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Love or legalism!

Rev Charles Oppong-Poku | APRIL 17, 2023 | Matthew 12:9-13

KEY VERSE:

¹² A person is worth far more than a sheep; so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” ¹³Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other. Matthew 12:12-13 (NIV)


MESSAGE:

The Pharisees were not happy with Jesus. They wanted to trap Him and accuse Him, and they found an opportunity to do so. Some say that the Pharisees may have placed this man in the synagogue to trap Jesus. I’m not sure about that. However, at the least, they saw the man there and knew that Jesus may very well want to heal the man. What Jesus says in verse 12 is key for our understanding as well. He says, “It is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” What Jesus is saying here is that doing good surpasses following a list of rules. To say it differently “love is greater than legalism”.


Legalism focuses on rules, but love focuses on people. The Pharisees were outraged that Jesus would heal on the Sabbath because it went against their strict interpretation of the law. They were more concerned with upholding rules than showing compassion for human needs, but Jesus saw the man’s suffering and acted out of love and compassion, even if it meant breaking the religious rules.

Legalism leads to judgment, but love leads to mercy. The Pharisees were quick to judge Jesus and accused Him of breaking the law, but Jesus showed mercy to the man with the withered hand, offering healing and restoration.

Legalism creates barriers, but love breaks them down. The Pharisees had created a rigid system of rules and regulations that made it difficult for people to approach God. They had become so focused on following the law that they missed the heart of God’s message. On the other hand, Jesus’ act of healing on the Sabbath broke down the barriers that the Pharisees had created, showing that God’s love and mercy are available to all who seek Him.


Jesus’ act teaches us that as we go through our daily lives, it’s easy to get caught up in our routines and schedules but it’s important to remember that every person has value and deserves our love and compassion, even if it means breaking our usual patterns. Jesus’ act also demonstrates the power of God to heal and restore. Even when things seem impossible or hopeless, God can bring wholeness and healing into our lives. Jesus did not just heal the man with the withered hand out of love and compassion – He did it to make a point, to challenge the religious leaders who had become more focused on rules than on serving others. As followers of Jesus, we are called to serve others in His name. Sometimes that means breaking the rules or going against the status quo to show love and compassion to those who need it most.


FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE

Don’t become too familiar with church and worship by following rules and performing religious rituals. Let us learn to show love more and don’t be judgmental. We exist to develop disciples who love God, love the church, and love others. Loving God and others is what we’re here to do. God showed His love and mercy to the world and made it possible for us to love and be loved through Jesus. Show the love and mercy of Jesus today and every other day because love is greater than legalism.

PRAYER:

Father God, thank you for your love and mercy. Give me eyes that will see beyond the natural, a heart that can feel the burden of the needy and hands that are ready to do something to help situations of others. Held me to understand that I exist to help people to love you, love the church and love others. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.


THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!

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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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