Daily Devotion for November 5, 2013
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This song, I Know Who You Are by the extraodinary J. J. Heller, is raw and real and powerful. The video is professional and deserves to be watched in full-screen mode.
Prayer for the Morning
Good morning, dear Father; thank you for this day, Help me to follow you in every way. Let me speak as you speak, and do as you do; Let me help others, as you help them, too.
Help me to be honest, don't let me play games, Help me to grow, yet still stay the same. Help me not to be selfish, to give of my heart, my mind and my labor; Give all - not just part.
Help me to love others, my family, my friends, Bless all of my foes, help me make amends. Help me be kind, Father, where I am needed, let Me give warm attention, and see all needs are met.
Help keep me busy, to strive for the best, Help me not to be lazy, but find needed rest. Let me come to you, Father, throughout the day, Often to thank you, often to pray.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done. All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."
~ (Saint) Augustine of Hippo
Matthew 12:1-8 (ESV)
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the 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? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?
I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Notes on the Scripture
Unlike the earlier chapters of Matthew, Chapter 12 does not mark a thematic break from Chapter 11; it is a continuation of it. There is a chapter division purely for practical purposes — length. Of course, dividing the Bible into chapters and verses was not the work of the authors. The chapters we use were created by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, around 1220 A.D., and the verses added 300 years later.
The Jewish laws on what may be done, and what is forbidden to be done, on the Sabbath are enormous in number and minutely detailed. Suffice it to say, here, that gathering and preparing food clearly transgressed many prohibitions.
The Pharisees naturally — and from their point of view, correctly — criticize the conduct. Jesus' response is complex. He first gives an historical precedent from 1 Samuel 21 when David, on a mission from King Saul, ate the consecrated bread in the tabernacle. David gave, as his excuse, that he was on a holy mission.
Thus, by implication, Christ states that his disciples may bypass the Sabbath food laws, because they are (with apologies to the Blues Brothers) on a mission from God.
His second justification is similar. Priests prepared bread in the temple on the Sabbath, just as today, even the strictest Christian church will exempt the pastor or priest and his assistants from the fourth commandment. How could we worship on Sunday, if nobody could do any work in furtherance of the worship?
But now, Christ begins to go beyond merely claiming to be on a holy mission; he claims that where he stands is “greater than the temple.” Reading any of the Gospels, one is struck by how often Christ will hint, obliquely, that he is the Son of God, the Messiah, without directly stating it. One might infer that the time for him to be crucified has not yet come, and so he avoids a direct statement that would get him arrested for extreme blasphemy; but that is speculation, not a statement from the Bible.
Finally, he says “the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Christ often refers to himself as the Son of Man, and scholars have inferred at least two reasons for it. First, it is not a clear statement of his divinity. He wants his followers to understand, but not his enemies. Even very late in his ministry, people are not positive that he is referring to himself when he uses the term. (John 12:34) It's code. So, we might infer that Christ's real audience are those who believe in him, not the inimical Pharisees with whom He argues.
Second, He will call himself the “Son of Man” when he wants to emphasize that, for a few short years, God became a human being; that he was here among us, as one of us, born from the body of a woman and entirely human. In other words, where the living human body of Jesus is standing, God is standing. So the cornfield is as holy as the temple.
We will take up the quote, “I desire mercy . . .”, Thursday, when Matthew describes a similar incident.