About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 12
verses 1 through 3 we see
Jesus and His disciples walking through a field of
grain and it was on the Sabbath.
Some of His disciples were hungry so they decided to pick some
heads of grain and eat them. The
Pharisees who were constantly following Jesus to try to trap Him in a
mistake ask why His disciples were picking grain on the Sabbath, that
which was unlawful to do.
need to note that what the disciples were doing was not against the Law of
Moses but against the Rabbinical laws.
The law says that one can’t harvest and reap crops on the
Sabbath. When the disciples
picked the grain, that was reaping, and when they rubbed the wheat in
their hands in order to take away the chaff, that was harvesting or
verses 3 and 4 Jesus answers the Pharisees by reminding them what David
and his friends did one day when they were hungry.
They actually went into the
Pharisees pointed out to Jesus that His disciples broke their Rabbinical
law, but Jesus points out to the Pharisees that David broke God’s Law,
that is, the Law of Moses, which is far more weightier.
verse 5 Jesus gives another example concerning the Sabbath. Priests would
actually desecrate the Sabbath, or break the Sabbath by what they did.
They killed animals and burnt them in sacrifice, something normally
that would have been against the Sabbath rules, but since this work was
done to support the sacrificial rules, it was not considered a violation
of the Sabbath command.
verse 6 Jesus says that “one greater than the
verse 7 Jesus quotes from Hosea 6:6 when He says that if the Pharisees had
understood the words, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, the
Pharisees would not have condemned the innocent.
The innocent are the disciples who were eating the grain on the
Sabbath. Obviously Jesus had
no problem with them eating in such a way on the Sabbath.
6:6 is important because it says something about the Law and what was in
the heart of God, both in Old Testament times and now in New Testament
times. God gave the
sacrificial Laws for
is important for us today. Even though the Law of Moses does not apply to
New Testament Christians the idea of mercy does apply.
It’s still in God’s heart for us to extend mercy to one
another. God, in Jesus
extended mercy to us through His life, death, resurrection and ascension.
He now expects us to follow in His footsteps and extend mercy as
well, yet not at the expense of truth.
9 says that “for the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath”.
The Son of Man is Jesus. So
He is saying that He is Lord over the Sabbath.
This does not mean that Jesus Himself will disobey the Sabbath
rules or teach others to disobey the Sabbath rules.
He has to obey each and every rule on our behalf in order to
fulfill the Law. What Jesus is
saying here is that He Himself is higher than the Sabbath.
As a matter of fact, He made the Sabbath Law up in the first place.
And as the other gospels put it, He made the Sabbath for man’s benefit.
He did not make man in the first place for the sole purpose of
living right on the Sabbath. The Sabbath in the beginning was meant
to be a day of rest, but the Jewish leadership had made it a day of
frustration with all the detailed rules that Jews had to obey.
It had thus lost its restfulness.
verse 9 and 10 we see Jesus moving on from this place.
He went into the nearest synagogue.
There was a crippled man there so once again the Pharisees bring up
the Sabbath question. They
asked Jesus if He thought it was lawful for Him to heal this man on the
answers this question in verse 11 and 12.
He simply points out that if any one of them had a sheep that had
fallen in a pit on the Sabbath, they’d pull the sheep out without any
questions asked. Jesus then
says that humans are more valuable than sheep.
So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
answer actually expanded the Pharisees question.
They were merely asking if Jesus thought it was lawful to heal on
the Sabbath, but Jesus answers by saying that it’s lawful to do anything
that is good on the Sabbath. It
doesn’t really matter what it is. So
here we see Jesus commenting on the Sabbath Law.
You might call this His Sabbath commentary.
Although the Sabbath was to be a day of rest, if you had the
opportunity to do good for someone, then you better do good.
If you did not do the good, that would be a sin.
in verse 13 Jesus tells the crippled man to stretch out his crippled hand
and immediately it was made better. We
don’t have any reference to Jesus saying any words such as “be
healed”. He simply told the
man to stretch out his bad hand. Once
again, there is no formula to healing.
14 tells us that the Pharisees had now decided to leave and plot among
themselves how they could kill Jesus, something that would have been
clearly against the Law of God.
15 says that Jesus was aware of the Pharisees plot to kill Him so He
“withdrew Himself” from where He was.
Jesus knew that His time to be killed was not yet.
His Father had a time and place for everything concerning Jesus,
and not just for Jesus but for all thing concerning God’s intervention
into humanity. God has a time
table and He does things according to His times table.
the rest of verse 15 and into verse 16 Matthew tells us that Jesus healed
many sick people and told them not to tell anyone who He was.
This would only cause problems for Him.
Jesus had enough problems to deal with.
He was not looking for more. Jesus
didn’t have a martyrdom complex. If trouble came along, He’d deal with
it, but He did not go out of His way to bring it upon Himself.
This mentality should be seen in us as well.
17 says that Jesus’ work of healing was to fulfill what was written, and
Matthew quotes from Isa. 42 verse 1 through 4.
18 begins the quote by saying, “here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight”.
It’s obvious that Jesus is the servant that Isaiah is speaking
about. We note that Jesus is
God’s servant. We see that
in His life. He does only what
His Father tells Him to do. That’s
one of the topics found in the gospel of John.
If we are to be like Jesus, then we are to be a servant as He was
while He was on earth, and I might add, and still is, even though He is
through the prophet says that He loves His servant, He delights in Him,
and He has chosen Him.
We see this very clearly when Jesus was baptized by John and the
voice from Heaven came to confirm that Jesus was God’s Messiah and that
He was the Son in whom God was well pleased.
was not only well pleased with Jesus for who He was but also what He did
by His obedient service. God
is well pleased with us in like fashion, that is, for who we are and what
we do. In Christ we are very
special in the eyes of God, so God is well pleased with us in that sense.
But He should also be well pleased with us for the service we
provide in His Kingdom.
in verse 18 the prophet says that God “put His Spirit in Him”.
At conception the Spirit of God the Father came into Jesus.
It is important to know that Jesus was God because God put Himself
into Jesus at conception. This
did not happen at birth and it did not happen at Jesus’ baptism.
Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit.
last part of verse 18 says that “He will proclaim justice to the
nations”. Jesus did proclaim
verse 19 the prophet says, “He will not quarrel or cry out”.
If you notice, although Jesus had many chances to argue with the
Jewish leadership, He didn’t. He’d
respond to their questioning but He never carried on in a long drawn out
argument. He’d give His
answer which was normally very intelligent and whity, but beyond that,
He’d not get bogged down in an argumentative debate.
wasn’t like John the Baptist in the sense that John was known as a
“voice crying out in the wilderness” Jesus did preach and proclaim the
gospel from hillsides, but His words were more based on teaching and not
prophetic as John’s were. Jesus
was the fulfillment of John’s prophesying.
He taught, and when He did prophecy it was in the context of His
last part of the prophecy says that “no one will hear His voice in the
streets”. You might
wonder about these words. You
might say “how can Jesus’ words be not heard in the streets”?
Jesus did have people following Him everywhere He went, so His
voice was heard. Though His
voice was heard, His words weren’t heard in the sense they weren’t
saw in the last chapter that most of the cities in
20 continues the prophecy. It
says, “ a bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will
not snuff out, till He leads justice to victory”.
You will remember earlier in Matthew that Jesus compared John the
Baptist to a reed that did not get blown about by the wind.
John was a strong and courageous man who did not bend under the
pressure of persecution. Yet
Jesus came for the down-trodden. He
came for the poor. He came for
the reed that was bruised and the wick that was smoldering.
He came for the person who was having a hard time surviving.
He came for them in order to give them His strength.
This is the meaning to this prophecy.
Like Jesus, we should not neglect these people as well.
will continue to act in this way, both on His own and through His church
until “ He leads justice to victory”.
This will happen on that Great and Terrible Day of the Lord as the
King James Bible puts it. When
Jesus returns to judge the world, God’s justice will have final victory.
21 says that “in His name the nations will put their trust”.
It is clear that the nations did not put their trust in Jesus while
He was on the earth two thousand years ago.
But when this age is wrapped up, the nations of the earth will put
their trust in Him. This
speaks of the time that you read about in the last chapters of the Book of
pictures the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven to the earth and all
nations coming in and out of her in obedience to the Lamb of God.
At that time, all nations will put their trust in Jesus.
learn something about Old Testament prophecy here and that is that it
often mixes Jesus’ first coming with His second coming.
It takes one who knows Scripture and one who has the Holy Spirit to
distinguish between the two in these prophecies.
verses 22 we see that Jesus was brought a demon possessed man who was both
blind and mute. It is clear
that the demon made this man blind and mute.
The question is often asked, “are demons behind every
sickness”? Most people would
say no. Yet if that is true,
we do have to admit that they can be the cause of some sickness because
this verse says that this man was blind and mute because of a demon.
in verse 22 Matthew records that Jesus healed this man. He doesn’t say
that Jesus cast a demon out of him, although that has to be implied.
It appears that the demon left simply because Jesus healed the
sickness without Jesus telling the demon to leave.
verse 23 we note that those around who saw this miracle “were
astonished” and wondered if Jesus “could be the Son of David”.
The term “son of David” means that these people were thinking
that Jesus might well be their Messiah.
The words “son of David” is a term designated for the Messiah.
the ordinary person considered that Jesus might well be the Messiah the
Pharisees didn’t. In verse
23 we see that the Pharisees once again say that Jesus casts out demons by
the help of Beelzebub, the prince of demons.
This is in reference to the devil.
The Jewish leaders were contradicting the Messianic claims that the
ordinary people made by saying Jesus was of the devil.
verse 25 we see that “Jesus knew their thoughts”.
This is called “a word of knowledge”.
It is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as seen in 1 Cor. 12.
Jesus knew what people were thinking.
This is an attribute of God, that is, He is all knowing.
refutes the thinking of the Pharisees by telling them that every kingdom,
every household, and every city that is divided against itself cannot
stand. That’s only simple
verse 26 Jesus says that if satan is divided against satan, “how can his
kingdom stand”? One thing we
learn here is that satan has a kingdom.
His kingdom is both spiritual and material.
He has demonic forces under his control that influence e both men
and nations. His kingdom is
also material in the sense that the world, the kingdoms of the world, and
man made systems are all part of his kingdom.
basically two kingdoms at odds with one another at this present moment.
They are the
thought to consider here is that Jesus says that if satan was divided,
then his kingdom couldn’t stand. To
me this suggests that Jesus thought that satan’s kingdom was not divided
and that it was still standing, therefore it was something to be reckoned
with and thought seriously about.
is attacking the logic of the Pharisees here.
They do believe in satan, and they do believe he has a kingdom that
is well entrenched in the systems of the world.
Satan’s kingdom at present is standing.
It has not been fully defeated as yet, and it certainly wasn’t
when Jesus spoke these words. So
if Jesus was on satan’s side, satan then would be divided.
There’s thus no logic in thinking that Jesus was casting out
demons with the help of the one in charge of demons. If that was so
satan’s kingdom would not be as strong as the Pharisees thought it was.
Therefore their logic was faulty.
verse 27 Jesus says that if He drives out demons with the help of
Beelzebub, how do the Pharisees drive out demons?
I’m not sure how much success the Pharisees had when they cast
out demons. Jewish tradition
states that they could in fact cast out demons other than this type of
demon. The reason for this is
because they’d always ask for the demons name.
Demons that made people unable to speak could not tell their names,
thus they could not be cast out. So whether this is accurate or not, that
is one reason why the ordinary people were so amazed with Jesus.
He was succeeding at casting out demons when their own leaders
couldn’t, even though they tried.
in verse 27 Jesus says, “so then, they will be your judge”.
The word “they” refers to the Pharisees and their people who
attempt to cast out demons. Jesus
is simply saying, that if your people fail in their attempt to cast out
demons, and I succeed, then your people are your judge.
Their failure judges me to be casting out demons by the power of
God, and not by the power of the devil.
verse 28 Jesus says that if He does drive out demons by the power of God,
gives another analogy in verse 29. He
asks how a robber can enter a home and steel from the home unless he first
binds the strong man of the house. Only
after binding the one who can prevent the robbery can the robber be
Jesus can’t be casting demons out of people with the help of the devil
who is the strong man. He’s first got to bind that strong man up and
make him weak in order to rob him. And
that is exactly what Jesus was in the process of doing.
verse 30 Jesus says that he that is not with me is against me and he that
does not help me gather is really scattering.
There’s a simple fact here, and that is that there is no middle
ground. You’re either on
Jesus’ side or you’re not. And
if you’re not on His side then you are on the devil’s side.
You can’t be on your own side here.
You’re either for or against Jesus, no matter how good of a
person you are, or even if you’re not overtly on the devil’s side.
by not helping Jesus gather, meaning, to gather in those who are to be
saved, then you’re actually scattering.
There’s no middle ground here either.
You’re either helping Jesus or hindering Him.
You can’t be in the middle being neutral.
31 and 32 have always been hard verses for many to understand.
It is the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit verse”.
Many have said that the unforgivable sin, or blasphemy against the
Spirit is attributing the work of Jesus to the devil.
This answer is way too simplistic.
Christians say speaking in tongues is of the devil.
They are then attributing tongues to the devil and with the above
definition in mind, this would be an unforgivable sin.
But this can’t be so. All
sin has been forgiven except for one and that sin is unbelief in Jesus.
Besides there is only one “unforgivable sin”, not many. And
there’s many ways to attribute the works of Jesus to the devil.
only one sin that God won’t forgive, and that is not giving one’s life
to Jesus. If God would forgive
all men for not trusting their lives with Jesus, then all men are saved,
and that clearly is not the case. That
would have also made Jesus’ death on the cross is useless in my
thinking. God could have
simply proclaimed all men forgiven whether they believe in Jesus or not.
earthly life would have been a complete waste of time as well, especially
because He preached repentance and trust in Him.
Why would He preach faith if one didn’t need faith to be saved,
if all would be saved, because unbelief is forgivable.
There’s no logic here. The
unpardonable sin is “not believing in Jesus’.
verse 31 Jesus says that this unforgivable sin is directed to the Holy
Spirit, and not to Him.
We can sin against Jesus, which we do all the time and Jesus
forgives us when we repent and keep trusting Him.
But when we reject the call of the Holy Spirit to hand our lives
over to Jesus to be saved, that can’t be forgiven.
Once again, to say that this sin can be forgiven defies all logic.
So in short, the unpardonable sin is to reject the call of the Holy Spirit
to give one’s life over to Jesus.
verse 32 Jesus simply says that this sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be
forgiven, either in this life or the next life.
This verse should tell those who believe that all men will
eventually be saved that their thinking is wrong.
Pharisees were indeed attributing the work of Jesus to the devil, but
their sin was worse than that. By
saying that Jesus was of the devil was denying who He really was, and that
is the Son of God. So the
bottom line to this is not that the Pharisees were simply attributing the
works of Jesus to the devil. They
were in fact denying the Deity of Christ, and that sin is unforgivable.
They were attributing Jesus Himself to the devil.
verse 33 Jesus gives one of His numerous analogies.
He says that if you make a tree good you will have good fruit, but
if you make it bad you’ll have bad fruit, “for a tree is recognized by
its fruit”. That’s
simple logic too. You know an
apple tree is an apple tree when you see apples growing on the tree, and
if the apples are rotten, you know something is wrong with the tree.
verse 34 Jesus calls the Jewish leaders “vipers” or snakes. He says,
“how can you who are evil say anything good”?
Jesus is calling the religious leaders of the day vipers.
He’s calling them evil. He’s saying that they cannot speak
anything good. Jesus had no
tolerance for the hypocritical nature of the religious establishment of
the last paragraph we saw Jesus pointing out the main sin that these
leaders were committing. This was the unforgivable sin of denying who
Jesus really was. The is the
worst sin of all. The is the
primary sin that all men and women everywhere have to come to grips with.
It’s this sin that causes people to commit all of the secondary
sins. Because these leaders
failed to recognize Jesus for who He really was, Jesus considered them
evil and unable to speak goodness.
second part of verse 34 is a real Biblical principle. Jesus says, “out
of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.
Whatever is dear to our hearts we will talk about
So you can tell what is in the heart of a person by what he says.
You can tell what a person really holds dear to his heart and to
his life by what his mouth speaks. If
a man talks sports all the time, you know the love of his life is sports.
If a man talks a lot about Jesus, you know Jesus is in his heart.
Pharisees and the Jewish leadership constantly spoke about their
legalistic system of religion. They
constantly spoke and showed off their own achievements and cared little
for others. This is what was
in the hearts of the Jewish leaders and Jesus considered that evil.
35 is in direct relation to verse 33. In verse 33 Jesus used the analogy
of a good tree and a bad tree. Here
in verse 35 we see that the tree represents good and bad people.
A good person will do good things based on the goodness found in
his heart, while a bad person will do bad things because his heart is bad.
Once again, as the mouth speaks what’s in the heart, so our
actions will also demonstrate what’s in our hearts.
It’s that simple.
verse 36 Jesus says that “men will have to give account of every
careless word they have spoken come the Day of Judgment.
Once again, we see Jesus speaking about the coming Day of Judgment
when all of what sinful man has done will be judged.
I say sinful man, because it appears to me that this judgment is
only for those who have not accepted the forgiveness of sins offered them
by Jesus. Their sins are still
present and they will be judged. The
Christian’s sins are long gone and there will be nothing to judge.
Christians will go through a secondary judgment concerning the good
works they have done and will be rewarded accordingly.
Greek word that is translated as “careless” in the NIV means useless,
unproductive or idle. The
sense of the Greek word is that careless words mean words that have no
use. They don’t work for
anyone’s good. All these useless words will need to be accounted for,
and it is clear that the Pharisees had many very unproductive useless
37 gives us a little hint about the Day of Judgment.
Jesus says that “by your words you will be acquitted and by your
words you will be condemned”. Words
are very important. It’s
almost as if Jesus will ask us the all important question of what we’ve
done concerning Him and we will have to answer with words.
If we tell Him that we’ve given our lives to Him and have
acknowledged who He really is, then we will be acquitted, or set free from
the three year ministry of Jesus we see three groups of people that He
associates with. One group is
His disciples, and even in this group there are sub-groupings of
disciples. Then there were the
massive crowds that followed Jesus around out of interest, and then there
were the Jewish leadership, with their sub-groups.
verse 38 we see two of the sub-groups of the Jewish leadership. They are
the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.
The Pharisees were the strictest of these sub-groups and very
legalistic, enforcing both the Law of Moses and their own Rabbinical Laws.
The teachers of the Law were much like our lawyers today.
of the above groups come to Jesus on this occasion asking to see a
miraculous sign from Him. I
doubt if they were sincerely interested in seeing a sign proving His
Messiahship. Jesus had already
done countless miracles, including raising the dead, and that didn’t
change their thinking.
responds in verse 39 by saying, “a wicked and adulterous generation asks
for a miraculous sign! But
none will be given it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah”.
Jesus explains what He has just said in the following verse.
In verse 40 Jesus says that as Jonah was in the belly of a large
fish for three days and nights, so He will be in the heart of the depth of
the earth for three days and three nights.
It is clear to us that Jesus is speaking of His death here.
It probably wasn’t so clear to the Jewish leadership.
interesting to note how Jesus viewed the historical fact of Jonah.
He saw it as prophetic. We’re
used to understanding prophecy in terms of the spoken word of the Old
Testament prophets or the types and shadows of the Law, but here an
historical event is actually prophetic.
This only goes to prove once again how every aspect of the Old
Testament points to Jesus.
had performed many miracles. The
miracles weren’t just healings. He turned water into wine.
He fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a few
fish. He calmed great storms.
The biggest sign of all would be His death and His resurrection,
and this would be the sign that His accusers should pay attention to.
is important to note that Jesus never gave into people’s demands to
perform miracles. He did only
what His Father in Heaven asked Him to do.
seen before the idea that different generations of people will be judged
differently come the final Day of Judgment.
We’ve noted that
42 is similar to verse 41. The
Queen of the South came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and she will rise
up at the Day of Judgment with
verse 43 Jesus mentions that if an evil spirit is cast out of a person it
goes through arid places. That is places where it can’t live.
This gives us a little hint about the dwelling-places of evil
spirits. They want to live
within human bodies.
verses 44 to 45 Jesus says that if the evil spirit can’t find another
“house” or body to live in it will return to the “house” or body
it was cast out of. We see
that the spirit considers bodies their home.
when the evil spirit sees that the house is clean and empty, it goes and
finds seven other spirits who are worse than himself and returns to live
in the body with these seven other spirits.
We note here that not all evil spirits are as evil as others.
important to understand here that the evil spirit sees an empty house.
This is a picture of a person who has been delivered from a demon,
yet has not followed through and given himself to Jesus.
Jesus is not in the house. The
house, or the body is empty. Only then can the spirits return to this
body. If the person had of
given himself to Jesus the house would not
have been empty and therefore the demons could not have returned.
I believe this should answer the question “can a Christian have a
demon living in him”?
the original demon returns with the seven other demons the person is in
much worse shape than he originally was with just one demon.
might think that Jesus changed the subject in mid stream.
He was talking about the present evil generation and the Day of
Judgment and now He’s talking about demons.
He didn’t change the subject.
He’s only using the facts about demons as another analogy.
The last part of verse 45 says that this generation of Jews is like
the man in whom one spirit was cast out and left his house empty, only to
have seven other demons come to live in him.
Jews had their chance to get their house cleaned and renovated if they’d
repent and give themselves to Jesus, but they refused to do so.
verses 46 and 47 we note that Jesus’ mother and brothers were waiting to
speak to Jesus but He was busy talking to the crowd.
Someone told Jesus that they were waiting for Him.
need to know that at this time Jesus’ brothers weren’t really
believers, and we can remember that Mary pondered many of the things she
saw of Jesus in her heart.
responds to those telling Him that His mother and brothers are waiting to
speak to Him. You might think
that Jesus’ response isn’t very respectful of His family.
He says as He points to His disciples that they are really His
mother and brothers. Why would Jesus say this?
was born into a human family, but He was born into this family for a
reason, and that was to make a new larger family where God would be the
Father of the household and He’d be a brother to those who were adopted
into this family.
Jesus the family of God was more important than His physical family.
Now we aren’t totally like Jesus in this respect.
Jesus, who was not of this world came into this world through a
natural family. In reality His
family was not of this world because He was not of this world.
We were born into the world and are of this world.
Our natural family therefore means more to us than what it meant to
being said, our spiritual family should be very important to us, and in
many cases Christians are closer to those in their spiritual family than
they are to their human family.
One thing that Jesus’ response should tell us is that the family of God is very important, and probably much more important than we think or know. The natural family is made up of relationships. You have a brother or a sister because of the natural relationship you have with them. Your earthly family isn’t some kind of organization. The same is true with your brothers and sisters in Jesus. They aren’t your brothers and sisters because you’ve joined some kind of church organization. They are related to you because you are a part of God’s family and His family is built on relationships, not organization.
In verse 50 Jesus says that whoever does the will of His Father in Heaven is His brother or sister. If we do God’s will, God is our Father and Jesus is our brother. The first will of God for all of us to do is to give our lives to Jesus. When the gospels speak of doing God’s will, or doing God’s work, for the most part it is speaking in terms of faith in Jesus, or trusting Jesus with you life.