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24: Back in Galilee; Healing

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 3:7-12

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 12:1-8                Mark 2:23-28              Luke 6:1-5
Matt. 12:9-14              Mark 3:1-6                  Luke 6:6-11
Matt. 12:15-21             Mark 3:7-12

Outline:

  1. Parting with the Establishment    Matt. 12:1-8
  2. Doing Good                                 Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:7-12

Context/Discussion/Comments:

These incidents take place between visiting Jerusalem the second time [Feast of Tabernacles] and visiting Jerusalem for the third time [Passover].  Perhaps the picking of grain happened on the way back from Jerusalem but near Capernaum in Galilee.  The other incidents definitely happened in Galilee near Capernaum.  The synagogue most often frequented by Jesus was in Capernaum.  You will note in His first year of ministry that His ministry takes place mostly on the Sabbath.  That’s when the people were most likely to congregate.  Evidently the Pharisees were watching Jesus very closely in that they didn’t like His message or His means, especially when it involved the Sabbath.

Jesus and His disciples are challenged by the Pharisees when they began to pick grain and eat.  Jesus counters by reminding them that their great and wonderful King David went into the temple and got the consecrated showbread for his men and him to eat.  Also, the priests are obligated to work on the Sabbath.  Jesus is to be our High Priest but that is not yet fully revealed.  Jesus reminds the Pharisees that He, the Son of Man, is Lord of the Sabbath and that the Lord values mercy over sacrifice.

On another occasion or perhaps even the same day, Jesus enters the synagogue [Capernaum] where He meets a man with a shriveled hand.  Before anything happens the Pharisees ask if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath.  Of course Jesus has already done much healing on the Sabbath.  Jesus responds by saying they would think nothing of rescuing their animals from harm on the Sabbath and furthermore, we are to do good on the Sabbath.  So immediately Jesus heals the man’s hand and the Jews begin plotting again as to how they might kill Him.

On another day or perhaps even the same day, Jesus is again forced into one of the local fishing boats to get away from the pressing crowds.  He teaches from the boat to many who came from far away; Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, east of the Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon.  Many were healed and relieved of their evil spirits.  Once again, Jesus refused the witness of the evil spirits as to who He is.  Their acknowledgement of who He is was very clear but it was also not considered credible because of their infirmity.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Religious activity/laws do not take priority over doing good. What one
    does on the Sabbath is more important than what one does not do. Show mercy,
    always.
  2. One’s heart is a better indicator of one’s relationship with God than one’s
    rules governing what is "proper".
  3. Doing good takes precedent over religious laws, civil laws, religious habits
    and traditions.
  4. Actions speak louder than words. What you do gives credibility to what you
    say.
  5. Come see and hear the One who is Merciful and Mighty.
  6. Support and encourage those who can do what you can not do.

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