Beware of turning the Sabbath into a burden

img_0228

In Matthew 12:1-14 the Pharisees try to trip Jesus up for his so-called Sabbath violations.  In his response, Jesus exposes – yet again – the Pharisees for the professional legalists and hypocrites they are.  Here we have helpful insights into not only the perpetuity of the Sabbath institution, but also how it should be observed under the New Covenant.  Without Christ and his gospel, Sabbath observance easily becomes one more rock in our ruck-sack of self-justification.  However, when the already-and-not-yet riches of God’s grace and salvation are read into and form the basis for motivating obedience to the fourth command, then Sunday becomes a day of celebration and true spiritual rest.  And this chiefly on the basis of God serving us with his heavenly gifts through the means of grace in corporate worship: the Word preached and the sacraments administered.

For more on this passage and how it draws us in as NT believers, you can listen to two sermons on the passage here.

Forsake anger (Matt. 5)

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day believed that they had kept the 6th commandment by not committing the gross external act of murder.  In keeping with the penetrating and disorienting nature of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount so far, in Matthew 5: 21-26 Jesus proclaims that anger in the heart also qualifies as murder and that Christians are expected to transcend the claims of civil justice by being reconciled with the offended/ their offenders within the covenant community.  Such behavior befits those who have been born of the Spirit and who know the reconciling mercy of God in Christ.  To listen to this sermon, click here.