Matthew 12 – Jesus the Lord of the Sabbath Reformation of the Roman Army

It’s clear that the Jews didn’t like Jesus because Jesus cared for people, not old traditions. 

The Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin wouldn’t hesitate to lock someone up if they could.  It didn’t matter if what they did was legal or not, if they could lock you up it made them happy, as you will see below.

That’s how many cops and most democrats are now days.  At one time laws were made to protect the people, now days are made to control the people.  And if Obama would have declared Martial Law it’s would have gotten real bad. 

The good news is that we’re going to heaven and the democrats, Catholics and democrats are going to hell.  When I say it’is good they are going to hell I don’t mean that I wish them all to go there, I prefer them repent (I pray for them) because God didn’t make them that way.

Anyway, the Jews followed a tradition for everything, but the Roman’s did things their way.  Let’s take a quick look at how they…

Matthew 12
Jesus the Lord of the Sabbath

1 At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were a hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.

The Talmud is the Jewish Bible and it denies Jesus Christ.
An authoritative collection of exegetical material embodying the oral tradition of Jewish law and forming the first part of the Talmud.

 “That which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath” – according to Jewish tradition (in the Mishnah), harvesting (which is what Jesus’ disciples technically were doing) was forbidden on the Sabbath, see Ex 34:21.

3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was a hungred, and they that were with him;

“What David did” – the relationship between the Old Testament incident and the apparent infringement of the Sabbath by the disciples lies in the fact that on both occasions godly men did something forbidden.  Since, however, it is always “lawful” to do good and to save life (even on the Sabbath), both David and the disciples were within the spirit of the law (see Is 58:6-7; Lk 6:6-11, 13:10-17, 14:1-6).

4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

“Shewbread” – each Sabbath, 12 fresh loaves of bread were to be set on a table in the holy place (Ex 25:30; Lev 24:5-9).

5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

“Profane the Sabbath” – by doing work associated with the sacrifices.

6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

Relief from Titus’ Arch, Rome, depicting Roman soldiers carrying in triumph the Table of Showbread and the Silver Trumpets from the Temple.
The legs of the table were connected, about the middle, by a golden plate, which was surrounded by a “crown”, or wreath, while another wreath ran round the top of the table.

7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.

9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:

10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

“Heal on the Sabbath” – the rabbis prohibited healing on the Sabbath, unless it was feared the victim would die before the next day.  Obviously the man with the withered hand was in no danger of this.

11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.

13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

16 And charged them that they should not make him known:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

12:18-21 – another fulfillment passage.  This one is from Isaiah’s first servant song (42:1-4) and is the longest Old Testament quotation in Matthew’s Gospel. It summarizes the quiet ministry of the Lord’s servant, who will bring justice and hope to the nations.

19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Jesus mends broken lives (see v. 15; Jn 4:4-42, 8:3-11).

21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

All of the above is true, but gentlemen, don’t be confused. We are to cherish our wives and respect all women, and vise-versa – Eph 5:22-27; Col 3:18-19; 1 Pet 3:1, 7.

30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

“Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven” – the context suggest that the “unpardonable sin” was attributing to Satan Christ’s authenticating miracles done in the power of the Holy Ghost.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Beelzebub and them that are with him shoot arrows” from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678).

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

“Adulterous’ – referring to spiritual, not physical, adultery, in the sense that their generation had become unfaithful to its spiritual husband (God).

40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

“Whale’s belly” – the Greek word means “sea creature.”

41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

“A greater than Jonas…a greater than Solomon” – Jesus argued from the lesser to the grater.  If the queen of Sheba responded positively to the wisdom of Solomon, and the men of Nineveh to the preaching of Jonas, how much more should the people of Jesus’ day have responded to the ministry of Jesus, who is infinitely great than Solomon or Jonas!

42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

“Queen of Sheba” – she is called the queen of Sheba, a country in southwest Arabia, now called Yemen.

43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

This is the ancient land of the Queen of Sheba, a land of fabled mystery and surprising contrasts, even to this day.
The ancient Greeks were so impressed with its natural wealth and advanced civilization that they named Yemen, Eudaimon Arabia. Later, the Romans called it Arabia Felix and the Arabs knew it as Al-Yaman-Al-Sa’eed. All three names translate approximately to Fortunate Arabia, or Happy Yemen.

Yemen’s capital of San’a is situated in the midst of the Yemeni plateau at a height of about 2200 meters above sea level, between two mountains. It is one of the oldest sites of human settlement in the world and according to Yemeni folklore, was founded by Noah’s son Shem.

44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Reformation of the Roman Army

When Gaius Marius became consul in 107 B.C., he faced the problem of defending a sprawling empire with an army that still operated as if Rome were a small republic confined to the Italian peninsula.

A 19th century painting by Saverio Altamura portrays the army of Marius celebrating a victory.
Marius defeated Germanic tribes and later became embroiled in a civil war against Lucius Cornelius Sulla, backed by Romans who opposed Marius’s reforms.

In a tradition that reflected the elitism of the Roman Republic, only landowners were allowed to serve in the army. Citizens of wealth and status disdained the lower classes and did not trust them to defend a country in which they had little stake.

By Marius’s time, however, the landed class was shrinking as wealthy slave owners expanded their estates at the expense of poor farmers. One option for Rome was to increase its reliance on foreign troops, who fought as auxiliaries in Roman armies—but that could leave the empire at the mercy of those very foreigners.

Imperial powers that relied heavily on foreign soldiers often ended up being dominated by them, as happened in Egypt after the New Kingdom collapsed.

Marius created a professional army in which the only requirement for service was Roman citizenship. Poor Romans flocked to enlist and received equipment and pay. If their armies triumphed, they could hope to share in the spoils of conquest and receive land grants when they retired.

Roman troops wage war in this relief carved on the Arch of Constantine, erected in Rome to commemorate Emperor Constantine’s victory in 312 A.D. over his rival, Maxentius. Such civil wars were frequent in the last days of the Roman Republic and occurred occasionally in later imperial times.

Besides increasing the pool of men available to serve, this had other benefits. Henceforth, the bulk of the army was made up of common citizens accustomed to hardship and prepared to perform laborious tasks such as building roads when they were not marching and fighting.

Marius reduced the army’s reliance on cumbersome supply wagons and had soldiers carry most of what they needed on their backs. They became known as “Marius’s mules.”

The danger in these reforms was that soldiers would grow more loyal to the generals who rewarded them with spoils and land than they were to Rome’s political leaders. Professional armies soon became the tools of Roman dictators and engaged in civil wars.

…wined and dined.