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3.12.2017 Sermon Notes & Slides

Sermon Notes

Mercy > Sacrifice
Matthew 12:1-14
Pastor Brent Whitefield

Introduction: In this passage, Jesus not only asserts his Lordship over the Sabbath, but demonstrates it by challenging the Pharisees’ merciless interpretation of the Law. Given our tendency to choose rigid legal observance to the harder work of compassion for our neighbor, we should place the following banner over our doorposts: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”




Questions for Discussion & Discovery

1. In the examples Jesus gives, is he offering exceptions to the Law or a different interpretation of the Law than that of the Pharisees?

2. When Jesus says: “I tell you something greater than the temple is here,” to what is he referring?

3. What exactly does “Lord of the Sabbath” mean? Does Jesus have authority to change the Law if he desires?

4. As far as the Pharisees are concerned, what is the essence of the threat that Jesus represents that would justify his murder?

5. Can you think of examples in our own lives and practice that should be challenged by Jesus’ words?

Sermon Slides

1. Read Matthew 12:1-8.

2. At the time He entered into covenant relation with Israel, all other nations had been given up by God. … The heathen nations, therefore kept no Sabbath, and, in all probability, by that time knew not that the Creator required them to. But to Israel God made known His laws, and the appointed sign or token that they were His peculiar people was their observance of the Sabbath. So that of which, spiritually the Sabbath speaks, is still the portion of none but God’s chosen people. – Arthur Pink

3. 01. Jesus is the lens through which we interpret the Law; His teaching both demonstrates our powerlessness to keep the Law and shows us how to live lives pleasing to Him.

4. 02. Our obligation to love and serve God is never in conflict with our duty to love and serve neighbor.

5. And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” – Mark 7

6. It is the practice of compassion that should distinguish the people of God rather than the punctilious observance of outward regulations, no matter how sacred … sacrifice could so easily become nearly mechanical and external. Compassion is much more important and much more characteristic of those who really are the servants of God. – Leon Morris

Read Matthew 12:9-14.

Jesus does not like the legerdemain by which a commandment intending the welfare of persons and communities – which is the intention of the Sabbath commandment – a “holi-day” – is turned into a commandment for religious showing off. For Jesus here, the supreme affront is that God is used as a pretext for this parading – as if the saving God who gave the seventh commandment wanted to be placed on hold for several hours while human beings hurt. – Fredrick Bruner

9. 03. If we are going to assess our own spiritual maturity, Jesus would bid us to do so, not on the basis of our strict adherence to the traditions of the church, but rather on our growth in compassion and mercy.