the Lord's Day, it should be spent in worshiping and honouring God, our Creator, and Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath and the One Whose resurrection from the dead has made possible the new creation. God will richly reward with joy, peace, and happiness the soul who thus honours Him and His Day.

    In the Ten Commandments we are told to "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Many people are seeking to accuse us regarding our observance of the Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week; but the fact that Jesus has honoured and blessed that day by His resurrection and His post-resurrection appearances to the assembled disciples, along with the fact that His Holy Spirit has been pleased to put His seal upon it as the day of worship during the 1900 years since that time, is enough to convince every honest inquirer after truth that Sunday is the day that God has chosen. The Jewish Sabbath has nothing to do with the Christian church, nor has the Christian church anything to do with the Jewish Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath is an institution of the Law in connection with Israel. The great documents addressed to the Christian church, the Epistles, never mention the Jewish Sabbath once, nor is there anywhere in the Epistles an exhortation to keep the Jewish Sabbath

    God's Word declares a few things that are well for us to remember when it comes to Sabbath observance. Christ came not to destroy the Law but to fulfil it. When David and his companions were fleeing from Saul they had been without food for some time and were hungry. They came to the priest who had no food to give them except the shewbread, which was set before the Lord. It was holy bread and was lawful only for the priests to take for their use when new bread was placed upon the table. On this occasion the priest gave the bread to David and his men, and they ate it. This action might be termed a violation of the Law, but the need of these men was so great it took precedence over the Law. Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was given for the good of man, and not man for the Sabbath. There is one thing, which Jesus displayed which took precedence over the Law -- and that is mercy. If it were not for the mercy of God we should all be doomed to destruction, but through mercy we are heirs of the promise ([James:2:5]).

    The Pharisees should have seen that the disciples were in need of food, and have satisfied their demand; but like self-righteous people of all ages, they sought to magnify their own position and point out the error of the other ([Matthew:7:5]). Their attitude was not one of mercy but of judgment ([Matthew:7:12]). As the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man, and Jesus Himself was Lord of the Sabbath, it was altogether fitting and proper that mercy should be especially manifest on that day. Jesus healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, and again displayed mercy. True, the false accusers in the person of the Pharisees were there to hinder, if possible. They desired an exhibition -- but that is never the motive of the works of God. Love, compassion, and mercy are always behind His every word, thought, and deed. Many people today are seeking to follow a sign; but if, instead, they will follow the Word -- preach the Word -- signs will follow them.

    As Christ is our example, this makes very plain the exact manner in which we should conduct ourselves. The Pharisees were definitely in error in seeking to condemn an act of mercy on any day, and especially on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded His accusers that if one of them owned a sheep -- a mere animal -- which fell into a pit on the Sabbath that they would not hesitate to save it. But, in their estimation, a man -- a living soul -- was not of sufficient value that effort should be made on the Sabbath day to grant him mercy.

    That attitude is only formality. The continual observance of forms and ceremonies is not the sum and substance of the Gospel story. Salvation from sin through the mercy of God, purchased by Jesus' Blood shed on the Cross of Calvary, is the all-important requisite. Ceremonies, beautiful though they may be, without salvation -- the mercy of God -- are but sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. It takes more than worldly appearances to secure the approval of the Lord, for God looketh upon the heart ([1 Samuel:16:7]). Worldly adoration or importance will be of no value before the Judgment Bar of God.

    There is yet another topic in our lesson, which is of great value, and that is Divine Healing. In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, we find a promise not only of a Messiah, a Saviour, but also of a Healer Divine ([Isaiah:53:1-5]; [Matthew:8:16-17]). In the Epistle of James we are told in time of sickness to pray first, and then call for the elders, if necessary; and God will certainly honour us for following His Word. We can trust the Lord for our healing and He will never fail. Remember that in the beginning God made man ([Genesis:2:7]); and God has a perfect knowledge of our physical and mental make-up. It is only wisdom, then, to go for healing to the Great Physician rather than to someone whose experience has extended over but a very few years at the most.

    Jesus revealed to the Jewish nation the results of continuing in the sinful way they were going. They had opportunity, and had the light; but the Spirit of God had departed. Every backslider can look for a time when the evil spirit will return in a multiplied number. This happened to Israel; and, as a result, terrible things have come upon that nation in these last days.

    Questions: 

    1. Of what did the Pharisees accuse the disciples?
    2. According to the Old Testament, did their accusation have foundation?
    3. What is the position of Christ concerning the Sabbath?
    4. Explain why it was lawful for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath.
    5. Upon what foundation did the Pharisees place their belief that it was sin to heal on the Sabbath?
    6. From what source would the accusers have us believe that Christ received power to cast out devils?
    7. Does Jesus continue to heal those who look to Him?
    8. Do Christians seek for signs?
    9. What is the final condition of one who has once known the Lord but has fallen back into sin?