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Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

CHAPTER TWELVE:
PROBLEMS IN THE MINISTRY:
OPPONENTS, SIGNS, FAMILY

[“Opposition Inside and Out”]

Matthew 12:1-8 – Something Greater than the Temple

|| Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5

MT12:1 During that period Jesus was moving through the grain fields on the Sabbath.[1] Now his disciples were hungry[2] and began to pluck heads of grain and eat them. MT12:2 But, the Pharisees observed this and said to Jesus, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is not permitted during the Sabbath!”[3] MT12:3 Then Jesus said to them, “Did you not read[4] what David, and those with him, did when he got hungry? MT12:4 How he entered into the House of the God[5] and they ate the loaves of presentation[6] – which he was not authorized to eat, nor those with him, but only the priests? MT12:5 Or, did you not read in the Law regarding Sabbaths that the temple priests profane the Sabbath[7] and remain innocent?[8] MT12:6 But, I tell you: you have something greater than the temple here.[9] MT12:7 You would not have condemned the innocent[10] if you had known what this means,[11] ‘I desire mercy[12] and not sacrifice.’ [Hosea 6:6, 7] MT12:8 For the Son of Humankind is Master of the Sabbath.”[13]

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[1] Sabbath: Literally “sabbaths.” The subject of the Sabbath was a serious conflict with the Jewish clergy. The word occurs 46 times in the Gospels (Matthew, 11; Mark, 11; Luke, 13; John, 11). Two thousand years later it is still an issue even among Christians.

[2] Hungry: Imagine hunger only satisfied by hard grains of wheat or kernels of corn?

[3] Not permitted during the Sabbath: The Law permitted plucking grain (Deuteronomy 23:25). The Jewish version of Sabbath law during the Nazarene’s life was very detailed. There were 39 rules which identified work on the Sabbath, including “reaping.” Later, Maimonides ruled: “To pluck ears is a kind of reaping.”

[4] Did you not read: Compare 1 Samuel 21:1-6.

[5] The House of the God: There are several terms for the Tabernacle of Moses: House, Sanctuary, and Temple. On the later there are two Greek words used: HIERON which generally means the Temple complex; and, NAOS which refers to the shrine or tabernacle proper with its two sacred rooms, the Holy and the Most Holy.

[6] They ate the loaves of presentation: No normal bread was available and the high priest offered the twelve ringed loaves on the table of showbread in the Tabernacle. His only requirement is that only those men who had “kept themselves from women.” David assured the priest they “certainly clean today.” (1 Samuel 21:1-6 NJB) For this kindness 85 priests were slaughtered.

[7] Temple priests profane the Sabbath: That is, the priests perform working functions involved in worship forbidden regular Israelites. The word “profane” is also rendered: KNX: violate; MOF: desecrate; PME: break.

[8] Innocent: Or, KJV: blameless; MOF: not guilty.

[9] Something greater than the temple here: Jesus alludes to himself as the future High Priest as well as his disciples as ‘temple foundation stones.’ (John 2:19; Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5) Compare Luke 11:31, 32 for similar language.

[10] The innocent: Surely he means himself and perhaps – like David’s “mighty men” – his own disciples.

[11] This means: The Nazarene quotes Hosea 6:7 from the LXX (where it is 6:6).

[12] Mercy: The Greek is ELEOS and is usually translated mercy, compassion, pity. The problem with the English “mercy” is that it has under gone an evolution so that today it carries the idea of justice: condemnation or judgment withheld. The root of “mercy” is a word from the marketplace (mercado) and is related to that payment to mercenaries. Merci means “thanks.” Kind charity is closer to the idea. So, the verse intends to mean: “I wish charity over (religious) sacrifices.” The quote of Hosea 6:7 is from the Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX). The Hebrew text reads checed and is rooted in kindness. If one made all the religious sacrifices his worship demanded and failed to be kind or charitable, God’s will is missed.

[13] Master of the Sabbath: There are various opinions. One meaning may be: as Master of the sabbath day, Jesus as Son of Man will determine what is good or bad on the sabbath; or, he will use the sabbath as he determines. Some read the phrase “son of man” to mean “human” so that human needs will determine what is good or bad on the sabbath. Some hold a futurist view: the Messiah is King of that future great Sabbath under his rule – the Thousand Years.

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Preceding

Matthew 11:25-30 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 6 Taking Jesus’ Yoke and Becoming Disciples

Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus

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Additional reading

  1. Was Jesus Religious
  2. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  3. Do we need to keep the Sabbath
  4. Were allowed to willfully break the Law of Moses
  5. Holy Sabbath
  6. Communion and day of worship
  7. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  8. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  9. Lord and owner
  10. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #1 Before rain of food from heaven
  11. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #2 Testimony
  12. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #3 Days to be kept holy or set apart
  13. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #4 Jesus and the Sabbath day
  14. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  15. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #6 Sunday or the Lord’s day
  16. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  17. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him

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Related

  1. Shabbat Emor: Against the Cruelty
  2. Confronting Systemic Problems – Parshat Va’era 2018
  3. Efficient Rest – Deuteronomy 5:12-14
  4. The Sabbath
  5. Sabbath
  6. Sabbath-Rest
  7. The Sabbath & Sundays?
  8. Read Through the Bible – Day #58 – Luke Chapter 14
  9. Inconsistencies With Lawlessness
  10. Day 95 – The Sabbath is for us
  11. Sacking off the commands of God for what?
  12. Read Through the Bible – Day #50 – Luke Chapter 6

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning

Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning

LK2:25 Now look, there was a person in Jerusalem named Simeon. And he was righteous and reverent[1] and was waiting for Israel’s consolation,[2] and holy Pneuma was upon him. LK2:26 For it had been revealed to him by holy inspiration[3] that he would not experience death until he had seen YHWH’s Christ.[4] [Psalm 2:2] LK2:27 So under inspiration[5] he arrived in the temple [courtyard][6] and when the parents of the little boy Jesus brought him – for it was according to custom regarding an infant – LK2:28 and thus Simeon welcomed [the Christ] into his arms.[7] Then he blessed The God and said: LK2:29 “Absolute Sovereign,[8] now You may dismiss[9] Your servant in peace according to Your message. LK2:30 Because my eyes have seen Your salvation [Isaiah 40:5] LK2:31 that You have prepared in the presence of all the people – LK2:32 an apocalyptic illumination[10] to the non-Jews and a glory to Your people Israel.” [Isaiah 46:13] LK2:33 Now [the infant’s] father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon had said. LK2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to [the infant’s] mother Mary: “Behold, this One is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed[11] – LK2:35 (and also, Mary, your own soul will be pierced by a sword!) – that the thoughts of many hearts may be exposed.”[12]

 


[1] Righteous and reverent: Or, just and devout, upright and devout. It means the person was law-abiding and observed Jewish rituals.

[2] Waiting for Israel’s consolation: Or, TCN: lived in constant expectation; TAY: constantly expecting the Messiah to come. [Isaiah 40:1; 49:13; 66:11]

[3] Holy inspiration: Or, divinely revealed. The Greek is KECHREMATISMENON [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #5537, having been instructed. (GRN)]

[4] YHWH’s Christ: Or, the Lord’s Christ, Lord’s Messiah, God’s Anointed. Likely drawn from Psalm 2:2. For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Revelation 11:15.

[5] Under inspiration: Or, by the spirit, inspired by, led by, moved by.

[6] Temple [courtyard]: The Greek is HIERON and always refers to the temple compound and not the Temple proper. Women were not permitted into the inner courts so this was possibly the Court of Women.

[7] Simeon welcomed [the Christ] into his arms: Is it possible this was the priest who circumcised Jesus?

[8] Absolute Sovereign: Or, Sovereign Lord. [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #1203] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Acts 4:24.

[9] Dismiss: Or, depart, discharge, die in content.

[10] Apocalyptic illumination: Or, KJV: a light to lighten; ASV: a light for revelation; NEB: a light that will be a revelation. Drawn from Isaiah 42:6. The Greek is PHOS EIS APOCALYPSIN.

[11] A sign to be opposed: Or, NEB: a sign which men reject; BAS: a sign against which hard words will be said; GDS: a portent that will be much debated; KNX: a sign which men will refuse to acknowledge; NOR: a controversial figure.

[12] Exposed: Or, revealed, laid bare, brought into the light of day.

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Saint Simeon with the Christ child.

Saint Simeon with the Christ child. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting

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Find also to read:

  1. Jesus Messiah
  2. Written to recognise the Promised One
  3. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. The Christ, the anointed of God
  6. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites

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  • Simeon: An Advent Reflection (knowjesusknowjustice.wordpress.com)
    The first messianic prophesy is in Genesis and was written by Moses. And while there is a great deal of debate on the exact date of the writing of Genesis, let’s just say Genesis is where everything begins. Now consider this. The last prophesy of the Messiah’s coming appears in Malachi. That book was written around 430 BC. The point is this. Literally from beginning to end, the Old Testament speaks of the Messiah’s coming. For millennia, God revealed things about Himself, His plan and His Christ through His inspired Word to a people who were waiting. Generation after generation waited and hoped for the Messiah’s coming, but from the greatest to the least, from the most righteous to the most vile, none would see prophecy’s fulfillment during that time.
  • Sermon Redux – Part 4 of The Stars of Christmas – ‘Simeon and Anna’ – Luke 2:21-38 (edraby.wordpress.com)
    If there are two forgotten characters of the Christmas story it is Simeon and Anna.
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    Simeon and Anna bring back the prophetic into the story and call us to be reminded  that God is weaving together a lot of prophecies into fulfillment in Jesus.
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    Simeon knows that Herod is not the Messiah nor have many others who have come along and tried to usurp Herod.  Simeon has been told he would not see death until he has seen God’s Christ.We need to understand that when we look a Jesus as an infant.  As Isaiah 52 says, there was nothing physically marking about Jesus to set him apart.  He looked like any other Jewish baby of Palestine.  He did not have a halo about his head.  He was in the temple because his earthly parents have brought him to be dedicated to God an circumcised.  This was a perfectly normal thing for Jewish parents to do if they were in range of Jerusalem to do it.  There was nothing unusual to mark Jesus out.  You might even begin to think that even Jesus parents were beginning to see Jesus as normal in some ways.  They had both received visits from angels, the shepherds had come a mere eight days before when Jesus was born but other than that no one was saying or marking out their son as special.  The one thing that is missing is the prophetic voice of a prophet proclaiming to people who this child is.

    That is where Simeon comes in as well as Anna.  Simeon only sees a poor Jewish couple coming to the temple and it is at this moment that he steps forward and asks to take the child in his arms and then he prophecies over Jesus and his mother.  In so doing he quotes several scriptures but the most direct reference is to Isaiah 52 which he echoes.  In so doing he announces to the world that this child who seems ordinary is actually extraordinary and is God’s chosen one.  Simeon tells anyone who will listen this is the case.

  • Relishing the Myth: Simeon the Righteous, the God-Receiver (Repost – 2013) (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Ancient historians tell us that the Egyptian pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.) wished to include texts of Holy Scripture in the famous Library at Alexandria. He invited scholars from Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin sent their wise men. The Righteous Simeon was one of the seventy scholars who came to Alexandria to translate the Holy Scriptures into Greek. The completed work was called “The Septuagint,” and is the version of the Old Testament used by the Orthodox Church.

    St Simeon was translating a book of the Prophet Isaiah, and read the words: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a Son” (Is 7:14). He thought that “virgin” was inaccurate, and he wanted to correct the text to read “woman.” At that moment an angel appeared to him and held back his hand saying, “You shall see these words fulfilled. You shall not die until you behold Christ the Lord born of a pure and spotless Virgin.”

    From this day, St Simeon lived in expectation of the Promised Messiah. One day, the righteous Elder received a revelation from the Holy Spirit, and came to the Temple. It was on the very day (the fortieth after the Birth of Christ) when the All-Pure Virgin Mary and St Joseph had come to the Temple in order to perform the ritual prescribed by Jewish Law.

  • Luke 2:34-35 – Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, (church4u2.wordpress.com)
    Jesus would polarize people throughout Israel. On top of that, Jesus would bring much pain to Mary many years later as she witnessed his death on a cross. This picture of the Christ-one who will be a healing balm and an exposer of sin-describes someone who is good, yet dangerous. Do we see Jesus like this? A view of Jesus that doesn’t pierce our soul is not the Jesus of the Bible.
  • Messianic Promises of Christ Coming to Earth ~ 8 (frommyheart2u.wordpress.com)
    It was the Holy Spirit that led Simeon into the Temple at the very moment the baby Jesus was there with his mother and Joseph. The Holy Spirit always leads us to Jesus. As Simeon lifted the baby Messiah up the Spirit prophesied through Simeon’s lips that this babe was more than just another baby – He was the hope of two people groups, He is the Light of the whole Gentile world and Israel’s true Glory!
  • Simeon and Anna: Blessed to see Jesus (theroadreport.wordpress.com)
    We see that God chose to use two humble individuals to prepare hearts, including Joseph and Mary’s, to the revelation of who Jesus was, and is.  In addition, we see two people who were devoted to God and ready to give total praise to Him!  Is it possible that God blessed Simeon and Anna with the ability to see Jesus as a baby because they blessed Him?While Simeon and Anna saw and knew Christ as a baby…we have the ability to know Him as the Risen Savior.  Are we as willing to praise God as they were?
  • Simeon Had His Moment – And You Can Have Yours! (lessonsfromkoza.wordpress.com)
    Simeon understood something that the Israelites did not; he understood that the Messiah had not been sent to deliver the Jews from their enemies and place them above all other peoples, but that He had been sent to save all people, for all eternityregardless of their ethnicity, religion, or gender.Having seen the Messiah, Simeon was ready to depart the world. He had spent his life looking and waiting, and when the Messiah finally arrived he was able to recognize him because he was in tune with God’s spirit (he was spiritually aware). We also are called to be spiritually aware, and to be looking and waiting, but unlike Simeon we are looking and waiting for Christ’s second coming.
  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . (writingsistersblog.wordpress.com)
    When Rembrandt was younger, he painted Christ shining with a holy glow.  In this final painting, as Rembrandt reaches the end of life, we see the old man, Simeon, is the one who is glowing – the light coming from the inside out reflecting out onto the baby in his arms.
  • The Prophetess Anna (thepassionists.org)
    Anna is depicted as an aged widow who is constantly in the Temple, worshiping God day and night in fasting and prayer.
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    Anna is inspired to offer thanks to God for the child Jesus and to speak about him to others. She recognizes the moment of salvation when it dawns and she seizes this moment. The friendship with God that she has cultivated through many years of prayer and service in the Temple enables her to respond in faith to God’s visitation in Jesus. Biblical figures like Simeon and Anna, as well as contemporary men and women committed to the contemplative life, challenge us to re-evaluate what we esteem as truly important. They invite us to think again about how we measure “productivity.” They remind us that, whatever our particular vocation may be, our lives need to be rooted in God. Most of us have multiple responsibilities and many things to accomplish each day. We cannot live “constantly in the temple” as did Anna.
  • Christmas in Context: Waiting for the consolation of Israel… (faithfulstewardship.wordpress.com)
    No doubt there were many in Jerusalem longing for the consolation of Israel. How long would Israel have to suffer occupation?
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    Israel was hurting, a shadow of the kingdom it once was. Isaiah also Prophesied that the divided kingdoms that threatened Judah would be laid to waste and then Judah would be handed over to Assyria (Is 7:14-17). There were many who looked to rebellion/insurgency to fight for Israel’s freedom from occupation… perhaps looking for God to follow the redemption of the past when He would raise up a mighty man who would serve as Judge? But Israel rejected God’s Judges, and rejected His rule and asked for a king. There were others who sought political power and favor with Rome to secure for Israel a sense of freedom, to preserve their ways (while historical accounts outside the Bible attest to this, such a mentality is revealed in the Sanhedren in John 11:45-53). Herod took it upon himself to appoint his own High Priest. It was not long before the birth of Jesus that the Temple was defiled and desecrated. All this is simply to say that since the descendents of Jacob had long stopped going to God for their answers (a rebuke against Israel and Judah in Is 8:19-20) they would become a people stumbling in the darkness (leading into Is 9).
    +
    A man and a woman of God were waiting in the Temple Courts to see the redemption of Jerusalem, the consolation of Israel, the Revelation to the Gentiles… the Salvation of Man. I’m sure they both spread the word, as did the shepherds. So what happened? How could this young family have had any peace? Well, if you’ll remember the account in Matthew 2, the Magi came to Jerusalem looking for the one who is born King of the Jews. We don’t know exactly how old Jesus was when the Magi found Him, we just know that they were no longer in the manger; rather, they were now in a house. God sends warning to Joseph to flee to Egypt, and warns the Magi to avoid returning to Herod. So what squashed what would have been the biggest news in Israel? It was not yet Jesus’ time.

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