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A Harmony of the Gospels


DISCOURSE  ON  "THE  SON"      (John 5:9-47)

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John 5:9-17
     (9)  ... And that day was the Sabbath.  (10)  The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."
     (11)  He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"
     (12)  Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?"  (13)  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.  (14)  Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
     (15)  The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
     (16)  Honor the Father and the Son
For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.  (17)  But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."

That day
The man at the pool of Bethesda healed - Lesson 6.

The Sabbath

The story of creation (Genesis 1:1-2:3),  closes with an account of God’s hallowing of  the seventh day,  because on it He rested from His creative labors.

There is no express mention of the Sabbath before Exodus 16:21-30. In the wilderness of Sin, before the Israelites reached Mount Sinai,  God gave them manna,  a double supply being given on the sixth day of the week,  in order that the seventh day might be kept as a day of rest from labor. 

Shortly afterward the Ten Commandments were given by Jehovah at Sinai  (Exodus 20:17; 34:1-5):

1. The fourth commandment enjoined Israel to observe the seventh day as a holy day on which man or beast should do no work.  Everyone,  including even the stranger within the gates,  was to desist from all work and to keep the day holy.
2. The reason given is that Jehovah rested on the seventh day and blessed and hallowed it.
3. It is clear that God intended the day to be a blessing to man, both physically and spiritually.
4. It was to be kept a holy convocation for the worship of the Lord (Leviticus 23:3),  and was to remind the Israelites that God had sanctified them  (Exodus 31:13).
5.  Forty years later,  Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s command to observe the Sabbath and told them that they were under special obligation to keep it because God had delivered them from bondage in Egypt  (Deuteronomy 5:15).

The sanctity of the Sabbath is shown by:

1. The offering upon it of two lambs,  while only one was sacrificed on the other days of the week
(Num. 28:9,19).
2. The 12 loaves of showbread were also presented on that day (Lev. 24:5-9).
3. A willful Sabbath-breaker was put to death  (Num. 15:32-36).
4. The Israelite could not even light a fire in his home on the Sabbath.

With the development of the synagogue during the Exile  (Babylon took Israel captive),  the Sabbath became a day for worship and the study of the Law,  as well as a day of rest.

During the period between Ezra and the Christian era the scribes formulated innumerable legal restrictions for the conduct of life under the law:

1. Two whole treatises in the Talmud are devoted to the details of  Sabbath observance.
2. One of these,  the “Shabbath,” enumerates the following 39 principal classes of prohibited actions:
sowing washing wool salting a deer
plowing beating wool preparing its hide
reaping dyeing wool scraping off its hair
cleansing spinning wool cutting it up
grinding making a wrap building
kneading sewing two stitches pulling down
sifting tearing two stitches extinguishing fire
making a knot catching a deer lighting a fire
untying a knot killing a deer beating with a hammer
shearing wool skinning a deer writing two letters
  blotting out for the purpose of writing two letters
carrying from one property to another
3. Each of these chief enactments was further discussed and elaborated, so that actually there were several hundred things a conscientious law-abiding Jew could not do on the Sabbath.
For example:
A. The prohibition about tying a knot was much too general, and so it became necessary to state what kinds of knots were prohibited and what kind of knot was ok.  It was accordingly laid down that allowable knots were those that could be untied with one hand.
A woman could tie up her undergarment, and the strings of her cap.
Those of her girdle, the straps of her shoes and sandals, of skins of wine and oil, of a pot with meat.
She could tie a pail over the well with a girdle, but not with a rope.
B. The prohibition regarding writing on the Sabbath was further defined as follows:
“He who writes two letters with his right or his left hand, whether of one kind or of two kinds, as also if they are written with different ink or are of different languages, is guilty.
He even who should from forgetfulness write two letters is guilty, whether he has written them with ink or with paint, red chalk, India rubber, vitriol, or anything that makes permanent marks.
Also he who writes on two walls which form an angle, or on the two tablets of his account-book, so that they can be read together is guilty.
He who writes upon his body is guilty. If any one writes with dark fluid, with fruit juice, or in the dust on the road, in sand, or in anything in which writing does not remain, he is free."

Jesus had things like this in mind when He said, “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers” (Luke 11:46).

Jesus came into conflict with the religious leaders of the Jews especially on two points:

1. His claim to be the Messiah
2. On the matter of Sabbath observance

The Rabbis regarded the Sabbath as an end in itself,

whereas Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit, and that man’s needs must take precedence over the law of the Sabbath
(Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 6:1-11; John 5:1-18).

Who said...take up your bed and walk?

When the man referred them to  “Him that had made him whole”  as his authority,  the argument was resistless.
Yet they ingeniously parried the thrust,  asking him,  not who had  “made him whole” – that would have condemned themselves and defeated their purpose – but who had bidden “take up his bed and walk,”  in other words,  who had dared to order a breach of the Sabbath?

Jesus had withdrawn

Some think the words indicate that Jesus withdrew on seeing a multitude in the place, i.e. raising a tumult,  because of the man’s carrying his bed.  Jesus had not yet finished His work in dealing with this man,  as evidenced in the next verse.

Sin no more

meeketi hamartane no longer continue in sin

Jesus gave him two proofs of the perfection of His knowledge:

He showed him that He knew the SECRET OF THE PAST “sin no more:”
thereby intimating that his former sins were the cause of his long affliction.
He showed him that He knew the SECRET OF THE FUTURE “lest a worse thing come unto thee:”
showing him that if his iniquity be repeated or continued, his punishment would be increased.

The man departed  and told the Jews

It is difficult to understand the motive of  the man in conveying this information to the Jews,  since he knew the hostile spirit in which they regarded the cure.
He certainly is not ungrateful,  for he still speaks of  Jesus as having cured him,  thus pointing to the power of the miracle,  not to the  “sin”  of breaking the Sabbath.  However,  opinion is split as to the motive of the man:

1. Some think that the man did indeed continue in his sin, and reported Jesus to the Jews out of malice.
2. Others say that he may have wished to leave the responsibility of his illegal act on the Sabbath with One who had power to answer for it.
3. And still others suppose that he acted in obedience to the instructions of those whom,  as a Jew,  he felt bound to obey.

My Father ... and I have been working

That is to say, the rest of God after the creation, which the Sabbath represents outwardly, and which I am come to realize,  is not a state of inaction,  but of activity,

and man’s true rest is not a rest  FROM  human earthly labor,
but a rest  FOR  divine heavenly labor.
Thus the merely negative,  traditional,  observance of the Sabbath is placed in sharp contrast with the positive,  final,  fulfillment of spiritual service,  for which it was a preparation.
The works of Christ did not violate the Law,  while they brought out the truth to which that tended.  By the “work” of the Father we must understand at once the maintenance of the material creation and the redemption and restoration of all things.

The question of the action of God upon the Sabbath was much debated in the Jewish schools.
The question was:

“Why does not God,” said a caviler, “keep the Sabbath?”

The answer was:

““May not a man wander through his own house on the Sabbath?  The house of God is the whole realm above and the whole realm below”
(Ref. Talmud ‘Shem. R.’ 30). Compare Philo, (Ref. ‘Leg. Alleg.’ I. Page 46 M).

The Nature and Prerogatives of the Son

John 5:18-23
     (18)  Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.  (19)  Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  (20)  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  (21)  For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.  (22)  For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,  (23)  that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

This section, the first part of the comprehensive answer of the Lord to the Jews, deals with His nature and prerogatives in a two-fold division:

vv 19-23 In relation to the Father
vv 24-29 In relation to men

His Nature in relation to the Father

The action and honor of the Son are coincident with the action and honor of the Father.
It is through the action of the Son that we see the action of the Father,
and it is by honoring the Son that we honor the Father.

The exposition of these thoughts is made in a series of statements bound together by  “for”  4 times -

The Son does nothing self-determined of Himself, which would be impossible :
(v. 19b) FOR His action is absolutely coincident in range with that of the Father
And this can be:
(v. 20) FOR His Father shows Him His widening counsels, that extend to the exhibition of greater works than healing
(v. 21) FOR It is the prerogative of the Son to give life to whomsoever He will .
As is shown to be the case
(v. 22) FOR All judgment is given to Him, and men can see that He exerts this power

Hence it follows that men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father (v. 23).

Whatever He  (the Father)  does, so does the Son

In other words,  “If I have broken the Sabbath,  so has God also;  for I can do nothing but what I see Him doing.
He is ever  GOVERNING  and  PRESERVING;   I am ever employed in SAVING.”

The Father loves the Son and God loves us because we are His

Pateer filei ton Huion Father loves the Son

To love is expressed by two words in the New Testament: “phileo” and “agapao.”

Agapao Indicates reasoning, discriminating attachment, founded in the conviction that its object is
Worthy of esteem, or entitled to it on account of benefits bestowed.
Phileo Represents a warmer, more instinctive sentiment, more closely allied to feeling, and implying
More passion.

Hence  “agapao”  is represented by the Latin  “diligo,”  the fundamental idea of which is  “selection,”  the deliberate choice of one out of a number,  on sufficient grounds,  as an object of regard.
"Agapao" is the verb,  "agape"  is the noun.


“Phileo” emphasizes the  AFFECTIONATE  element of love (which is here used in the relation between the Father and the Son)
“Agapao” emphasizes the  INTELLIGENT  element of love  

To whom He will

Here Jesus points out His sovereign power and independence;
He gives life according to  His own will  – not being obliged to supplicate for the power by which it was done,  as the prophets did;  His own will being absolute and sufficient in every case.  See John 5:24

That all should honor the Son

If then the Son is to be honored,  EVEN  as the Father is honored,

then the Son must be God,
as receiving that worship that belongs to God alone.

To worship any creature is idolatry:  Christ is to be honored even as the Father is honored; 

therefore Christ is not a  CREATURE,
consequently He must be the CREATOR.

His Nature in relation to men

John 5:24-30
     (24) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  (25)  Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  (26)  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,  (27)  and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.  (28)  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  (29)  and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.  (30)  I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

In these verses we pass from the consideration of the relation of the Son to the Father
to that of the  RELATION  OF  CHRIST  TO MEN.
The conception of the  “greater works”  of the Son,  the quickening and the judgment of men is defined more exactly in connection with the Son as revealed by the Incarnation.
At the same time,  though the oblique form is generally preserved,  the work and the mission of Christ are referred to directly  (MY word,  Him that sent ME – v. 24).

In verse 24 The general ideas of all life and all judgment in connection with the  Son  are restated
(as first mentioned in vv. 21,22)
In verses 25,26 They are applied to the Present Order
In verses 28,29 They are applied to the Future Order

The dead will hear the Voice

Three kinds of death are mentioned in the Scriptures:

1. Natural  Death The separation of the body from the soul
2. Spiritual  Death The separation the soul of man from God
3. Eternal  Death The separation of the body and soul of man from God forever

Answerable to these three kinds of death, there is a Threefold Life:

1. Natural  Life The union of body and soul
2. Spiritual  Life The union of the soul of man with God
3. Eternal  Life The union of the body and soul of man with God forever

Of the DEAD,  Jesus says
 “the hour is coming,  and now is,  when they shall hear the voice of the Son of God,  and LIVE.”

The hour is COMING
when all that sleep in the dust shall awake at the voice of the Son of man, and come to Judgment.

Again, the hours is COMING
when some of those who have died a Natural death shall hear the voice of the Son of God and live again here.
It is likely that He had not yet raised any from the dead;  and He refers to those whom He intended to raise.

Lastly,  the hour NOW IS
when many,  who are dead in trespasses and sins,  shall hear the voice (Word) of the Son of God,  believe,  and receive spiritual life through Him.

So not marvel at this

The Father had given Him:


In this verse  (v. 28)  He anticipates an objection,  as if they had said:  “This cannot be:  thou art a man – thou wast born among us.”
Jesus answers:  “Don’t marvel at this,  because I am a man – for greater things than these shall be done by me:
He who now addresses you,  though disguised under the FORM of a man,  shall appear in the great day to be the Judge of the quick and dead:  by His almighty power,  He shall raise all the dead;  and,  by His unerring wisdom and justice,  shall adjudge the wicked to hell,  and the righteous to heaven.

I can of Myself do nothing

This verse forms a transition from the first section of the discourse (vv. 19-29) to the second section (vv. 31-47).

At the same time it marks the passage from:

The indirect revelation of Christ (the Son) “The Son can do nothing of Himself”

- To -

The personal revelation of Christ ( I ) “I can of mine own self do nothing”

I seek ... the will of the Father

The two conditions of absolute justice,  as pointed out in this verse are:

Negative Absence of all respect of  self    (“not mine own will”)
Positive Devotion to the will of the Father

The Witness to the Son

John 5:31-47
      (31) "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.  (32)  There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.  (33)  You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.  (34)  Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.  (35)  He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.  (36)  But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish -- the very works that I do -- bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.  (37)  And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.  (38)  But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.  (39)  You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  (40)  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
     (41)  "I do not receive honor from men.  (42)  But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.  (43)  I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.  (44)  How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?  (45)  Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you -- Moses, in whom you trust.  (46)  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.  (47)  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?

This second main division of the discourse consists, like the first, of two parts:

(vv 31-40) The witness to the Son is first laid open
(vv. 41-47) The rejection of the witness

The witness to the Son is first laid open  (vv 31-40).

Christ appeals to a witness separate from His own,  and yet such that He has immediate Knowledge of its truth. Such witness is partly:

(vv. 31-35) PROVISIONAL John the Baptist is the type
(vv. 36-40) FINAL His works lead up to the witness of the Father

If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true

The words anticipate an objection,  and define the amount of truth that it contains.
According to legal usage the testimony of a witness was not received in his own case.
This principle the Jews might urge against Christ;  and He acknowledges the deeper meaning that lay beneath it:
that He had just stated twice that He could do nothing of Himself.

You have sent to John

He was not without human testimony of the most respectable kind:  “Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness….”
There are several circumstances in John’s character that render his testimony unexceptionable:

1. The very enemies of Christ,  as a very holy and extraordinary man,  consult John.
2. John is perfectly free from all self-interest,  having declined making the least advantage by his own reputation.
3. John is sincere,  undaunted,  and so averse from all kinds of  flattery that he reproves Herod at the hazard of his liberty and life.
4. John was so far from being solicited by Christ to give his testimony that he had not even seen him when he first gave it.

I do not receive testimony from man

This connects with verse 36   “…the works which the Father has given me….bear witness of me….”

That you may be saved

They believed John to be a prophet – a prophet cannot lie:
he bore testimony that Jesus was the Lamb of God,  that takes away the sin of the world (1:29);
therefore,  that they might be saved by believing in Him through the testimony of John,  Jesus appealed to John.

You search the Scriptures

You search”  is from the Greek word  “ereunate”  which is in the indicative mood,  and should be translated
 “you do search”  or  “you are searching.”
Perhaps the Scriptures were never more diligently searched by the Jews than at that very time:

1st Because they were in expectation of the immediate appearing of the Messiah.
2nd Because they wished to find out allegories in them (Ref. See Philo).
3rd Because they found these Scriptures to contain the promise of an eternal life.

The Greek verb  “ereunao”  is a compound verb,  “and is,”  says Chrysostom,  “a metaphor taken from those who dig deep,  and search for metals in the bowels of the earth.  They look for the bed where the metal lies,  and break every clod,  and sift and examine the whole,  in order to discover the ore.”

It was in this way that the Jews were in the habit of searching and  “sifting through”  the Scriptures,  looking for the precious  “ore”  of information concerning the coming Messiah.
It is these very Scriptures that Jesus said testify of Him,
and there follows the condemnation: YE WILL NOT COME TO ME!

The rejection of the witness  (vv. 41-47)

In this section Jesus, starting from the fact of His hearers'  lack of will to believe,  unfolds:

(vv. 41-44) The CAUSE of their rejection of  Himself
(vv. 45-47) The END of their rejection of  Himself

How can you believe

The grand obstacle to the salvation of the scribes and Pharisees was their Pride, Vanity, and Self-love.
They lived on each other’s praise.
If they had acknowledged Jesus as the only teacher,  they must have given up the good opinion of the multitude;
and they chose rather to lose their souls than to forfeit their reputation among men!

Do not think that I shall accuse you

They had accused Him with a breach of the Sabbath,  that accusation He had proved to be false:
He could,  in return,  accuse them,  and substitute the accusation,  with the breach of the whole law;
but this He did not need to do,  for  “Moses, in whom ye trust”  is the accuser.
They read his law, acknowledged they should obey it,  and yet break it both in the letter and in the spirit.
That law,  therefore,  accused and condemned them.

There was a maxim among the Jews that none could accuse them but Moses.

He wrote about Me

Moses pointed out the Messiah in a multitude of

(2) FIGURES   

All these were well-defined,  though shadowy,  representations of the birth,  life,  sufferings,  death,  and resurrection of the Savior of the world.
Added to this is the fact that Moses had given certain marks to distinguish the FALSE from the TRUE prophet (Deuteronomy 13:1-3; 18:22) which,  if applied to Jesus,  prove that He was not a false, but a true prophet of the Most High God.


1. vv 19, 30 Can do nothing of Himself
2. v 19 Does what He sees the Father do
3. vv 22, 27 Has all Judgment
4. v 24 Gives Life
5. v 26 Has Life in Himself
6. v 30 His Judgment is Righteous
7. vv 31-37 Does not bear witness of Himself

4 Witnesses of Jesus

1. v 33 John the Baptist
2. v 36 His Works
3. v 37 The Father
4. v 39 The Scriptures


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Matthew 12:1-8
(1)  At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath.  And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.  (2 ) And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!"
(3)  But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:  (4)  how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?  (5)  Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?
(6)  Yet I say to you that in this place there is one greater than the temple.  (7)  But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless.  (8)  For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
Mark 2:23-28
(23) Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.  (24)  And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"
(25)  But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:  (26)  how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?"
(27)  And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  (28)  Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."
Luke 6:1-5
(1) Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands.  (2)  And some of the Pharisees said to them, "Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?"
(3)  But Jesus answering them said, "Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:  (4 ) how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?
(5)  And He said to them, "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."

The Second Sabbath after the Feast


Feast of Unleavened Bread

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun Mon
1st Sabbath 2nd Sabbath       Sabbath   Sabbath
14rh Nissan 15th Nissan       7th day of regular week   7th day of the Feast

Your disciples are doing what is not lawful

On any ordinary day this would have been lawful;  but on the Sabbath it involved, according to the rabbinic statures, at leas two sins.

2 Unlawful acts

1. PICKING  CORN -  identified as  "reaping"  by the Pharisees
It was perfectly lawful for persons when hungry to help themselves to as much of their neighbor’s growing grain as they wished for food. They were not allowed to cut any,  but must simply gather what was needed with the hand.
Deut 23:25
When you come into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor's standing grain.
The Pharisees did not complain that the corn was plucked,  but that it was gathered on the Sabbath.
This ancient freedom of a handful of grain for a hungry traveler was still in existence in Palestine in 1800AD.
This  “corn”  was actually wheat.  The heads roasted over fire constituted the  “parched corn”  of the Old Testament.
2. RUBBING  THEM  IN  THEIR  HANDS - identified as  "sifting, grinding, or fanning"  by the Pharisees

The Talmud says:
 “In case a woman rolls wheat to remove the husks, it is considered as sifting; if she rubs the heads of wheat, it is regarded as threshing; if she cleans off the side-adherences, it is sifting out fruit; if she bruises the ears, it is grinding; if she throws them up in her hand, it is winnowing.”

Have you not read what David did

No example could be more appropriate than this. The man after God’s own heart, of whom the Jews ever boasted, when suffering in God’s cause and straitened for provisions,  asked and obtained from the high priest what, according to the law,  it was illegal for any one save the priests to touch.

The Priests profane the Sabbath and are blameless

Referring to doing servile work.

The double offerings required on the Sabbath day (Num. 28:9) could not be presented,
and the new-baked showbread* (Lev. 24:5; 1 Chron. 9:32)  could not be prepared and presented every Sabbath morning, without a good deal of servile work on the part of the priests;
not to speak of circumcision,  which,  when the child’s 8th day happened to fall on a Sabbath,  had to be performed by the priests on that day.

* The showbread was the loaves that were set forth before the Lord.
The Jews called them the  “loaves of the face,” i.e.,  “of the presence of God.”
The bread was made of the finest wheaten flour that had been passed through eleven sieves.
There were 12 loaves, or cakes,  according to the number of tribes,  arranged in two piles of six each.
Each cake was made of about five pints of wheat.
They were anointed in the middle with oil, in the form of a cross.
The renewal of the showbread was the first of the priestly functions on the commencement of the Sabbath.
The bread that was taken off  was deposited on the golden table in the porch of the sanctuary, and distributed among the outgoing and incoming courses of priests.
It was eaten during the Sabbath,  and in the temple itself,  but only by such priests as were Levitically pure.
When David came running from Saul, this was the bread that David ate.

There are four ways in which positive laws may cease to oblige:

1. By the natural law of NECESSITY
2. By a particular law that is SUPERIOR
3. By the law of CHARITY and MERCY

God ordained the Sabbath not only to be a type of that  “rest which remains”  for the people of God,  but to be also a means of promoting the welfare of men in general.  God prohibited work on the Sabbath day,  lest their masters should oppress servants,  that the laboring beasts might have necessary rest,  and that men might have a proper opportunity to attend upon His ordinances.

Lord of  the Sabbath

Kurios supreme in authority

This is the same word used by Jesus in His temptation:

Matt 4:7 "It is written again,  'You shall not tempt the LORD  (Kurios) your God.'
Matt 4:10 "Away with you, Satan! For it is written,  'You shall worship the LORD  (Kurios)  your God,  and Him only you shall serve.'"

It is the same word used in the LXX for Yahweh

Our English versions distinguish the 3 main uses of the term thus:

(1) "LORD" represents the Hebrew Yahweh,
Septuagint  Kurios,  except where 'Adhonay or 'Adhon is combined with Yahweh ( = "Lord God")
(2) "Lord" corresponds to 'Adhonay, 'Adhon, Mare',
also Greek  Kurios, and Despotes,  for which the American Standard Revised Version has always "Master"  in either the text or the margin.
(3) "Lord" ("lord") translates all the remaining 8 Hebrew words and the Greek words except Despotes. It is thus seen that Kurios corresponds to all three forms of writing the English term
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)
Yahweh (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:
From Strong's OT:3068
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Jehovah,  the proper name of the God of the Hebrews,  which should always have been retained in that form, but has almost invariably been translated in the English Bible by LORD (and printed thus in small capitals),  after the example of the Septuagint (Kurios) and Vulgate (Dominus).
(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

I desire mercy and not sacrifice

This is quoted from Hosea 6:6.
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings
.   (NKJV)

Ceremonial duties must give way to moral,  and the natural,  royal law of love and self-preservation must take place of ritual observances.  It was used before, Matthew 9:13,  in vindication of mercy to the souls of men;  here,  of mercy to their bodies
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


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Mathew 12:9-14
(9) Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue.  (10)  And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand.
And they asked Him, saying,  "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" -- that they might accuse Him.
(11)  Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?  (12)  Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." 
(13)  Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 
(14)  Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Mark 3:1-6
(1) And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
(2)  So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 
(3)  And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward." 
(4)  Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. 
(5)  And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 
(6) Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Luke 6:6-11
(6) Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. 
(7)  So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. 
(8)  But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, "Arise and stand here." And he arose and stood. 
(9)  Then Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?" 
(10)  And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 
(11)  But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The Scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely

There were now come to the length of dogging His steps, to collect materials for a charge of impiety against Him.

Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?

It was a cannon among the Jews:  “We must take a tender care of the goods of an Israelite.”  Hence:

1. “If a beast fall into a ditch,  or into a pool of water,  let (the owner) bring him food in that place if he can;  but,  if he cannot,  let him bring clothes and litter, and bear up the beast;  whence,  ire he can come up, l et him come up”
2. “If a beast or its foal fall into a ditch on a holy day,” R. Lazar said, “Let him lift up the former to kill him, and let him not kill him; but let him kill the beast; but give fodder to the other (foal), lest he die in that place.”
3. R. Joshua said,  “Let him lift up the former with the intention of killing him,  although he kill him not;  let him lift up the other also,  although it be not in his mind to kill him.”
To these rules Jesus seems here very properly to appeal.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

The miracle only enraged the Pharisees,  who immediately plotted  (along with the Herodians, Mark 3:6)  to destroy him.  Thus in Galilee,  as recently in Jerusalem (John 5:18),  murderous hatred was taking definite form.  Men who called healing a Sabbath violation felt no qualms about plotting murder.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

The Herodians

Herodian rulers served as the agents of Rome in various sections of the Palestinian regions from 37 B.C. to A.D. 92/93. This family dynasty, which spans more than a century and a quarter, begins with Herod the Great and includes members of the larger family down to Herod Agrippa II.
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

Jews of influence and standing who were favorable toward Greek customs and Roman law in New Testament times.

Although the Herodians should not be equated with the SADDUCEES, they sided with the Sadducees in their pro-Roman sympathies
They opposed the PHARISEES, who were anti-Roman.
The Herodians joined forces with the Pharisees, however, in their opposition to Jesus.
In Galilee,  the Herodians and the Pharisees plotted against Jesus' life (Mark 3:6).
At Jerusalem, the Herodians and the Pharisees again joined forces, seeking to trap Jesus on the issue of paying tribute to Caesar (Matt 22:16; Mark 12:13).
Jesus warned his disciples, "Take heed, beware of the leaven [evil influence] of the Pharisees and...of Herod" (Mark 8:15)
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


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Matthew 10:1-4
(1) And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 
(2)  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;  (3 ) Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;  (4)  Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
Mark 3:13-19
(13) And He went up on the mountain
and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 
(14)  Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,  (15)  and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 
(16)  Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter;  (17)  James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, "Sons of Thunder";  (18)  Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite;  (19)  and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.
Luke 6:12-16
(12) Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 
(13)  And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself;
and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 
(14)  Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;  (15)  Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot;  (16)  Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.


After one of His days of loving and ceaseless toil,  Jesus,  as was His wont,  found rest and peace in prayer. “He went out into a mountain” – or,  as it should rather be rendered, into THE mountain – “to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”  The scene of this lonely vigil,  and of the Sermon on the Mount,  was in all probability the singular elevation known at this day as the  Kurn Hattin,  or  “Horns of Hattin.”  It is a hill with a summit that closely resembles an oriental saddle with its two high peaks.  On the west it rises very little above the level of a broad and undulating plain;  on the east it sinks precipitately towards a plateau,  on which lies,  immediately beneath the cliffs,  the village of Hattin;  and from this plateau the traveler descends through a wild and tropic gorge to the shining levels of the Lake of Galilee.  It is the only conspicuous hill on the western side of the lake,  and it is singularly adapted by its conformation.

It was at dawn of day,  and before the crowd had assembled,  that Jesus summoned into His presence the disciples who had gradually gathered around Him.  Now the hour was come,  and out of the wider band of general followers He made the final and special choice of His twelve Apostles.

(Life of Christ by Dr. Frederic W. Farrar Copyright: 1949)


Simon and Andrew the sons of Jonas

From Bethsaida

James and John the sons of Zebedee (or Zabdia)

Matthew (Levi) son of Alphaeus*

From Cana or Capernaum

James the Less and Jude
(Lebbaeus, or Thaddaeus)
sons of Alphaeus*
      * They were probably all three Brothers.
         (Probably disowned because Matthew Was a tax-collector.)

Nathanael (Bartholomew) From Cana


From Galilee

Simon Zelotes  

Judas Iscariot  

From Kerioth in Judah

If there were any ground for believing the tradition that says that Mary,  the wife of Alphaeus,  was a younger sister of the Virgin,  then these brothers would be first cousins of Jesus.

A Comparison of the Four Listings of the Twelve

  Matthew 10:2-4
Mark 3:16-19
Luke 6:14-16
Acts 1:13
1. Simon Simon Simon Peter
2. Andrew James Andrew James
3. James John James John
4. John Andrew John Andrew
5. Philip Philip Philip Philip
6. Bartholomew Bartholomew Bartholomew Thomas
7. Thomas Matthew Matthew Bartholomew
8. Matthew Thomas Thomas Matthew
9. James of Alphaeus James of Alphaeus James of Alphaeus James of Alphaeus
10. Lebbaeus Thaddaeus Simon the Zealot Simon the Zealot
11. Simon the Canaanite Simon the Canaanite Jude of James Jude of James
12. Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot  

The Four-Fold Calling

1. Wanted the disciples to be with Him
2. Called them to Preach
3. Called them to Heal
4. Called them to cast out devils


(End of Lesson Seven)



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