Continuing on in Matthew 12...let's see. Jesus has just violated Sabbath Tradition according to the Pharisees, declared himself "Lord of the Sabbath," the Pharisees are plotting his demise and he is back to quietly healing the sick around him. Matthew mentions Jesus fulfilling a prophecy from Isaiah 42:1-4.
18"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
21In his name the nations will put their hope."
I noticed in verse 23 how Jesus did some miracles
23All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"
So I got to thinking what being "the Son of David" meant to them. Messianic thoughts, I'm thinking.
Thankfully the Pharisees were there to assure the people that this wasn't the Messiah! Nope, Jesus was doing these miracles in the power of Beelzebub, "the prince of demons," especially when Jesus was casting out evil spirits.
To which Jesus replied, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?"
These legalists were so adamant that Jesus was not the Messiah, was not sent from God that they would rather attribute his miracles to the prince of demons! As if Satan would want the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the shriveled hand catching baseballs and demon-possessed people praising God! 'Cause he's all kinds of sweet like that, right?
Jesus said, 30"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."
I thought about the gathering and scattering and it demonstrates unity and divisiveness, doesn't it? One who gathers people together under a common cause (like Jesus) is unifying whereas one driving people away scattering them seems quite divisive. And Jesus just told us a "city or household divided against itself will not stand."
Jesus continues with this:
31"And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."
*** So there is an unpardonable sin?
*** And it's against the Spirit? Why?
*** What is blasphemy against the Spirit? Why is that unpardonable?
*** Why does Jesus often refer to himself as "the Son of Man"? Why is it OK to speak against him if his message was God's message? When I read the Quran I remember accepting Muhammad's message - and thus accepting Muhammad - was necessary for a chance at salvation. Why is Jesus' teaching different?
Tell me what you think about these questions!
33"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."
Whoa! These were religious guys and Jesus called them a "brood of vipers" and declared them evil!! No wonder they wanted to kill Jesus! It seems Jesus was very interested in people's words, huh? Remember he wasn't so "tore up" about the disciples eating with unwashed hands. He said it wasn't what goes inside the body that made a person unclean, but what proceeded out of the body.
Our words reveal our hearts. They are the fruit of what is growing inside. Do you think our "words" can also be our "words in action" since we all know actions speak louder than words? Or do you suppose Jesus only meant what we say with our lips? Jesus concluded this "word" discussion with
37"For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
Has your heart been changed by God so it will bring forth good words?
The rest of the chapter highlights:
1. The Pharisees asked for a "miraculous sign." I guess the miracles they'd seen already were not enough.
2. Jesus said the only sign for them was "the sign of the prophet Jonah" whom Jesus used as a metaphor for himself.
40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
3. Also Jesus declared that whoever does the will of his Father is his brothers and sisters and mother (vs. 46-50).
I've love to hear your thoughts now.