If You Knew

If You Knew

11 March 2018

GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery

Scripture: Matthew 12:1-8 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)

1 At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. 2 But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” 3 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. 5 And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? 6 I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! 7 But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ 8 For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” (Matthew 12:1–8 NLT)

In response to the Pharisees’ condemnation of his disciples for picking heads of grain as they walked through a field on the Sabbath, Jesus gave two examples from Scripture of people violating the technical rule of “no work” on the Sabbath in order to accomplish a greater thing. Then he said, you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.” (see Micah 6:6-8 NLT). Here’s what this is saying to me today:

Understand the Scriptures. The Scriptures contain rules for life, and rituals related to religion and worship. The Scriptures also contain examples of violating the rules and rituals in order to do something that’s more important than the technical detail of the law. It takes careful thought and judgment to know which is appropriate.

Stop judging people who do things differently. We don’t know why people do some of the things they do. It could be that their reason for doing the thing is more important than our opinion that they shouldn’t do the thing. So let’s give it a rest, OK?

Jesus is Lord. He’s Lord over all the rules and rituals of religion, even those we have “chapter and verse” to enforce! So if some of Jesus’ disciples don’t see a particular rule or practice just the way you do, maybe they’ve got Jesus’ permission to do it that way.


Father, We’re so quick to judge. We’re so quick to throw chapter and verse at people. Help us to both understand the Scriptures and understand your heart for people.

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