Time Alone With God daily devotionals

Time Alone With God daily devotional

Written by Pastor Phil Stout, lead Pastor of JAXNAZ church


Thursday, September 8

Read: Matthew 12:1-8

Matthew 12:1-8
New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”


Consider: We’ve been looking this week at the tension between law and love. Sometimes it is communicated as the tension between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. As Paul said…

“…the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

This is vital to our understanding of Jesus’ message. A legalistic “righteousness” makes us harsh and judgmental. We begin to rationalize our unloving stance by saying that we are speaking truth and speaking truth comes before our obligation to love. But it doesn’t. Our top priority is not getting our theology right. Our top priority is learning to love like Christ loves.

As Jesus and his friends walked through the grain fields on the Sabbath, the Pharisees (there they are again) challenged Jesus about the disciples’ apparent breaking of the Sabbath laws. Jesus’ response included a quote from the prophet Hosea who gave us these words from God…

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 12:7 quoting Hosea 6:6)

What Hosea and Jesus meant by “sacrifice” were the rituals, worship and laws of Israel (which included the sacrifice of animals). Jesus was saying very plainly that how we treat others was much more important to God than how we worship or even what we believe. That was a pretty radical statement. It still is today. But remember that it comes from the lips of God.

Our worship is important. Our rituals are important. But if we do not live the life of a mercy-giver, we’ve missed the whole point.

Pray: “Lord, you desire mercy more than the other things we’ve often associated with our faith. Help me today to be a mercy-giver and one who loves all people regardless of who they are or what they’ve done. Today someone will cross my path who needs your mercy, forgiveness and love. Please give that to them through me.”

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