The Pharisees, with all their man-made regulations, were mad at Jesus and his disciples for picking and eating corn on the Sabbath. The stories, here, demonstrate the point made by Jesus: “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (12:12). The Pharisees were concerned about legalities and temples, and they sought to destroy Jesus by accusing him of tapping into Satan’s power in order to perform miracles. How hard were the hearts of the Pharisees! How foolish they were! How self-defeating they were. How different they were from the crowds: “The Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all” (12:14-16).
Today, nothing much has changed. There are those who deny Jesus, who oppose him and hate his church, and who demand that they be able to live any way they choose without consequences. Then, there are those who follow him, who are healed, and who receive eternal life. We know that “something greater than the temple is here” (12:6) and, with Paul, we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
‘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)