B i b l e   S t u d y




Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to page two: More Bible Study Outlines.



June 3, 2018


SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:1-14


KEY VERSE: But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless (Matthew 12:7)


INTRODUCTION: Let’s notice the movement in the Gospel of Matthew. If you miss it, you miss the message that is here. Matthew is not trying to give a biography of the life of Jesus Christ, nor is he recording the events in chronological order.


Matthew presents Jesus Christ as the King of Israel (i.e., the Messiah) -- He was born a King and gave what we call the Sermon on the Mount, which were the principles of the kingdom (i.e., the manifesto of the King). Jesus Christ demonstrated that He had the power in the miracles He performed, then He sent out His apostles. The reaction was rejection! And then the King pronounced judgment on the cities.


Now there breaks out into the open a conflict between the Lord Jesus and the religious rulers of that day -- the Pharisees in particular. Apparently, they were friendly to Him at first, but now they break with Him over the question of the Sabbath day.


We will see the Sabbath question in two places: on the outside in the field, then again on the inside in the synagogue.


I. THE PHARISEE’S REBUKE. (Matthew 12:1-2)


A. What The Disciples Did.


(Matthew 12:1) At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.


We will see in this episode that Jesus asserts that He is Lord of the Sabbath day. But before we get involved in the sabbatic argument (which has been raging ever since!), let’s look at the reason the disciples were pulling off and eating the grain. Why were they doing it? Because they were hungry. Why were they hungry? Because they were following Jesus.


INSIGHT: You remember that He had said to the young man who wanted to follow Him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). And at this time, they were hungry. This is another reminder of the poverty that our Lord bore. And we will see Him defend His disciples’ actions. This is where the break with the religious rulers came.


B. What The Pharisees Said.


(Matthew 12:2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.


Some Pharisees didn’t know who Jesus is. They saw the disciples doing something that was not lawful to do on the Sabbath day, and they protested: “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” “Why do You permit it?”


INSIGHT: We need to know who Jesus is! We have to realize that Jesus is God in a human body. Jesus is part of the Biblical trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the powerful Creator of all things (see John 1:1-3)..


II. THE LORD OF THE SABBATH. (Matthew 12:3-8)


A. Jesus Answered The Pharisees’ Question.


(Matthew 12:3) But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him.


We find the record of this in 1 Samuel 21:1–6. It was during the days of David’s rejection as king while Saul was ruling. Likewise, the Lord Jesus was being rejected as King; His messianic claim had not been acknowledged. Now He takes care of His men—regardless of the Sabbath day observance. And David took care of his men although it meant breaking the Mosaic Law.


B. Jesus Explained What David Did.


(Matthew 12:4-5) How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?


David went into the house of God, and He and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. Jesus said: “Haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath?” Yes, the priests worked on the Sabbath day.


C. Jesus Claimed Superiority Over The Temple.


(Matthew 12:6) But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.


The Lord Jesus here claimed superiority over the most holy center of their religious life, which was the temple in Jerusalem.. As far as the Pharisees were concerned, He had blasphemed. Not only had He broken the Sabbath, but He had blasphemed.


D. Jesus Said That They Did Not Break The Sabbath.


(Matthew 12:7) But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.


“I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” comes from Hosea 6:6. Our Lord defends His men by saying that they did not break the Sabbath day. Why?


E. Jesus Said That He Was Lord Of The Sabbath Day.


(Matthew 12:8) For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.


Believe me, He put His hand on the most sacred observance they had when He said that He was Lord of the Sabbath day. In the eyes of the Pharisees, He could make no greater claim. It certainly engendered their bitterness and their hatred.


INSIGHT: Now we leave the fields where this encounter took place, and we go into the synagogue -- but we are still faced with the same Sabbath question.




A. Jesus Attended A Synagogue Service.


(Matthew 12:9) And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue.


Notice that “he went into their synagogue” -- not ours but theirs. He said something similar regarding the temple. At first it was God’s temple, but He finally said, “Your house is left unto you desolate.”


B. Jesus Asked A Simple Question.


(Matthew 12:10-11) And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?


Was this man with the withered hand “planted” there, deliberately, by the Pharisees to trap Jesus into healing him? If so, then there are two important admissions on the part of the enemies of Jesus:


1. They ADMITTED that Jesus had power to heal the sick.


As we have seen, the enemies of Jesus never questioned His ability to perform miracles. You have to be two thousand years away from it and working in a musty library on a master’s or doctor’s degree before you can question His miracles. The Pharisees freely admitted that He had power to heal the sick. This is why they planted this man with the withered hand.


2. They ACKNOWLEDGED that when a helpless man was placed in His pathway, Jesus was moved by compassion to heal him, even on the Sabbath day.


What an admission! Their question about the legality of healing on the Sabbath day was designed to trap Jesus Christ. But Jesus actually trapped His enemies. They conceded that a sheep should be rescued on the Sabbath day -- in fact, the Mosaic Law made allowances for that.


C. Jesus Asked A Second Question.


(Matthew 12:12) How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.


This is the nitty-gritty of the whole matter: Should Jesus do good on the Sabbath day? And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath!”


D. Jesus Healed The Man’s Withered Hand.


(Matthew 12:13) Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.


Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath day. Did He break the Law? What is your answer? My answer is that He did not break the Law.


INSIGHT: At this point the Pharisees plot the death of Jesus Christ! This marks the break between the religious rulers and Jesus. Here is where they made the decision to destroy Him.


E. Jesus’ Cruel Death Was Planned.


(Matthew 12:14) Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.


Up to this point the Pharisees had been friendly. They had wanted to hitch their wagon to Jesus’ star and go with Him. But the Lord refused to go along with them, and they became His enemies.


INSIGHT: The break is made over the question of the Sabbath day, and the conflict comes out in the open. From here on these bloodhounds of hate get on His trail and never let up until they fold their arms beneath His cross. They begin now to plot His death, and they undoubtedly want to arrest Him at this time, but they are afraid of the crowds.


Beyond The Status Quo
By David C. McCasland


Jesus said: “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:40)


·        We all need to do some critical thinking about what we really believe.


Dr. Jack Mezirow, professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, believes that an essential element in adult learning is to challenge our own ingrained perceptions and examine our insights critically.


Dr. Mezirow says that adults learn best when faced with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma” — something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired” (Barbara Strauch, The New York Times). This is the opposite of saying, “My mind is made up -- don’t confuse me with the facts.”


·        When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He challenged deeply held beliefs.


Jesus challenged the deeply held beliefs of many religious leaders, and they sought to silence Him (John 5:16-18). Jesus said to them: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).


·        Oswald Chambers observed:


“God has a way of bringing in facts which upset a man’s doctrines if these stand in the way of God getting at his soul.”


·        We must think it through and make the right decisions.


Unsettling experiences that cause us to question our assumptions about the Lord can also lead us to a deeper understanding and trust in Him -- if we’re willing to think it through and come to Christ.


My mind cries its questions,

My longing heart, joining.

O Father, please hear me!

O Spirit, keep teaching me!Verway


 -- Adapted from David C. McCasland, Our Daily Bread, September 22, 2011


CONCLUSION: What does it mean that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath?


INSIGHT: The phrase “the Lord of the Sabbath” is found in Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28, and Luke 6:5. In these verses, Jesus is proclaiming that He is the One who exercises authority even over the rules and regulations that govern the Sabbath day.


·        The Lord of the Sabbath Means That Jesus Christ Is Greater Than The Mosaic Law.


Jesus was proclaiming to the world (especially to the legalistic Pharisees) that He was greater than the Law and above the laws of the Mosaic Covenant because, as God in flesh, He is the Author of those laws.


·        The Lord of the Sabbath Means That Jesus Christ Is The Original Lord Of The Sabbath.


As Creator, Christ was the original Lord of the Sabbath (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:10). He had the authority to overrule the Pharisees’ traditions and regulations because He had created the Sabbath -- and the Creator is always greater than the creation. Because Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, He is free to do on it and with it whatever He pleases.


·        The Lord of the Sabbath Means That Jesus Christ Has The Right Power And Authority.


When Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), He was attesting to the fact that, just as the Sabbath day was originally instituted to give man rest from his labors, so did He come to provide us rest from laboring to achieve our own salvation by our works.


Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can now forever cease laboring to attain God’s favor and rest in His mercy and grace.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates


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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey



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