Matthew 12:9-14 Works Of Mercy On The Sabbath.
With this passage Matthew continued on to show that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. David and his men eating the showbread is an example of a work of necessity, as was the ministerial work of the priests on the Sabbath day. Then finally the previous passage ended with the emphasis on mercy being greater than the sacrifices. To this end Matthew now gives an example of such a work – the healing of a man with a withered hand. This clearly could have waited till the next day – it was not a matter of life and death. However, as was his custom early on, Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath (v. 9), and it was important for Jesus to stress that the Sabbath was made for doing works of mercy (v. 10). As Jesus pointed out, those trying to trap him would certainly lift one of their sheep out of a pit if they fell into one, whether for financial or compassionate reasons (v. 11). How much more should Jesus not deliver one of his sheep, which he did when he spoke the word (vv. 12-13)? However, the Pharisees, being strict Sabbatarians, saw this as grounds for seeking his destruction (v. 14).