I’m reading the Chronological Bible Reading plan and right now Jesus is just going around ticking a lot of people off! He was talking to a Samaritan woman, which Jews just don’t do. He was in Samaria in the first place! Which they just didn’t do. Then He’s picking grain on the Sabbath and eating it, which didn’t exactly break the Torah, but was against the detailed interpretation of the Torah that the Pharisees heaped up on top of the Torah.
Then Jesus goes in to the synagogue in Matthew 12. The Pharisees lay the beartrap “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” and Jesus stomps on it and drives it into the ground.
“Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”13 Then he said to the man,”Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.
The Pharisees, who loved their power and they ways more than they wanted to draw near to God, decided that they wanted to kill Him when they saw this.
The place where I tend to stray at this point is that I try to think up things that church people love and are entrenched in that are the opposite of what Jesus taught, and I want to spring their traps too.
Jesus didn’t do this just to make people angry. He was trying to draw people to God. The guy with the withered hand wasn’t just a pawn in Jesus’ powerplay against the Pharisees. Jesus really wanted to heal that guy, and make Him whole. As a part of that, He wanted the people around to see that He could do such things, and that He didn’t care what day He did it.
One time Jesus said “your sins are forgiven” to a guy just so they would know that He had the power to forgive sins.
Always always always Jesus’ acts are to point us to the Father and His greatness. The very next section in Matthew 12 points to Jesus as the fulfillment of hundreds of years of hints from God.
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18 ”Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Not just to make people mad, but to draw them out of their wrong thinking in and into the glorious life of God.