Sunday, January 29, 2017
Fresh Studies in Matthew, Matthew 12:1-8
Jesus now becomes, at least according to the text, more obvious and confrontation toward the religious order. I think we overlook the radicality of this text. What amazes me is his line of argument. David and the showbread; the priests on the Sabbath; his identity; the scriptural principle of mercy as coming first. “You would not have condemned the guiltless.” Who is guiltless here? Those who have only broken interpretations of the law, not the real law itself. They had not killed or used the Sabbath for gain—only for grain, one might say. They had fed themselves in a way that caused them to interact directly with the plant. They were not stealing because the real law said to leave grain around the edges for the poor to reap. It’s also the principle of margin—do not hoard for oneself everything, and do not take everything, including time, for yourself.
Mainly, though, this is about the Lord of the Sabbath—he created it, he is the fulfillment of it (note he doesn’t say “I’m getting rid of it,” only that it was made for man, not the other way around), everything about the Sabbath points to him.
I am typing this on New Year’s Eve (catching up on three months worth of jottings) and since tomorrow is both the “Sabbath” (I know, I know, not really but it will do as the day of the week for rest) and since it’s the first day of the year and a holiday too, it’s a good day to start my Sabbaths again. They went away when I started the doctoral program. Time to come back.