Matthew 12

Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath day, giving us the true example of the acceptable use of that day, spending it with and for God. Ascribing the word which Christ does in the power of the Holy Spirit to Satan, is a sin unpardonable here or hereafter.

1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an 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.

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

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?

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Matthew 12:1-14 – The Right Use of the Sabbath

   The Pharisees had introduced a large number of minute and absurd restrictions on Sabbath observance; so our Lord set Himself to recover the day of rest for the use of the people. He never hesitated, therefore, to work miracles of healing on that day, and so set at defiance the Pharisees and their evil amendments. He contended also that all ritual observance must take the secondary place, and that the primary concern must always be the deep and pressing claims of humanity. Thus it was perfectly legitimate for David to eat the showbread.
   Even if a sheep should fall into a pit on the Sabbath, it would be lifted out by the most punctilious of ritualists. How absurd and illogical it was to prohibit deliverance to this man with his withered hand! Notice that this man’s condition is symbolic of many who pose as good Christians, but do nothing. They have the power, but do not use it and it becomes atrophied. That power can be given back by Jesus. Dare to act and you will find yourself able to act. —Through the Bible Day by Day

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

​   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. —Our Daily Homily

Matthew 12:15-23 – ​The Testimony of Deeds of Mercy

   A reed is not of much account. You may see hundreds of them encircling a stagnant pond and bending before the breeze. A bruised reed is still more worthless to the eye of the world. Yet the Master does not despise a bruised or broken reed. No, He bends over it and tries to restore its shape. He makes out of it a reed-organ for music, or the paper manufacturers weave it into paper on which are printed His messages.
   Flax does not burn readily. It only smolders. The spark runs feebly up the fibers; and anything like a flame is impossible. Such is our poor love. It sometimes seems but a spark. Yet Jesus does not despise it. So far from quenching it, He breathes on it, places it in the oxygen of His love, and screens it from the wind that would extinguish it.
   How gentle, quiet and unobtrusive is our Master’s behavior! He is so frugal of His resources, so careful that nothing be wasted, so eager to make the most of us. And it is out of such materials that He makes His ever-victorious army. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 12:24-37 – ​Slander from Evil Hearts

   Spite and hatred absolutely blind the eyes and distort the judgment. They reached their climax in this effort of the Pharisees to discredit Christ. They could not deny His miracles, so they imputed them to a collusion between Him and Satan. On the face of it, this charge was absurd. But our Lord showed clearly that in making the allegation, His enemies were violating their spiritual sense and deliberately blinding their eyes and dulling their ears to God’s Spirit. This is the sin that hath never forgiveness, because the soul that acts thus ceases to wish for or seek it.
   What a glimpse is given of our Savior’s sore temptations and glorious victory in Matthew 12:29! He had already bound the strong man, and for this reason was able to spoil his house and deliver his captives. Let Jesus into your heart, and no foe, though he may batter the door, shall break in to destroy!
   The one test that Jesus proposes is fruit. The nature of a man or doctrine or movement can be rightly estimated only when the results have had time to develop. How splendidly Christianity has stood this test! —Through the Bible Day by Day

​Matthew 12:34 – There is so much correspondence betwixt the heart and tongue, that they will move at once. Every man, therefore, speaks of his own pleasure and care. If the heart were full of God, the tongue could not refrain to talk of Him: the rareness of Christian communication argues the common poverty of grace. If Christ be not in our hearts, we are godless; if He be there without our joy, we are senseless; if we rejoice in Him, and speak not of Him, we are shamefully unthankful. I will think of Thee always, O Lord; so it shall be my joy to speak of Thee often; and if I find not opportunity, I will make it. (Bishop Hall)

Matthew 12:35 – ​When the wheels of a clock move within, the hands on the dial will move without. When the heart of a man is sound in conversion, then the life will be fair in profession. (Moody)

Matthew 12:38-50 – ​Opposing or Doing God’s Will

   It was an evil and adulterous age. It had no spiritual appreciation, and was intent on getting an outward and sensible sign. Nineveh itself would have condemned it. The queen of Sheba, without the advantage attaching to the Hebrew race, appreciated Solomon; but the people of this generation had no appreciation of the Christ. They were nearing the last days of corruption and reprobation. They were a deserted palace given over to demons. Seven demons possessed them and urged them, as they did the swine in Matthew 8:31, to destruction.
   But amid the general apostasy, there were faithful souls who recognized Jesus as the Son of God and drew near to hear His words. They recognized His kinship to the Father and revealed their kinship to Him. Let us not look back to Nazareth and Bethany with longing eyes. See Solomon’s Song 8:1-2. We are privileged to occupy a closer relationship than that of natural birth. See John 1:12-13; Galatians 4:1-6; Romans 8:16. O Brother Christ, make us more like thee! —Through the Bible Day by Day