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Matthew 12:1-21

Jesus, Lord of All

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • November 18, 2018

Defining moments. In life, there are moments which set the course and define the way for one’s life. From that defining moment on, things will never be the same again. We will study a significant, yet often overlooked, defining moment in the life and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, one which revealed who He is and who His enemies were.

  • Sermon Notes

Jesus Lord of All

Matthew 12:1-21


ILLUS – A life-changing moment

1.Defining moments. In life there are moments which set the course and define the way for one’s life. From that defining moment on, things will never be the same again.

2.Tonight, we will study a significant, yet often overlooked, defining moment in the life and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, one which revealed who He is and who His enemies were.

Matthew 12:1-21


1.Last week, we studied the powerful and comforting invitation of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

2.God knows that all of humanity is burdened so He sent His Son to free us both from the burden of our sins as well as the burden of religiosity.

3.One of the themes that we see running through the Gospel of Matthew as well as much of the Bible is the question, “How will you respond?”

4.Because God so love the world, He sent His Son so that we might believe in Him and have everlasting life. God sent His Son so that question now is, “How will you respond to Jesus?”

5.In Matthew 12, there are two distinct groups with completely different responses to Jesus. Jesus pointed to their hearts and revealed that there is where the question is truly answered.

I.Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath (1-8)

The topic of the Sabbath was and is very central to the Jewish religion.

But what was meant to be a blessing became a burden, so Jesus confronted the problem to restore the Sabbath back to what God originally intended.

A. The Sabbath was made for man

1.Matthew 12 begins with the Pharisees accusing Jesus that His disciples were breaking the Sabbath because they had picked heads of grain and ate them while passing through the grain fields. (2)

2.Jesus responded to their confrontation by confronting them.

3.First, it is important to note that the Sabbath was given as a sign between God and the sons of Israel.

Exodus 31:17, It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.

4.Next, we see that God meant the Sabbath to be a blessing for Israel.

Mark 2:27, Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

5.But the scribes and Pharisees had turned the Sabbath into a crushing burden, and defined Israel’s relationship to God according to whether they could carry this terrible man-defined burden.

Matthew 23:4, They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.

ILLUS – Traveling in Jerusalem on the Sabbath

6.Jesus referenced three passages from God’s Word to confront their ignorance of God’s Word and the error of their traditions.

a.In 1 Samuel 21, David and his men ate the show bread which was reserved for the priests and were not condemned. (3-4)

b.In Numbers 28:9-10, the priests broke on the Sabbath when they offer the prescribed sacrifices to the Lord and were not condemned. (5)

c.Then Jesus quoted from Hosea 6:6 to show the Pharisees were condemning the innocent, ones God had not condemned. (7)

Hosea 6:6,For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (NIV)

7.In the midst of this confrontation, Jesus revealed and defined God’s heart for the Sabbath and also who He is in relationship to two things that were and are central to the Jewish faith: The Temple and the Sabbath.

a.Jesus declared that He is greater than that Temple. (6)

b.Jesus declared that He is Lord of the Sabbath. (8)

c.Why are both true? Because Jesus is God the Son, the One who instituted the Sabbath after six days of creating.

Colossians 1:16-17, For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

APPL – So, Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, not the Pharisees!

B.Be diligent to enter Christ’s rest

1.The Sabbath was not just to be a day to rest from physical activity, it is a day to be restored and refreshed in our relationship to God.

2.It is a day to “Come to Me, and learn from Me, and to find rest for your souls.”

APPL – To stop striving, to stop carrying our own burdens, and find the rest that comes from being in a relationship to God through Jesus Christ.

  • Don’t come to church as a way to fulfill the legal requirements that you think God expects.
  • Come as a way to find life, to receive from Him!
  • Stop all the “doing” and wait on the Lord so that you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and have life to the full! 

John 4:13-14, Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

  • We come together and honor God on the first day of the week because it is the day of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is for us the way that we have found life and so it’s very proper to honor God on the day we found life to the full! 

Romans 6:4-5, Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

Transition – Again, the question is, how will you respond? Be diligent to enter Christ’s rest by faith!

II. Jesus is Lord of Men (9-21)

  • When Jesus entered the synagogue there were some Pharisees there who saw a man with a withered hand and decided to seize the opportunity to test Jesus. 
  • Remember, the question we’re asking is, how will you respond?
  • When we look at the response of the Pharisees, it’s a lesson in how not to respond to God for their response was born out of hearts that were hard!

A.Don’t look for faults in others

1.Remember, they were in a synagogue, a house of worship, a place where people came to meet God and be refreshed, restored, and healed.

2.But being in a house of worship does not guarantee that those present are there to worship in Spirit and truth!

3.You would think that the Pharisees, if they had any heart at all, would bring the man with the withered hand to Jesus so that this man could be healed. But they sought to find fault with Jesus, to have a reason to accuse Him.

4.From Mark’s Gospel we glean insight into what was happening with the Pharisees.

Mark 3:5, After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

5.The Pharisees were “experts” in the Law, which simply meant that they had memorized the rules.

6.And this gave them power and authority which they exercised by pointing out the faults and failures of others.

7.Jesus reserved some of His strongest words against their religious hypocrisy.

Matthew 23:24-25, You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

APPL – Jesus wants His Church to be a Pharisee-free zone.

B. God wants us to put on a heart of compassion

1.As Jesus pointed out, the real problem was the hardness of their hearts. Hardhearted people do not respond to the truth – you cannot dialogue with them because they are unteachable.

ILLUS Counseling and Mentoring people

2.And then you see the Pharisees also lacked any concern or care for others. They lacked mercy and compassion which is contrary to the heart of our Father.

Matthew 12:7, I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice.

3.Jesus answered their question about whether it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath by explaining the value of human life and the heart of God to do good, even on the Sabbath.

4.“What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (11-12)

5.Then Jesus turned to the man with the withered hand and asked him to do the one thing he could not do, “Stretch out your hand!” (13)

a.Please note that Jesus did not perform surgery, or physical therapy. In fact, He did not even touch the man!

b.Jesus simply spoke and the man with the withered hand stretched out his hand and was healed.

c.Therefore, no work was done on the Sabbath for only words were spoken!

APPL – In essence, Jesus said, “Let me have your withered hand, extend to God that which is broken and crushed.”

  • There is great application for us in these words for the Lord would say to us, “Give Me that which is paralyzed, crushed, and withered in your life and let Me heal you.
  • Give it all to Me and believe that I am the One who can make all things new because I am the One who is Creator and Lord of All. Just come to Me! 

Jeremiah 32:27, I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (NIV)

Knowing the heart of God changes everything.

C. Don’t wrestle with hard hearts

1.At this point, Jesus is up 2-0 against the Pharisees.

2.And in a house of worship, in the presence of God’s Son who just healed a man with a withered hand, they had only one thing in their hearts and on their minds and it was not faith and love, it was murder! (14)

3.Rather than argue and debate with the Pharisees over their misunderstanding of God’s Law and therefore their misunderstanding of God’s heart, Jesus withdrew from there.

4.This was to ensure that the timing for His crucifixion was not compromised.

5.We also read Jesus’ actions were a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-3.

6.These verses show the heart of the Lord so powerfully. Notice that it says that God’s Servant would not quarrel. That is a good example for us all.

ILLUS – Receiving correction from my mentor about being too argumentative.

2 Timothy 2:24-25, The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth

APPL – There’s an old saying, “Never wrestle a pig. They have way too much fun and you get way too dirty!”

7.This passage also sets the tone for the rest of the Gospel.

a.It was a defining moment because here is the beginning of the rejection of and rebellion against Jesus, a rejection that is implied in the prophecy of Isaiah 42 because Israel’s Messiah would minister to the Gentiles!

Matthew 12:18, 21, And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. And in His name the Gentiles will hope.

b.In the midst of the rejection, Messiah would still comfort the broken and weary for that is the heart of God.

Matthew 12:20, A battered reed He will not break off,
and a smoldering wick He will not put out.


Are you weary, battered and broken? How will you respond? May I invite you to come to Jesus? In His presence you will find the right help at the right time.

Hebrews 4:16, Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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