Matthew 12:1-14 Wanting to Kill Jesus

 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Wanting to Kill Jesus

Jesus, I have to think long and hard to think why anyone would want to kill you.  Reading a commentary today helped me to see why the Pharisees hated you so much.  You did cause division.  You were deliberately provocative.  You said that you had a right over the temple laws like King David did.  You were saying that because you were in David’s line you did not need to submit to laws that the Jewish leaders held precious.  You were even saying that you were greater than the temple.  I would find it hard to hear someone trashing the Christian faith without getting upset.  You are so precious to me.  You have worked so strongly in my life.  If someone attacked you I would feel that my whole life was on a shaking foundation.  I guess the Pharisees felt this way.  then when you showed them the ridiculous nature of their precious Sabbath laws, they flipped.  They believed they were defending God.  I believe they were wrong, but they could not handle the Truth.

Help me to endure opposition.  Help me to love people so much that it is divisive.  Help me to challenge the old ways of behaving ourselves to get to God.  Help me to be bold in proclaiming that it is not about behaviour but life is about relationship.  Then to those who feel secure in their little rules and petty laws, let me not chase after them or try and appease them.  May I love them and then let them do what they will with me.


  1. What provoked the Pharisees?
  2. How did Jesus link himself with David?
  3. Why did Jesus break a second law when the Pharisees were already angry with him for breaking a law?
  4. What is legalism and how is it harmful?
  5. How might we cause conflict when we counter legalism?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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