August 5, 2022 - Matthew 12-15
A lot of news, lately, about Taiwan and independence and freedom. The Pharisees, however, seemed to have a bit of a problem with the notion of freedom, that is, freedom from deadly legalism. Jesus and his disciples walked through the grain fields on a Sabbath. They were hungry, and the disciples grabbed a few ears of corn as they walked. The Pharisees went apoplectic. Jesus reminded them about David, who was fleeing from Saul. When hungry, the priests gave them the sacred bread to eat. And the same sort of thing went down, between Jesus and the Pharisees, in the story of the man with the paralyzed hand.
The Pharisees were so intent on everyone adhering to their noxious and weighty rules that they forgot real needs. The legalism of the Pharisees was bondage. The gospel of Jesus is freedom! Jesus to the Pharisees: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (12:7).
It’s always good to give thanks, not only for our personal and national freedoms, but even more so, for our freedom in Christ. Freedom from sin and legalisms. Freedom from condemnation. Freedom from death. That's sweet!
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more! -- Louisa M. R. Stead (1882)