Read thru the New Testament-January 16

Matthew 12:22-50

Matt. 12:22-30-After Jesus heals a demon-possessed man the people begin to wonder if Jesus was the “Son of David” (referring to the one who would re-establish the Jewish nation).  When the Pharisees became aware of what they were thinking, they said He was the agent of Satan (:23-24; cf. 10:25-“Beelzebul” means “lord of flies”…referring to a guardian deity of the Ekronites-cf. 2 Kings 1:2…but the term was used by the Jews as a nickname for Satan).  This was the worst kind of blasphemy because it intentionally attributed the works of Jesus to Satan.  Jesus shows the absurdity of their thinking.  If He really was an agent of Satan, then Satan would be fighting against himself.  However, if He is working in the power of the Spirit of God…then Heaven has just arrived on earth.  In verse 29, Jesus reveals part of His mission…to bind Satan and destroy his attempt to control God’s kingdom.  Jesus now draws the line in the sand…no more playing around…”If you’re not with Me, you’re against Me.  If you’re not working alongside of Me, you’re working against Me.  There is no middle ground.”

Matt. 12:31-33-This is commonly referred to as “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”.  (Ryrie)-“Technically, according to the scribes, blasphemy involved direct and explicit abuse of the divine name.  Jesus here teaches that it also may be the reviling of God by attributing the Spirit’s work to Satan.  The special circumstances involved in this blasphemy cannot be duplicated today.”  It’s not uncommon for someone to ask if we can commit the sin of “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit,” today.  As was just explained, this is not possible… because the circumstances in which that would be done cannot be duplicated…it would necessitate the presence of Jesus and his works being attributed to Satan.  This sin is unforgivable (:31) because in essence it is a denial of God since it attributes the works of God (Jesus) to Satan.  Verse 32 can be a little confusing…it becomes clear when we correctly paraphrase it this way: “If someone speaks out against Jesus, there is still time for him to repent and be forgiven…because his heart is still sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  But, someone who speaks against the Holy Spirit is clearly showing that he has crossed over the line (has irrefutably denied the true revelation of God) and will never repent (because his heart has become completely hardened to the conviction of the Holy Spirit).  Once that happens, there will be no repentance on their part and consequently no opportunity for forgiveness.”  Here again (:33), Jesus tells them that they have to make a decision about Him, because there will come a day when they will be judged…and there will be no mistake or confusion about what they had decided about Him…their “fruit” (life, works) will be all the evidence that is needed to make a determination.  They will testify against themselves.

Matt. 12:34-37-Jesus now directs His comments directly towards the Pharisees.  Continuing with the thought He has established about the power of words (blasphemy)…Jesus goes on to say that not just some, but all of our words are important because they reveal what is in our heart.  They will be held accountable for every single word that they ever speak.  Their words will either prove that they are a true follower of Christ, or prove that they are not.

Matt. 12:38-42-This is the first of two occasions that Matthew records the Pharisees requesting that Jesus perform a “sign” for them.  On both occasions, Jesus chastised them for doing so…and then said that the only sign that they would receive would be the “sign of Jonah the prophet”…that being His being buried for three days in the earth in a similar manner that Jonah was buried for three days in the belly of the great fish.  The men of Nineveh will bear witness against them…because while they repented when Jonah rose from his watery grave, the Jews (by and large) will not repent when Jesus rises from His grave.  In a like manner, the “Queen of the South” (“Queen of Sheba”, ruler of the Sabeans in the southern part of Arabia, 1 Kings 10:1-10) will be used in judgment against them because she came to learn from Solomon when she heard of his wisdom…but, the Jews ignore the teachings of Jesus, whose teaching is far greater.

Do people today demand proof (a sign) from Jesus?  Do they sometimes try to disguise their doubt by asking for a miracle?  The ultimate sign of Who Jesus is was the resurrection from the dead.  There is no other sign that could provide greater verification.

Matt. 12:43-45-Jesus explains that on occasion there are times when our heart is receptive to the Holy Spirit.  At such times, we must make a positive decision concerning Him.  If we don’t, then our heart becomes a little bit more negative and non-receptive towards Him, than it was before.  Eventually, if we do this too many times, we will reach a point where we no longer even recognize the conviction of the Holy Spirit and we become totally unresponsive to Him.

Matt. 12:46-50-While Jesus was speaking, his family arrived and wanted to talk with him.  This included other siblings (Matt. 13:55-56; Mark 6:3).  After Mary had Jesus she and Joseph had other children, as well.  Someone told Him that they were there.  Jesus responded that His family were those who are related to Him spiritually…they have accepted Him as their Savior and are now His brothers and sisters.  This spiritual family took priority over His physical family.

Prayer: Lord, please let my heart to open and receptive to You.  Help me to hear Your voice and to see Your hand at work.

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