Belt of Truth
Knowing and Applying God's Truth to Real Life
Matthew 12:9-13 (NKJV) Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"--that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.
What truth is revealed? I’ve heard people say that God is sovereign only to then define His sovereignty in such a way as to put God in a box. This is what the Pharisees had done with the Mosaic Law. They defined it beyond the original intent and made up their own rules. In this story Jesus reveals two things: 1) He sets His own rules according to His will. That is what a sovereign God does. 2) The spirit of the law trumps the letter of the law.
What can we learn from this story? Jesus made it clear; doing good on the Sabbath, in this case, was more important than “resting on the Sabbath” as had been defined by the Pharisees. It is the case of a greater spiritual law (loving your neighbor as yourself) trumping the spiritual law of keeping the Sabbath holy. Who better to bring this truth to light than Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath!
How can I apply this truth to my life? I need to make sure of two things: Firstly, I need to stop putting God in a box. He is sovereign, which means He can do anything that He wants to do. Secondly, I need to make sure that my religion doesn’t get in the way of doing the will of God. (Remember Peter’s vision of unclean animals that God declared to be clean? We need to make sure that the legalism of our religion doesn’t get in the way of walking in the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law)
Questions to Consider:
Matthew 9:16-17 (NKJV) No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
What truth is revealed? Is Christ alone really enough? That was the question that the early Believers had to answer. The first Believers were Jewish and then, suddenly, Gentiles were putting their faith in Jesus. This was new wine, and some misguided leaders wanted to put that new wine (Gentiles) into the old wineskins (The Jewish Law). Evidently, this teaching from Jesus had gone unnoticed.
What can we learn from this teaching? The Apostle Paul understood this teaching from Jesus and spent a lot of time and effort thwarting the effort of those who were trying to force the “new” Gentile Believers into becoming followers of the law. Jesus had already made it clear; you cannot put new wine in old wineskins. If you try, you will destroy the old wineskin and spill the new wine; which is a lose—lose proposition. Jesus was the author of a new covenant of grace, and as the early church expanded, the new wine began to roll in.
How can I apply this lesson to my life? As long as the New Testament as been around, “we” are still tempted to propagate a works-oriented righteousness. To pressure new Believers to instantly act like “mature” Christians who keep all the rules. When we do that, we are taking new wine and putting it in old wineskins. I need to leave the work of transformation to Jesus, because, “Jesus alone” is what they need!
Questions to Consider:
As revealed by God through the Life and Message of Christ; through the wisdom of Solomon; through the letters of the Apostles; through the inspiration of God.