On today’s Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank continues working his way through the Gospel of Matthew. Last time Hank began chapter 12, reading the account of the Pharisees accusing Jesus’ disciples of violating the Sabbath by picking heads of wheat to feed their hunger. Jesus countered them by pointing out Israel’s appointed King eating the showbread of the tabernacle, demonstrating that even the ceremonial laws were not unconditional in their application. Following this encounter, Jesus went into their synagogue, where He encountered a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees once again attempted to trap Jesus. “Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ He said to them, ‘If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath’” (Matthew 12:10-12 NIV). Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this passage is that Jesus who is the Lord of the Sabbath was also the fulfillment of the Sabbath and thus quite obviously the shadow had been supplanted by the Substance of the Savior.  In Genesis, the Sabbath had been a celebration of God’s completed work of creation. After the Exodus, the Sabbath had expanded to a celebration of God’s deliverance from Egypt. And now with the Advent of Jesus, the greatest danger lay in a failure to recognize that Jesus was the substance that fulfilled the symbol of the Sabbath—a fact that he made perfectly plain by doing what no one else could do—by healing the withered hand of a man in plain view of His detractors.

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