The Pharisees confront Jesus in today’s chapter:
“Look here! Your disciples are doing something that’s not permitted on the sabbath!” (12:2)
How dare they pluck corn and eat it! That’s work!
So Jesus chastises the Pharisees on how completely they have missed the point. Then he heals the withered hand of a man standing in the crowd. Oh-oh! More work on the Sabbath. How dare Jesus disregard the Law! So,
“The Pharisees went off and plotted against him, with the intention of doing away with him.” (12:14)
I have never noticed this last verse in this way before. The Pharisees are incensed that Jesus would disregard the Jewish laws and customs concerning the Sabbath, all the while they are making plans to murder Jesus.
Yes, it seems they have missed the point.
Today’s chapter really drives home the saying “it’s what’s in the heart that counts,” not the rituals of our hands.
- Our mouth speaks from the heart (12:34)
- The fruit/deeds of our life come from the quality of our tree/heart (12:33)
- A demon can be removed but it will only be worse later on if we don’t fill up our hearts with something good (12:45)
- Family is defined more by faith than blood (12:50)
- Repentance of the heart is better than experiencing miraculous signs (12:41)
- Saving a life and restoring health is far better than getting caught up in law keeping (12:12)
- Mercy is better than sacrifice (12:7)
What stood out to you in this chapter?
Tags: actions, beliefs, Bible, BIble reading, ethics, heart, jesus, Law, matthew, murder, Pharisees, religion, rituals, Sabbath
When we think of wisdom, we usually think of the mind. We might see wisdom as more practical and everyday than knowledge. I once was taught this simple definition: wisdom is knowledge applied. Still, in this way of thinking wisdom is a matter of the mind.
I am struck by how earthy and everyday James’ description of wisdom is in today’s passage:
Who is wise and discerning among you? Such a person should, by their upright behavior, display their works in the humility of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and contention in your hearts, don’t boast and tell lies against the truth. This isn’t the wisdom that comes from above. . . . The wisdom that comes from above is first holy, then, peaceful, gentle, compliant, filled with mercy and good fruits, unbiased, sincere. (3:13-15a, 17)
Chock full of action words, James describes wisdom in 3:13-18 as much as a matter of the hands as a matter of the mind. Much like faith and love in chapter 2, wisdom is what one does and does not do. Wisdom is seen and identifiable. As practical as it can be, wisdom is how we treat others. It is behavioral.
What struck you from today’s chapter?
Tags: actions, behavior, Bible, doing, hands, James, knowledge, mind, reading, wisdom, wise