Matthew 12:5-7

Have ye not read in the law?… If ye had known what this meaneth. - Matthew 12:5-7

The Pharisees were great sticklers for rites and ceremonies. Their religion consisted in little else than a perpetual round of outward observances. They believed that they were thus observing and maintaining the ancient Mosaic code. In their judgment, great human necessities, like hunger, must be subordinate to their minute exactions. Our Lord, on the other hand, claimed that the laws of God, as written in the nature of man, must have a priority over merely ceremonial enactments. And He showed that His contention was supported by those Scriptures on which they rested their case.

There are two ways of studying Scripture. The one deals with its letter; the other compares Scripture with Scripture, and seeks to fathom its profound and eternal meaning. Do not read as the scribe, but as the Son of Man. Do not rest in the outward rite, but in the spiritual attitude of which the rite was intended to be the expression. Everywhere there is One greater than the Temple; greater than the rigorous exactions of the Jewish Sabbath; greater than the code on which Pharisaism insisted.

All through the Old Testament you may detect the spirit of the New; the mercy in which God delights, the pitiful appreciation of the frailty and hunger of the nature He has made. The New Testament is in accord with the Old of Scripture, and the older Testament of man's nature, as God made it at first.

It is highly important to remember this. The God who redeems is He who created all things by His word, and for His pleasure. Is it likely that He will contradict His original design, and undo what cost Him thought and care? Surely not; He is pledged only to undo the evil which has marred His work.