Answering Accusations, Pt.2

May 01, 2022

Answering Accusations, Pt.2

Passage: Matthew 12:9-14

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: Matthew: We Need a King

Category: Sunday Morning


This sermon begins with where I did not end last time.

  • Beginning where I left off.
    • Filling out my last point.
    • “For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath” (v. 8).

 Bridging the next accusation.

 Again with “Sabbath.”

Sabbath means rest.

  • Busy lifestyles obscure the value of rest.
    • God created rest.
    • Sacrosanct on the seventh day creation account.

 The Lord commanded the Israelites, “To remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”

    • The Law required people to separate it within their week.
    • No work; only priests facilitating worshipers.

 Numbers (15:32-36) records someone gathering sticks on Sabbath, was formally executed.

Sabbath begins with God as Creator.

  • He never requires rest but does require worship as Creator.
    • He alone made the world, out of nothing into to something, for his glory.
      • The LORD rested, to be revered as Creator.
      • Worship because he is Creator, we are created.

ESV  Genesis 1:31 aAnd God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

 ESV  Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and aall the host of them.2 And aon the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

 What God Created what was “very good.”

  • God “finished” so He “rested.”
    • This day set apart, reflects completing and perfection.
    • He ceased working as the self-sufficient Creator.

 Certain sacrifices were to be brought on the Sabbath (cf. Numbers 28:9-10).

Exodus 20, the record of the ten commandments.

  • Law of Moses in ten commandments, less a legal code, more God’s revelation of himself.
    • His nature revealed.
      • Set apart as
      • Setting apart His nation, Israel.
  •  Under Abraham, the covenant sign was circumcision.
  •  Under Moses, the covenant sign of Sabbath!

ESV  Exodus 20:8-11 a"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 aSix days you shall labor, and do all your work,10 but the aseventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the bsojourner who is within your gates.11 For ain six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

 “Why was Israel to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy?”

  • Because as God, He is Creator.
  • He made it all!

God is our focus of worship; we likewise find refuge in him.

 “Israel observing Sabbath” meant all work would shut down, right?

“Was this a method to witness?”

  • A testimony to Pagan travelers on trade routes.
    • “Why this pause, in their week!”
    • “Yahweh, the one true God, created us.”

 Israel’s separation from Pagans was symbolized by circumcision.

    • Paul applies to circumcision of the heart.
    • Outward to inward.
  •  Israel’s pause to rest, built symbolism, into practical separation. 
  • Christians come, bringing offerings of rest.
    • The sabbath day was meant as a day off from work to focus.
    • A day of focus on the Lord. 
  • Sunday morning worship honors Jesus’ resurrection. 
  • Singing the Psalter, the Selah, prompts pausing!
    • Consider God, stop, meditate, and think about Jesus.
    • “Do you stop?” 
  • Not a time management question, but of priority.
    • Not work ethic.
    • But devotion. 
  • Jesus is worthy of your deliberation.
    • He is near. He made you. He loves you.
    • He is teaching you. He is working within your everyday. 
  • Jesus is your Sabbath and refuge.
    • When I consider Jesus as “rest,” I move toward his fellowship.
    • He is our refuge and a very help in times of trouble.

One of the ways where I consider whether I am resting in the Lord is to evaluate my ability to sleep.

  • I understand we are all made differently and the some have physiological reasons that hinder sleeping but consider sleep as a gift of God.
    • God made us need sleep.
      • We are dependent on it.
      • If deprived of sleep, your body to shut down, weak, and sick and will die. 
  • Sleep deprivation is a known torture devise.
    • To pull information from being disallowed to fall asleep.
      • Anxiety, worry, fear, guilt are all sins associated with the lack of sleep.
      • The opposite is to find your rest in the Lord.

In terms of the whole counsel of God, this theme of rest does not end with focusing on God as Creator but extends to his second amazing attribute which is God as Savior.

  • Back to the Israelites.
    • Deuteronomy chronicles just before the Israelites enter the Promised Land.
    • Delivered from slavery (40 years prior).
      • The second generation is moving into Canaan.
      • Moses sends them, restating the Law that he had written in the book Exodus.
        • A reiteration of the Law [Deutero-Nomos].
          • Deuteronomy is Moses’ exposition of the book of Exodus.
          • Deuteronomy is “the sayings or words” – a sermon. 
  • This time the Sabbath emphasis is God as Savior.

ESV  Deuteronomy 5:12-15 "'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,14 but athe seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, bthat your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.15 aYou shall remember that you were a slave1 in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there bwith a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

 Remember, Israel, delivered from Egypt, with the sign of “Sabbath.”

  • Creator who made you, bought you back (redeemed), Saved you!
    • Christians are redeemed from bondage of sin.
    • Bought with a price. 

Israel’s 2nd generation, entered Canaan.

  • Their covenant sign of Sabbath pictured deliverance and salvation.
    • Believers in Christ, rest in him for salvation.
    • The song of Revelation sings of Christ as Creator and as Savior.
      • Both attributes matter.
      • The one who Creates (“exnihilo’) also Saves (from sin).

The ancient people of Israel wondered in the wilderness, striving for rest in the Promise Land.

  • The Promised Land depicts Heaven (cf. Heb. 4).
    • Christians journey toward heaven.
    • Path to persevere, until we reach heaven. 
  • Heaven is our rest.
    • Falling short, denying the faith, failing as runners, we are disqualifying runners.
      • Forfeits confidence we were ever true runners.
      • Apostates will not enter God’s rest. 
  • The first generation, wandered around, in their flesh, taking their eyes off their Creator, Savior, Redeemer. 
  • Who bought them out of Egyptian slavery. 
  • In their flesh, they fell in the wilderness.
    • Christian runners fix our eyes on him all the way to the finish line.
    • Saved us to rest in him.

As we learned two weeks ago, we exercised saving faith by exchanging one yoke for another (Mt. 11: 28-30).

  • We exchanged our “works-yoke” for a “grace-yoke.”
    • You could say you exchanged a “flesh-yoke” for a “rest-yoke.”

The great hymn says, “We rest in thee our shield and our defender” says the great hymn that inspired the martyrs of Jim Elliot.

  • This hymn has a sad sto­ry as­so­ci­at­ed with it. In Jan­u­a­ry 1956, five mis­sion­ar­ies sang it be­fore en­ter­ing the jun­gles of east­ern Ecua­dorto bring the Gos­pel to the Wao­ra­ni In­di­ans (this tribe is some­times mis­tak­en­ly called the Au­ca, a per­jor­a­tive term mean­ing en­e­my or sav­ag­es).
  • The mis­sion­ar­ies were Nate Saint, Ed Mc­Cul­ly, Jim El­li­ott, Ro­ger Yo­der­i­an, & Pe­ter Flem­ing. Af­ter the men reached the Wao­ra­ni, the In­di­ans mur­dered them on the Cu­ra­ray Ri­ver.
  • Resting in Christ daily, defines Christian experience.
    • Difficult to do.
    • We are called to work so hard but called to work by resting. 
  • Denying God’s rest is a practically denial of God’s saving grace. 

“Will you rest in Christ?” “What threatens your rest?” “What ruins rest?”

Anything substitute for resting in Jesus is Religion?  

People caught in a cult of religion always twist God as Creator and Savior.

“Modern heresies?”

  • Some of the mainline ones are Mormonism, JW’s, and New Age. Dangerous? Yes. 
  • Hyper-charismatic movement accuses those who do not embrace sign gifts for today as, not preaching whole Bible
  • Even the RCC teaches outward conformity, blurring justification. 
  • The Seventh Day Adventus can draw people into legalistic traditions.

“How do you know if you are working from the outside in or the inside out to grace?”

  • “Do you take Christ as sufficient?”
    • Higher than everything.
      • Called to obey Christ’s but obedience from the heart.
      • Never as outward conformity. 
  • We return to Christ as our Sabbath rest.
    • Fighting to rest in the Lord.
    • Complete reliance on him. 
  • “Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.”
    • Lord of your rest.
      • “How can you find rest again?”
      • Remember your sufficiency is in Christ. 

Verse 9 brings us to a second accusation against Jesus.

  • Each accusation builds onto the next.
    • More acute and more personal.
      • “Disciples doing wrong” now setting a trap against Jesus.
        • Accusations driving stronger and stronger.
        • Condemning accusers deeper and deeper. 
  • Bringing Jesus’ ministry to a pivot point.
    • Moving from speaking clearly to parables (cf. Matt. 13).
    • Parables are a sign of condemnation.
      • Less obvious to unbelievers.
      • Simplifying truth for believers.

Jesus, called a non-conformist, now a rebel.

Disciples were accused, now Christ directly accused.

 1. Rebel (vv. 9-14)

Jesus moves from being outside in the fields to being inside the religious center, the synagogue.

  • By divine design, a man with a withered hand happened to be present.
    • Pharisees were intent on trapping Jesus.
    • “Did they bring the man with withered hand to synagogue?”
    • Atrophied, paralyzed.


  • Wanting to bind Jesus, by the belief that he was operating outside of the law.
  • Pharisees provoke
      a. Their Accusation

They ask, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

  • Their motive is clear: “…so that they might accuse him” (v. 10). 
  • The Pharisees coming in terms of applications of the Sabbath.
    • Tradition stated you could not use medicine to help someone unless a matter of life and death.
      • Religions that refuse medical treatment.
        • “Unnecessary work on the Sabbath”
        • This man’s withered hand deemed “unnecessary.” 
  • Though Jesus could heal (more than medicate).

Pharisees knew Jesus could heal.

  • No debate, whether Jesus could restore this man’s hand.
    • Certain he could.
    • Question was whether Jesus would publicly rebel against the Law. 
  • Opportunity to lay aside powers for adherence to the Law.
    • Logic misses the need of this man with a withered hand.
    • Logic misses the heart to love.
     b. Jesus’ Answer 
  • Jesus’ principle is that “Necessities have no Law.”

ESV  Mark 3:1-4 abAgain bhe entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.

2 And athey watched Jesus,1 to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, "Come here."4 And he said to them, a"Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 

  • Jesus raises the stakes of “do[ing] good or to do harm, to sav[ing] life or kill[ing]?” 

Like Nathan the prophet showing David his sin, Jesus uses a sheep to illustrate.

  • “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?”
    • Using Lesser to the Greater
    • Sheep falling inside a ditch was a common occurrence. 
  • Dead Sea scrolls community, Qumran (Jewish sect), forbade rescuing animals on Sabbath – all other Jews permitted it. 
  • An unanticipated circumstance where your animal is in a desperate situation and how you would immediately come to its rescue, no matter what day it was. 
  • Losing livestock, for Pharisees was more about wealth than compassion for stuck animal but the point is the same in either case.

What Jesus says next, makes the point in terms of value, whether based in material or love.

  • “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!”
    • Should be more concerned with human life than animals. 
  • Same wakeup call of James where a faithless, hard heart is willing to see someone in need, saying, “Be warmed and filled.” 
  • Or, 1 John, where he warns against closing your heart to someone in need, “How can you say the love of God abides in you?  
  • Parable of Good Samaritan - religious priests walk by person bludgeoned and left for dead by thieves.

ESV  Luke 10:25-34 aAnd behold, a blawyer stood up to cput him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to dinherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"27 And he answered, ab"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and byour neighbor as yourself."28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; ado this, and you will live."29 But he, adesiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"30 Jesus replied, "A man awas going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.31 Now by chance a apriest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise aa Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a aSamaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.34 He went to him and abound up his wounds, pouring on aoil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 

After exposing his accusers, he answers with an affirmation.

  • “So, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (v. 12).
    • Jesus did not strip out “obedience to the law.”
    • Confusion over use to the Old Testament law.
      • Teaching the Law bears no real relevance to the Christian whatsoever.
      • Hyper-grace movement has been a cover for secret sin.
        • Heresy as disguise for false holiness.
        • To remove accountability for the guilt of secret sins.
        • Had pastor-acquaintance who fell hard under this “grace/anti-obedience” cloak using as a cover for hidden sin. 
  • Hyper-grace puts believers into a standardless orbit, feeling your way through the Christian life.
    • Recent trend in hermeneutics built around this thinking.
      • Every sermon better contain the Gospel and mention Jesus as the point of your exposition, or your sermon is defective and heretical. 
  • Righteous version motive, making “Beeline to the Cross” but the extreme version of hyper-grace is antinomian. 
  • Victim culture labeling obedience to the Law as “Toxic Christianity.”

Principles concerning the Law to frame your thinking.

1. Though the letter kills in the sense that it exposes our sin and trying to earn your right standing with God by obedience will lead to spiritual death, the law is precious and life-giving.

Why the Psalms calls the Law of the Lord as perfect and David’s heart cry was “Oh how I love the Law, it is my meditation all the day!” And why the Israelites were commanded to “Hear” it and “Meditate” on it day and night (Shema, Deut. 6).

 2. The Law is a moral standard where you see your sin as it become a measure of holiness considering your spiritual life. The Westminster Shorter says, “Sin is any lack of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God.”


This means that we see our sin both in terms of how we do not measure up to God’s standard and in terms of how we go beyond or transgress God’s standard. These are the sins of omission and commission. This principle is applied by Christ when the rich young ruler asked which part of the law was the greatest. Love God with all heart, mind, soul, and strength and love you neighbor as yourself.


The point is that when you do those two things, the other Laws will be automatically being obeyed and vise-versa. Why Paul in Romans renamed the Law, the Law of love.  Point is that Love does not cancel obedience. Love-driven obedience which is righteous.


3. Christ fulfilled the Law in that it all pointed to him and his Cross, while at the same time applying it under the New Covenant name as “The Law of Christ.”

In this way, loving and meditating on the Law, repenting where we fall short of/or transgress the Law, and understanding grace, is all to be done in the context of our relationship with Christ. You obey the Law of Christ because Jesus has transformed and empowered to do so. 

Back to Jesus’ phrase in verse 12, “So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (v. 12).

  • Jesus would heal this man, because the Law is good as it was meant to be obeyed from a loving heart. 
  • Jesus’ motive should be to reach out in love and this is exactly what he did.
  • Jesus “said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’” (v. 13). 
  • Jesus issued a command to be obeyed and what is implied is that he did so by faith.

According to C.H. Spurgeon:  Commands to be saved like “Repent and Believe” are like this one.  “These commands are not addressed to sensible sinners, but to insensible sinners, to stupid sinners, to sinners who cannot, so far as moral ability is concerned, obey the command at all…in and of himself, [he – man with withered hand] was quite incapable of doing [it – stretching out his hand] – because…if he could stretch out his hand…there was no miracle needed…” 

This man’s hand was “restored, healthy like the other” (v. 13).

  • How dramatic was a healing like this?

My brother’s withered hand.

When I was a little boy growing up with my older brother.  My brother was twelve and we were playing football in a front yard.  He was returning a kickoff on a slope, slipped on leaves and fell to the ground and then took late hit.  The two bones in his elbow were completely separated and had to be reset.  It was a bad scene.  25 years later at my brother’s high school reunion, the first thing this kid said to him was, “Sorry again about the late hit.” 

After they reset the bones, the nerves in his right hand did not regain full functionality.  He underwent regular therapy and electric shock treatments but was unable to even turn the knob on our TV (an ancient practice before invention of remote). 

Months passed and his Doctor began to refer to him as being handicapped.  Then one day during a shock therapy (my mom not giving up hope), the nerves in his fingers began to twitch and respond.  Being 8 years old, I didn’t realize the significance of my brother’s recovery.  I don’t really think my brother who was 12 years old, did either. 

My brother became a Christian at 16.  We were together at a winter youth retreat when the youth pastor asked my brother to share his testimony to the group.  He recounted this experience.  And looking back he had become clear that God had healed his disability.  His hand had regained full strength and functionality and it was hearing this from him in that moment that made the gravity of what had transpired landed.  My brother potentially had lost a lot and God had restored it all.

By the way, God’s uses his right hand quite a bit.  He uses his hands to study the Bible and preach it as a pastor on most Sundays, like this one. 

I had never thought about the fact that Johnny that this injury was a catalyst of his conversion.

  • His withered hand healed; more importantly his heart was healed. 
  • His testimony, being healed sowed seed for my heart to one day be healed, five years after hearing his testimony.

This dramatic healing was going to have one of two effects on those observing.

  • Miracle itself was irrefutable.
    • Man’s hand “restored” instantaneously without question.
    • Leaving one of two responses. 
  • Pharisees deny Jesus’ interpretation and application of the Law.
    • The Law of love.
    • They deny Jesus’ authority as Messiah, as God. 
  • Level of denial seemingly leaves one option. 
  • “If we cannot take out Jesus’ message, then we have to take out Jesus the Messenger.”

 “We will now turn all our attention toward destroying him!” (v. 14).

  • Jesus, as Lord over the Law, indirectly proclaimed himself, God.
    • Legalism often leads to frustration turning to rage.
      • Rule-keeping above love fuels misguided passion.
      • Plotting to kill for Christ “doing good.”

ESV  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 And if I have aprophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, bso as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 aIf I give away all I have, and bif I deliver up my body to be burned,1 but have not love, I gain nothing. 

Christ’ miracle is irrefutable as is Christ’s interpretation of the Law.

Irrefutable. Christ being Messiah and God is also irrefutable. 

 “So where does this leave things?”

You either soften, bow down and worship him or harden, gather to conspire to kill him.

No matter how compelling Christ’ truly is, a dead heart will not believe!

Which direction will you go with Christ the irrefutable Creator and Savior? 


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