Read thru the New Testament 2018
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids
Bible Reading: Matthew 12:1-21
Here in Matthew, Jesus refers to Hosea 6:6. In that passage, God tells the people of Israel that their love for Him lasts about as long as the dew lasts in the morning…it is very short-lived. It is also a suggestion that other things have a negative affect on their love for Him. Just as the sun melts away the dew…there are external factors that melt away, diminish their love for God. It takes virtually nothing…and they have forsaken their love for Him and are in love with something else. But they appear to be offended and say that they do love Him. Then point to all the sacrifices that they make as evidence. God replies that they are merely going through the motions of religion when they offer sacrifices, but they don’t really love Him. He would rather have a people that continuously loves Him…than all of their sacrifices put together. He would rather have their hearts…than their sacrifices. This religious behavior is what their relationship with God had sunk to over the years. It can be done without the slightest love for God, whatsoever. It’s just a matter of routine…not relationship. God has no interest in this kind of pretentious religion. He wants a personal relationship.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Do you like basketball? Who would you say is the greatest player of all-time? Hmmmm…Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Steph Curry, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain. The list can get pretty long and people disagree on just who the greatest player is. The player that you choose is a matter of your own opinion.
But there is one thing that is not a matter of opinion…it is just simple fact. That would be the records that have been set. Look at the lists below of some of the amazing basketball shooting records…
Free Throw Shooting: NBA Career Average Record
Peja Stojakovich 89.48%
Rick Barry 89.98%
Stephen Curry 90% (still playing)
Mark Price 90.39%
Steve Nash 90.43%.
World Records for Free Throws: the Most Made in…
a row 5,221 Ted St. Martin (4/28/96)
24 hours 20,371 Fred L. Newman (9/29-30/90)
1 hour 2,371 Bob Fisher (12/17/11)
10 minutes (1 ball & 1 rebounder) 298 James O’Donnell (6/25/06)
10 minutes (2 balls & 2 rebounders) 338 Fred L. Newman (12/17/86)
1 minute (balls & rebounders unlimited) 50 Bob J. Fisher 1/9/10)
1 minute (using alternating hands) 42 Bob Fisher (7/10/10)
a row (blindfolded) 88 Fred L. Newman (2/5/78)
1 minute (blindfolded) 17 Ed Palubinskas (7/10)
Most 3-point shots made in a row… 209 Fred L. Newman (8/28/07).
Those are some amazing records. But there is one thing that they all have in common. The shot had been practiced and practiced and practiced…over and over and over, again. In fact, it had been practiced so many times that the player could do so without even thinking about it. It was done by muscle memory. The shooter’s body did the exact same thing that it had done hundreds, if not thousands of times, before. Someone has said, “Practice makes perfect.” For instance, Steph Curry wants to make every shot he attempts in a game, to be perfect…so, he practices shooting all year long. He makes 500 shots per day in the summer and 200 to 350 shots per day during the season. He wants his shooting in the game to be perfect without even having to think about it…so he practices shooting all the time.
In basketball, being able to do the same thing over and over again without having to think about it can be a very good thing. But when it comes to God…it’s not such a good thing.
One day, Jesus healed a man’s hand. The problem was that He did it on the Sabbath (Saturday). That was the day that the Jews had their worship service. According to God’s Law, the 10 Commandments, they were to keep that day as a special day. No work was to be done on that day. God had given the Jews the 10 Commandments, or Law, to teach them how to live according to His will, which was based on His nature, what He was like. One of the 10 Commandments said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
The Jews tried to live by these Laws. But over time, they argued about how to do so. Eventually, they made up 613 laws of their own that determined how they thought they were supposed to keep the 10 Commandments of God. 39 of these laws dealt with what could and could not be done on the Sabbath. They determined exactly what it meant to “work” on the Sabbath. For instance, you could not…
- plant or harvest crops
- grind, sift, or kneed bread
- cut the wool off of a sheep
- dye, spin, or weave wool
- start or put out a fire
- carry an object beyond a certain distance.
They had a law for everything. So, when Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath…they said that He was breaking the law. At first, we might be concerned that Jesus was breaking the law. But we have to remember that Jesus was not breaking God’s Law (the 10 Commandments), but He was breaking the law that men had made (the 613 laws). So, He corrected them by telling them two things.
- One, He said that He was “Lord of the Sabbath”. In other words, He was the boss, not them, over what could and could not be done on the Sabbath. They didn’t like that a bit. Because they knew that only God was really the “Lord of the Sabbath” and that only He could say what the Law meant…they probably thought, “Who does He think He is, anyway, God?” And even though they didn’t realize it, they had answered their own question correctly. Yes, He is God. Jesus is God. So, He is the One Who decides what can and cannot be done on the Sabbath. And if He said that it was okay to heal the man on the Sabbath, then it was okay.
- The second thing that He told them was that they had really gotten out of control with all of their 613 laws. By doing so, they had completely missed the purpose of God’s Law. The purpose wasn’t to make men perfect by their perfectly keeping the Law. The purpose of the Law was to reveal that God was perfect. And in doing so…it also revealed just how imperfect they were. No matter how hard they tried…they could never keep God’s Law perfectly. And this very fact revealed just how much they really needed Him. But they just kept on trying to keep God’s Law perfectly. They thought that if they just did the same thing, over and over and over, again…that would mean that they knew God and were being obedient to Him. But Jesus told them that God wasn’t interested in their doing something over and over and over, again, without thinking about it (like a muscle memory). That was just religion. What God wanted was for them to come to Him in love and have a personal relationship with Him. It was obvious that they didn’t have this kind of a relationship with God because if they had truly kept His Law then they would be more like Him. And God is compassionate and loving. But they had become so determined to keep their laws…that doing so had become more important than the man that Jesus had healed. They had no compassion towards this man…like Jesus did. They were more concerned about keeping their laws…than seeing the needs of this man met. That’s not like God…at all! God is love.
Listen carefully…you and I should keep the 10 Commandments. Not in an attempt to be perfect…but, because we know that when we do so we are living in a way that is in keeping with God’s nature. And, by doing so we are showing Him that we love Him. God doesn’t want us to just go through the motions of keeping laws without thinking…that is nothing more than religion. Instead, He wants us to have a loving relationship with Him. Now, go live for Jesus!
Love you more than bunches and bunches,