One Greater Than The Temple!

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Matthew 12:1-8 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shew bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

What is the “Sabbath”?

When we study the things of God we need to be very careful how we handle His Word. The Pharisees charged Jesus with allowing His disciples to do something which broke the Law of the “Sabbath”. Now, what is the “Sabbath”? If you look the word up in a secular dictionary, such as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, you are told that “Sabbath” is:

“a. The seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians.

b. Sunday observed among Christians as a day of rest and worship.”

The Jews considered each “day” to be “evening and morning”, with sunset to be the beginning of a new day. This is why the Jews keep the Sabbath from Friday at Sunset to Saturday at Sunset. Keeping the Sabbath was the earliest command that God gave humanity. In the Book of Genesis this day of rest was not called “Sabbath”, but we read:

Genesis 1:31-2:1-3 God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

The seventh day – the Sabbath – was a day that God set apart from all the others. Creation was finished. A loving God built our planet, and put Adam and Eve in it’s special Garden called Eden. The Sabbath was a day to reflect on the love of God toward His creation, especially toward humanity. God did not have to make humanity. He was not compelled to care for us, but loved us, and loves us still. He made humanity “in His image and after His likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

The Sabbath is a time to rest and reflect on the undeserved love of God our King.

The first time the word “Sabbath” occurs in the Bible is in the Book of Exodus. Israel had been freed from Egypt, and were traveling through the wilderness of Sin. Sin is both a place as well as a bad state to be in. Israel should be loving God, thanking Him for freeing them from slavery. But instead Israel:

Exodus 16:2-3 … murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: {saying} Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt …

God heard their murmuring. Instead of punishing Israel, God sent quail and manna – the bread of Heaven – to feed His people. God told His people to gather a certain amount every day, but on the sixth day to gather twice as much. Why? The Lord explained:

Exodus 16:23 … To morrow is the rest of the holy SABBATH unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and {boil} that ye will {boil}; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

Word Study Israel was not the work in gathering quail nor manna on the שַׁבָּתShabbâth, {pronounced shab-bawth’, it means “intermission”}. God gave Israel this Law of Rest “to prove or test them, whether they will walk in My Law or not.” When Israel got to the base of Mount Sinai, and Moses went up into the Mount to receive the Law, God told Israel:

Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the Shabbâth day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Shabbâth day, and hallowed it.

Made in the image of God, the Lord wanted Israel to imitate Him, to do as He did at creation. One day in seven was set aside as Shabbâth, {pronounced shab-bawth’}, which means “intermission”. As God expanded the Law every seventh year was also a Shabbâth, an intermission:

Leviticus 25:4 … in the seventh year shall be a Shabbâth of rest unto the land, a Shabbâth for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

The Shabbâth for the Israelite was not optional. To fail to keep the Shabbâth was to commit a Capital Offense.

Exodus 31:14-16 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

The Shabbâth rest was specifically given to Israel, a perpetual covenant, something that would never cease until rescinded by God. It was a one sided contract. God said “You will do it”, and Israel was to do it. To fail to do it was a death sentence (see Exodus 35:2).

Illustrate When Nehemiah led the refugees of the children of Israel back to rebuild Jerusalem he caught the Israelites buying and selling on the Shabbâth. Nehemiah chastised them, saying (Nehemiah 13:18) “Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Shabbâth..”, From that point on the gates of the city of Jerusalem were locked, and guards posted, so that there would be no buying and selling on the Sabbath. God promised Jerusalem if they kept the Shabbâth holy and unto the Lord that there would be blessing on all (Jeremiah 17:21-27). If they failed to keep the Shabbâth, there would be a curse brought on them.

Why was it a death penalty for the Jew to knowingly break Shabbâth? Because Shabbâth – the weekly intermission, the festival intermission, or the 7 year intermission represented something greater than just a time of rest. Shabbâth was a Royal Decree, a Commandment from the King of Israel. It was not just another day to work and increase your riches. It was a day to recognize the Kingdom of God and it’s King. To fail to keep Shabbâth was to commit treason against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Shabbâth emphasized faith in God and allegiance to God. It was a rest with God as it’s focus!

Your Disciples, Jesus, Are Law Breakers!

The Bible makes it very clear that Shabbâth is a special day set aside for the Israelite, an intermission to show your allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Matthew 12:1-2 Jesus went on the Shabbâth day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Shabbâth day.

Jesus was not eating any corn, but His disciples were pulling ears of corn and eating them on the Sabbath Day. Your disciples are doing that which is unlawful on Shabbâth”!,the Pharisees said. What the Pharisees were accusing the disciples of Christ was a Capital Offense! You could be stoned with stones until dead for breaking Shabbâth. Shabbâth was not optional, but a mandate from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Were Jesus’ disciples sinning? Absolutely not. To believe that Jesus allowed His disciples to sin while He watched is to diminish our Lord and Savior. The Bible is very clear that Jesus is:

John 1:29 … the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world

It is this same Jesus Who shed His blood for you, Who,

Hebrews 9:14 … through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Jesus cannot take away the sin of the world, nor can He be a suitable offering unto God for our sin, if He Himself is a sinner. Only a sinner would stand by and watch others in his charge sin. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, was in all points tempted as we are, yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). What Jesus’ disciples was doing was not wrong, nor a twisting of God’s Law of the Sabbath. Jesus did what He often did when challenged by the Pharisees.

Jesus quoted Scripture.
Shabbâth is an intermission to honor God.
Shabbâth is not broken if what you are doing is in service to God.

Matthew 12:3-4 {Jesus} said unto {the Pharisees}, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shew bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

In the Tabernacle and later in the Temple there was a Table Of Showbread, also called “The Bread of His Presence”. This Bread was constantly in the Presence of God (Exodus 25:30). This “Hallowed Bread” was not to be eaten but by the priests of Israel, and only after fresh bread was baked. The passage that our Lord quotes is from 1 Samuel 21. David and his men have been evading King Saul, running for their lives, and came to the Tabernacle hungry. David asked for 5 loaves of Showbread that the priest was in process of switching it out with fresher loaves. Only the priests – according to the Law – were to eat of this showbread (see Leviticus 24:5-9; Exodus 25:30). Yet the priests gave this bread to David and his men.

Why was it o.k. for David and his men to eat the Hallowed Bread? Because David was chosen by God to succeed King Saul (1 Samue1 16:1, 7, 10-13) as King over Israel. The priests served God by feeding David and his men, men who were evading King Saul, who was trying his best to kill David. David was God’s anointed. You are not violating the Law when you are doing the will of God.

Jesus went on to tell the Pharisees:

Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Shabbâth days the priests in the temple profane the Shabbâth, and are blameless?

Jesus also noted that – according to the Law – the Priests were to make burnt offerings on the Shabbâth days.

Numbers 28:9-10 And on the Shabbâth day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every Shabbâth, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

The priests are serving God as King of Kings and Lord of Lords when they make burnt offerings on Shabbâth. It is not a violation of Shabbâth to serve God as King. Shabbâth is recognizing and honoring God as King.

The disciples were following Jesus on Shabbâth day when they became hungry. Jesus Christ is no mere mortal man. He is no mere Rabbi (teacher). Who is Jesus?

Jesus Christ Is GREATER Than …

Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is ONE GREATER THAN the temple.

The Priests served God in the Temple on the Shabbâth – but our Lord Jesus is GREATER than the Temple. Jesus made this “greater than” statement many times in His ministry. He wanted us all to know that He is no mere Man. Listen Beloved:

Jesus is GREATER THAN Jonah (Matthew 12:41)
Jesus is GREATER THAN Solomon (Matthew 12:42)
Jesus is GREATER THAN Jacob (John 4:12-14)
Jesus is GREATER THAN John the Baptist (John 5:36)
Jesus is GREATER THAN Abraham (John 8:53-58)
Jesus is GREATER THAN Anyone or Anything, Ever!

Jesus Christ is the Greatest Person Who has ever lived. He is the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, Eternal God among us. Here are just a few scriptures that speak of Christ:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 20:28 .. Thomas answered and said unto {Jesus}, My Lord and my God.

Philippians 2:6 {Jesus}, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son {the Father} saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

In the Book of Revelation Jesus told John “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8). I could go on and on. The Scripture is quite clear that this Jesus is “God with us” (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22–23). Jesus possesses the abilities of God, being eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and immutable. See the following: (Eternal (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1–2; 8:58; 17:5; 24; Colossians 1:15, 17; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 1:8); omnipresent (Matthew 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13); omniscient (John 2:24, 25; 16:30; 21:17; Revelation 2:23); omnipotent (Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 3:21; Revelation 1:8; cf. John 5:17; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 28:18) and immutable (Hebrews 1:10–12; 13:8)).

Then Jesus makes it quite clear to the Pharisees. He says:

Matthew 12:7-8 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the Shabbâth day.

The title “Son of Man” is used by Jesus of Himself 81 times in the New Testament. The title “Son of Man” was used in the prophecies of Daniel to describe the Promised Messiah:

Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

When the Messiah came, He would bring forth a Kingdom that would never end. Jesus Christ believed Himself to be the Promised Messiah. When Jesus stood being judged by the Rulers of Israel, just prior to His crucifixion, the High Priest asked Jesus:

Mark 14:61-62 …. Art thou the Christ {the Messiah}, the Son of the Blessed {the Son of God}? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Jesus Christ is the Son of Man, the Messiah, God Incarnate, God with us, God come to save us. His disciples do not break the Shabbâth to eat while they are following Jesus. When you are following Jesus, you are honoring God. Jesus told the Pharisees:

Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

Jesus quotes a portion of Hosea 6:6. The full verse reads, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” The Pharisees followed not God, but ritual. They did not know why they did the rituals they did, for they had no knowledge of God. The disciples of Christ, however, were following God when they were following Jesus. If you follow God, God will meet your needs. I have quoted this scripture quite often, but I feel compelled to quote it once more:

Matthew 6:31-32 … saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The disciples in following Jesus were “seeking first the Kingdom of God”. They were “learning of Jesus” (Matthew 11:29). They were not sinning, but serving. The best place to be as a Christian is in the footprints of the Master. Live for Him! Follow Jesus, shine for Him. Let His Spirit live in you – and you will be blessed!

Who Is Jesus Christ To You?

The Pharisees saw Jesus as a wayward Rabbi, a disrupter of their rituals and power. Those who follow Jesus find Him to be much, much more. God gave the Law of Shabbâth to Israel. This ritual was never given to the Church. The Apostle Paul, speaking to Christ’s Church, writes:

Colossians 2:16-17 … Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

The Jewish restrictions on what could and could not be eaten, the festivals and special feasts, and the Shabbâth were Old Testament shadows of the New Testament Jesus Christ. The Church – the Body is of Christ. It is Jesus Christ Who saves us by His sacrifice on Calvary. It is Jesus Christ Who promises us Eternal Life in Him. It is Jesus Christ Who is our rest, our Shabbâth. We pursue Him. We serve Him. We love Him. Not just once a week, not just one day in seven, but every day. This is where the power of salvation lies. It is in Christ. Do you know Him? If not, Jesus Christ came to be your rest, your Shabbâth. He is greater than the Temple. He is Lord and Savior of His people. Receive Him as He is, for He asks you:

John 11:26 … whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

May God touch and change your hearts through His Spirit and His Word. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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