THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW
CHAPTER 12 Cont.’:
Matt. 12: 22-48 Explanations Cont.’:
VERSE 22 “THEN ONE WAS BROUGHT TO HIM WHO WAS DEMON-POSSED, BLIND AND MUTE; AND HE HEALED HIM, SO THAT THE BLIND AND MUTE MAN NOW SPOKE AND SAW.”
VERSE 23 “AND ALL THE MULTITUDES WERE AMAZED AND SAID, COULD THIS BE THE SON OF DAVID?”
VERSE 24 “NOW WHEN THE PAHARISEES HEARD IT THEY SAID, THIS FELLOW DOES NOT CAST OUT DEMONS EXCEPT BY BEELZEBUB, THE RULER OF DEMONS.”
A. He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw: Again, Jesus displayed His complete power and authority over demons, casting out demonic powers that the traditions of the day considered impossible.
B. Could this be the Son of David: The crowds reacted with Messianic expectation, but the religious leaders responded by attributing Jesus’ power to the prince of demons (This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub).
1. The Pharisees’ accusation amounts to a charge of sorcery, one which continued to be leveled against Jesus in later Jewish controversies and disputes.
2.. Let others censure with the Pharisees; let us wonder with the multitudes.
VERSE 25 “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
VERSE “If satan casts out satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? “
VERSE 27 “ And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges”
VERSE 28 “ But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
VERSE 29 “Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
A. But Jesus knew their thoughts: This was remarkable, but not necessarily a mark of the divinity of Jesus. The Holy Spirit can give the gift of supernatural knowledge to an individual (the word of knowledge mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8).
B. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation: Jesus logically observed that it makes no sense for satan to cast out satan. The Pharisees needed to explain how satan benefited by the work Jesus had just done.
1. One devil may yield and give place to another, to gain a greater advantage for the whole society, but one never quarrels with another.
2. satan may be wicked, he says in effect, but he is not a fool.” “Whatever fault the devils have, they are not at strife with each other.
C. By whom do your sons cast them out: Jesus asked a question based on their (wrong) premise that He operated by satan’s power. If that were true, then how did their own Jewish exorcists cast them out?
1. The Jewish exorcists operated in conventional fashion by use of herbs and magical formulae, and the results were probably insignificant. The practice was sanctioned by custom, and harmless. But in casting out devils, as in all other things, Jesus was original, and His method was too effectual. His power, manifest to all, was His offense.
2.. Envy causes persons often to condemn in one, and what they approve in another.
3. I cast out demons by the Spirit of God: “Though our Lord had power all his own, he honored the Spirit of God, and worked by his energy, and mentioned the fact that he did so.
D. And then he will plunder his house: Using an analogy, Jesus explained His authority to bind satan’s assumed power. He is stronger than the strong man is. In so doing, Jesus presented a valuable principle in spiritual warfare/joyfare as we remember that Jesus gives us the permission to use His name and authority, giving us the strength we need in binding the strong man.
1. Jesus also made it clear that He was the stronger man who was not captive under the strong man. His message was, “I’m not under Satan’s power. Instead, I’m proving that I am stronger than he is by casting him out of those he has possessed. The very fact that I have been able so successfully to invade satan’s territory is proof that he is bound and powerless to resist.”
2. Jesus looks at every life delivered from the kingdom of darkness and says, “I’m plundering the kingdom of satan one life at a time.” There is nothing in our life that must stay under satan’s domination. The One who binds the strong man and will plunder his goods is our risen Lord. And the warfare is finished! Remember stan is a defeated foe and has assumed dominion that is not his.
VERSE 30 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”
VERSE 31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.”
VERSE 32 “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
A. He who is not with Me, is against Me: Jesus first removed illusions about any neutral response to Him or His work. If one is not for Him, then that one is against Him. If one does not work with Jesus, by either active opposition or passive disregard, that one works against Jesus (he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad).
1. Only two forces are at work in the world, the gathering and the scattering. Whoever does the one contradicts the other.”
B. Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven: Jesus solemnly warned the religious leaders against rejecting Him. Their rejection of Jesus – especially considered what they had seen of Jesus and His work – showed that they were completely rejecting the Holy Spirit’s ministry. That ministry is to testify to Jesus, hence the warning of committing the unforgivable sin.
1. The Holy Spirit’s main ministry is to testify of Jesus (He will testify of Me, John 15:26). When that testimony of Jesus is fully and finally rejected, one has truly blasphemed the Holy Spirit and essentially called Him a liar in respect to His testimony about Jesus. The religious leaders were close to this.
2. To reject Jesus from a distance or with little information is bad; to reject the testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus is fatal.
C. It will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come: The eternal consequences of this sin force us to regard it seriously. Therefore, how can one know if they have in fact blasphemed the Holy Spirit? The fact that one desires Jesus at all shows that they are not guilty of this sin. Yet continued rejection of Jesus makes us more hardened against Him and puts us on the path of a full and final rejection of Him.
1. Some people – as a joke or a dare – intentionally say words they suppose commit the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit. They think it a light thing to joke with eternity. Yet true blasphemy against the Spirit is more than a formula of words; it is a settled disposition of life that rejects the testimony of the Holy Spirit regarding Jesus. Even if someone has intentionally said such things, they can still repent and prevent a settled rejection of Jesus.
2. Many sincere people have been grievously troubled with apprehensions that they had committed the unpardonable sin; but let it be observed that no man who believes the Divine mission of Jesus Christ, ever can commit this sin: therefore let no man’s heart fail because of it.
VERSE 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”
VERSE 34 “Brood[f] of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
VERSE 35 “A good man out of the good treasure [g]of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
VERSE 36 “ But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
VERSE 37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
1. He will tell the nations what justice is. Jesus came to bring men justice. The word judgment means justice. The Greeks defined justice as giving to God and to men that which is their due. Jesus showed men how to live in such a way that both God and men receive their proper place in our lives. He showed us how to behave both towards God and towards men.
2. He will not strive, nor cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. The word that is used for to cry aloud is the word that is used for the barking of a dog, the croaking of a raven, the bawling of a drunken man, the uproar of a discontented audience in a theatre. It means that Jesus would not brawl with men. We know all about the quarrels of conflicting parties, in which each tries to shout the other down. The hatred of theology is one of the tragedies of the Christian Church (because of debate and quarrels) We know all about the oppositions of politicians and of ideologies. In Jesus there is the quiet, strong serenity of one who seeks to conquer by love, and not by strife of words.
3. He will not break the crushed reed nor quench the smoking wick. The reed may be bruised and hardly able to stand erect; the wick may be weak and the light may be but a flicker. A man’s witness may be shaky and weak; the light of his life may be but a flicker and not a flame; but Jesus did not come to discourage, but to encourage. He did not come to treat the weak with contempt, but with understanding; he did not come to extinguish the weak flame, but to nurse it back to a clearer and a stronger light. The most precious thing about Jesus is the fact that he is not the great discourager, but the great encourager.
4.In him the Gentiles will hope. With Jesus there came into the world the invitation, not to a nation but to all men, to share in and to accept the love of God. In Him God was reaching out to everyone with the offer of His love.
Matt. 12:22-50 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.26 “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?27 “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.29 “Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.30 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.32 “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.35 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.41 “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.42 “The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
A. A tree is known by its fruit: The bad fruit of their words (when they condemned Jesus) betrayed the bad root growing in their hearts. If they got their hearts right with God, their words about Jesus would also be right.
B. Brood of vipers! With these words, Jesus essentially called the religious leaders “sons of satan.” They were a generation associated with the serpent, not with God. It was this evil nature that made them speak evil of Jesus (How can you, being evil, speak good things).
C. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks: Our words reveal our heart. If there were good treasure in the heart of these religious leaders, it would show itself in good things.
1. For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment/justice: “Idle and wasted words are to be accounted for; what then of evil and wicked?
2. The ancient Greek word used for an idle word is “a word that does nothing, that neither ministers grace nor instruction to them who hear it.” If this is true, many might find themselves guilty of this sin.
D. By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned: By this Jesus answered an anticipated objection – that He made too much of mere words. Instead, because words reflect the heart, one can be rightly judged by their words.
1. Paul also wrote about the importance of our words:
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Eph.4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
4:29 Instead of cheap talk, your mouth is now a fountain of grace, giving encouragement and inspiration to everyone
within earshot. Mirror Translation
Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Col.4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Proverbs, as well speaks about the importance of your words
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
VERSE 38 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
VERSE 39 “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
VERSE 40 “ For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
A. Teacher, we want to see a sign from You: Their desire to see a sign really expressed another way in which they hoped to reject Him. If Jesus did provide a sign, they would find some way to speak against it, thus proving to themselves that Jesus was who they already thought He was – an emissary of satan (Matthew 12:24).
1. The apparent respect and earnestness of the request are feigned: ‘teacher, we desire from you (emphatic position) to see a sign’. It reminds one of the mock homage of the soldiers at the Passion (Matthew 27:27-31).”
2. Had not Christ shown them signs enough? What were all the miracles he had wrought in their sight? They either speak this out of a further idle curiosity or else they speak it in direct opposition.”
B. An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign: Jesus condemned their seeking after a sign, especially when countless signs had already happened before their eyes. It is easy to overestimate the power of miraculous signs to change the heart of doubters and skeptics.
C. The sign of the prophet Jonah: Jesus assured them of a sign, but the great sign He would show was the sign of a resurrected Jesus. Jonah was a prophet in the sense beyond his preaching to Nineveh. Also his life was a prophecy of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
D. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish: Jonah was indeed a picture of the work of Jesus. Jonah gave his life to appease the wrath of God coming upon others. But death did not hold him; after three days and nights of imprisonment, he was alive and free. This is a glorious picture of Jesus in an unexpected place.
1. Because Jesus here refers to three days and three nights, some think that Jesus had to spend at least 72 hours in the grave. This upsets most chronologies of the death and resurrection of Jesus and is unnecessary – because it doesn’t take into account the use of ancient figures of speech. Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah (around the year AD 100) explained this way of speaking when he wrote: “A day and a night make a whole day, and a portion of a whole day is reckoned as a whole day.” This demonstrates how in Jesus’ day, the phrase three days and three nights did not necessarily mean a full 72-hour period, but a period including at least the portions of three days and three nights. There may be other good reasons for challenging the traditional chronology of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but it is not necessary in order to fulfill the words of Jesus here.
2. If Jesus rose from the dead on the first day or on the fifth day, we could say “Jesus was a liar and a false prophet. He said He would rise again on the third day, but He got it wrong.” But Jesus didn’t get it wrong. He never does.
3. Yet we should not miss the central point here. “You are asking for a sign – I am God’s sign. You have failed to recognize me. The Ninevites recognized God’s warning in Jonah; the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon.”
We will continue with Les.5 next week.
The blessings of the Lord are upon you whether by blood, adoption/sonship or assignment. The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. Prov. 10:22
David & Mary Sue