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12. Lord of the Sabbath

1At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears and to eat. 2But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath. 3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; 4how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests? 5Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? 6But I say unto you, that one greater than the temple is here. 7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.

9And he departed thence, and went into their synagogue: 10and behold, a man having a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? that they might accuse him. 11And he said unto them, What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day. 13Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, as the other. 14But the Pharisees went out, and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him.

15And Jesus perceiving it withdrew from thence: and many followed him; and he healed them all, 16and charged them that they should not make him known: 17that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

18Behold, my servant whom I have chosen;

My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased:

I will put my Spirit upon him,

And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles.

19He shall not strive, nor cry aloud;

Neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets.

20A bruised reed shall he not break,

And smoking flax shall he not quench,

Till he send forth judgment unto victory.

21And in his name shall the Gentiles hope.

22Then was brought unto him one possessed with a demon, blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the dumb man spake and saw. 23And all the multitudes were amazed, and said, Can this be the son of David? 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This man doth not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub the prince of the demons. 25And knowing their thoughts he said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26and if Satan casteth out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? 27And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 28But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you. 29Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 31Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come. 33Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. 34Ye offspring of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

38Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. 39But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: 40for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. 42The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 43But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and findeth it not. 44Then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this evil generation.

46While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. 47And one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking to speak to thee. 48But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren! 50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

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7. But if you knew This Third argument is also mentioned by Matthew alone. Christ conveys an indirect reproof to the Pharisees, for not considering why ceremonies were appointed, and to what object they are directed. This has been a common fault in almost every age; and therefore the prophet Hosea (6:6) exclaims against the men of his own age for being too much attached to ceremonies, and caring little about the duties of kindness. But God declares aloud, that he sets a higher value on mercy than on sacrifice, employing the word mercy, by a figure of speech, for offices of kindness, as sacrifices include the outward service of the Law. This statement Christ applies to his own time, and charges the Pharisees with wickedly torturing the Law of God out of its true meaning, with disregarding the second table, and being entirely occupied with ceremonies.

But a question arises: Why does God declare that he is indifferent about ceremonies, when he strictly enjoined in his Law that they should be observed? The answer is easy. External rites are of no value in themselves, and are demanded by God in so far only as they are directed to their proper object. Besides, God does not absolutely reject them, but, by a comparison with deeds of kindness, pronounces that they are inferior to the latter in actual value. Nor is it inconsistent with this to say, that in the perfection of righteousness the highest rank belongs to the worship of God, and the duties which men owe to each other occupy the second rank. For, though piety is justly reckoned to be as much superior to charity as God is higher than men, yet as believers, by practicing justice towards each other, prove that their service of God is sincere, it is not without reason that this subject is brought under the notice of hypocrites, who imitate piety by outward signs, and yet pervert it by confining their laborious efforts to the carnal worship alone. 8181     “Et cependant neantmoins la renversent et falsifient, s’arrestans au seul service charnel, auquel ils prenent grande peine;” — “and yet nevertheless overthrow and falsify it, confining themselves to the carnal service alone, on which they bestow great pains.” From the testimony of the Prophet, Christ justly infers that no blame attaches to his disciples; for while God trained his people in the rudiments of the Law, it was far from being his design to kill wretched men with famine.




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