Matt.12 At that time wJesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and xthey began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, y“Look, your disciples are doing zwhat is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, a“Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate bthe bread of the Presence, which it 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 cin the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, dsomething greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known ewhat this means, f‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For gthe Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
9 He went on from there and hentered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, i“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—jso that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, kif it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 lOf how much more value is a man than a sheep! So mit is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And nthe man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
The synoptic gospels spell out a consistent storyline. Jesus has great compassion on the outcasts and wrath for the oppressive religious leaders.
Jesus was under the constant watch and criticism of the opposition- the powerful Pharisees who carried out their version of law keeping which produced fruit of arrogance and ruthlessness.
The attitude and action of Jesus here appears to be somewhat of a goading- He seems to purposely defy the man-added regulations and provokes the Pharisees to continue to conspire against Him- as they were seeking to destroy Jesus. Both accounts here in Chapter 12 clearly show Jesus as one who is stirring the pot for a purpose.
But here is where we tend to miss the contrast.
Jesus plays the trouble maker for Holy motives. He has no fear of man, He has a clear mission to accomplish from the Father, and it has nothing to do with His own ambition or ego.
I can't relate to that.
I am a competitive person by nature. And I often find when I choose to confront or manipulate- it is MOSTLY from impure motives. The part of me that enjoys goading people is never really out of Holy motives. The part of me that loves playing machiavellian maneuvers is usually designed according to my sinful nature.
I also find myself easily provoked as a Pharisee as well. When someone confronts me or suggests impure motives, I am quick to repel it with the same animosity that these religious oppressors portray.
I want to be more like Jesus- but find myself so different from Him and so much more like the opposition.
It makes me cry out for the healing. I have withered hands and heart.
The self protecting part of me says to withdraw, protect, and judge.
But Jesus says, "Open up and stretch out to Me".
And when I find the healing- the fruit should be mercy to others.
Do you ever struggle over whether you are born again?
Well here is a good question to begin with......
What is your attitude toward trouble makers?