The Pharisees were convinced that Jesus and His disciples were violating true religious standards by plucking grain on the Sabbath and by healing a man with a withered hand on that holy day. The Lord used Bible history and His accusers’ moral inconsistencies to teach them about mercy. The result: “The Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, how to destroy Him.”
Matthew presented Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesies concerning the Messiah. His miracles of healing were done by a divine hand. As God had said so long ago, “I will put My Spirit upon Him.”
The religious authorities of Jesus’ time refused to view the Son of God in that correct light. They knew He was not the Messiah because He did not follow their traditions. His works of power were undeniable, so they insisted that it was by “the prince of demons” that Jesus was accomplishing such notable victories against unclean spirits.
Our Lord warned His enemies concerning the danger of attributing the works of the Spirit to Satan. He also insisted on the consistency between His heavenly character and resurrection deeds. “The tree is known by its fruit.”
Those who spoke against Christ on so many occasions still wanted to see what He could do. They would only be given “the sign of the prophet Jonah.” His resurrection from the dead would be like Jonah coming back to life after “three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish.”
Many Jewish leaders were unwilling to receive the Lord’s words. Only those who would listen to God’s Suffering Servant and do the will of His “Father in heaven” would be counted as children in the household of faith. He was and is greater than the Sabbath, the temple, all angels, and every prophet. It is a great honor for us to be included in His family.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Almighty God, Your Son understood the Law of Moses perfectly. Even more than this, He obeyed every divine commandment entirely. He came as the One who was greater than the temple. He is the Lord of the Sabbath and the Messiah King. You have given us a powerful expectation of the fullness of our rest in Him. Show us how to set our hearts on the coming resurrection and to conduct ourselves as those who have already been made alive in Jesus. He is the descendant of David who defeats all the works of Satan. It is a privilege to be a part of His Kingdom. Teach us how to gather people as ambassadors for Christ. Help us to walk in the goodness and love that comes from above, and to speak as those who know and honor the truth. Thank You for the glorious sign of Your Son’s victory over the grave. In Him we have the greatest gift known to humanity. Your church will live forever with the Man who rose from the dead. All Your children will have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit through the King who is wiser than Solomon. We hear His Word, and we believe.