Reading

  • Mark 2:13-14
  • Matt. 9:10-13; Luke 5:29-32
  • Luke 5:33-39
  • John 5:1-3, 5-47
  • Matt. 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28
  • Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11
  • Matt. 12:15-21; Mark 3:7-12
  • Luke 6:12-19

Devotional

One day while walking along the Sea of Galilee and teaching a crowd, Jesus called Matthew, who was a tax collector, to come follow Him, and Matthew obeyed. Matthew held a great dinner party at his house for Jesus, and invited all his tax collector friends and other guests. The Pharisees complained to Jesus' disciples that Jesus was spending time and eating dinner with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, saying that it is the sick people who are in need of a doctor and not those who are well. Jesus came to call the sinners to repentance.

The Pharisees responded that Jesus' disciples weren't fasting like John the Baptist's followers had done. Jesus explained, using a parable, that there is no reason to fast as long as He was present but once He was gone then His disciples would fast.

Jesus did a lot of His healings on the Sabbath day, which made the Pharisees, rabbis and religious leaders angry because this violated their traditions. The Jews persecuted Jesus because He did these good deeds on the Sabbath day, but Jesus responded:

My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(John 5:17b-18 NIV)

It is important to understand that, when the Bible says Jesus was "breaking the Sabbath," it means that Jesus wasn't following the religious leaders' traditions of what could or could not be done on the Sabbath. It does not mean that Jesus sinned by breaking GOD's Law for observing the Sabbath day.

After making these statements, Jesus went on to say:

“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
(John 5:19b-30 NIV)

There are a number of important truths we can observe from Jesus' statements regarding the Father's relationship with the Son and the Son's with the Father:

  1. Jesus received His power from the Father—He said He could do nothing by Himself.
  2. Jesus does what He saw the Father doing. The Father shows Jesus all that He does.
  3. Jesus has the ability to give life and salvation to any He pleases.
  4. Jesus is our Judge.
  5. One day all the dead will hear the voice of Jesus and will be raised, either to life or to condemnation.
  6. Jesus' purpose was to please the Father and not Himself.

On another occasion where Jesus' disciples picked some grain while walking through a field on the Sabbath day, the Pharisees again accused them of breaking the Law. Jesus replied:

“Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
(Matt. 12:3b-8 NKJV)

Jesus was making the point here that the commandments of GOD are given for a reason, and we can't allow a coldhearted lack of love and compassion cause us to lose sight of the spirit of the command. When David and his soldiers ate the showbread in the tabernacle, had they not been in desperate need of food...in other words, had they just eaten that bread when they had plenty other food to eat or for any other reason than necessity, it would have been sinful, but because they were in great need, GOD had compassion upon them and they were innocent.

Jesus is teaching that we need to love people and that is the highest command—to love GOD first and our neighbor second. It is not in GOD' heart to watch someone starve so that they could avoid what was perceived as working on the Sabbath day, or because they didn't want to eat the bread which was dedicated for the priests who had plenty else to eat. Jesus got really angry with the religious leaders because they didn't love GOD or people and instead were only concerned with keeping a bunch of rules so that they could be highly-respected by men.

Towards the end of our reading today, Jesus called twelve of His followers to be apostles: Simon (who Jesus named Peter), Peter's brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.

Despite the growing opposition, Jesus continued teaching and healing the crowds who came to Him.

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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