December 6th - Jim Phillips - Matthew 12

 

Dear Anchor Class,

This Sunday we will continue our study of Matthew’s Gospel in chapter 12. If Chapter 9 was the beginning of opposition to Jesus’ ministry that opposition reaches its Zenith here in chapter 12. Donald Barnhouse, a well know preacher and theologian from the earlier part of the 20th Century, said this about chapter 12. “It is at this point in history that Israel’s clock stopped. God’s chosen and specially blessed people, rejected her Messiah. God placed her on the shelf as a nation, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come”.

As I have suggested in previous lessons, Matthew has carefully laid out and structured his gospel. Chapter 12 begins with two stories about confrontations with the Pharisees about Sabbath keeping. I believe Matthew placed these two events here because of the connection with the last 3 verses in chapter 11. Last Sunday Bob led us through a wonderful study of chapter 10 and 11 (if you did not get a chance to hear it please do before Sunday). Bob emphasized verses 28-30 and one of the most beautiful calls and invitations of Jesus, to come to Him to find rest. Matthew follows that with two stories about the Sabbath, a day God had set aside for rest. We will look briefly at the first event, but focus more or our time on verses 9-21, the healing of a man with a withered hand. Matthew is comparing the yoke that Jesus offers which is gentle, easy and light (grace), and the yoke of the Pharisees that is burdensome (self-righteousness). Verse 14 marks the point of no return for the Nation of Israel. In the Mark account of this story we are told that the Pharisees conspired with the Herodians (do some research to discover why this was a strange partnership). Matthew ends this story with a quote from Isaiah 42:1-4 which is a beautiful picture of our Savior and reaches back to 11:28-30.

Read the Mark and Luke account of this event as well. Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 6:1-11.

Blessings to all. Pray for one another and for our Nation.

See you Sunday

Jim

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