SUGGESTED READING: Matthew 12
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this column Annette Dammer examines the New Testament one chapter at a time. If you’d like to join Dammer’s fellowship group, …
SUGGESTED READING: Matthew 12
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this column Annette Dammer examines the New Testament one chapter at a time. If you’d like to join Dammer’s fellowship group, email her at email@example.com with BIBLE in the subject line.
Like so many others, Matthew 12 is too long to fit in one column. I heartily advise that you read it on your own, as I fear to report that much is missing here! Let’s get on with the highlights …
Matthew 12 begins with Jesus and his disciples as they pick and eat grain — on the Sabbath. The Pharisees are quick to respond — unlawful, they say. Christ answers with many examples. He ends with “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:1-8)
From there, Jesus continues to their synagogue and a man with a shriveled hand. They want to “bring charges against Jesus,” so they ask if it’s legal to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus quickly retorts, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Jesus fully heals the man. In turn, the Pharisees begin to plot to kill Jesus. (Matthew 12:9-14)
Jesus knows this, so he leaves — with a large crowd in tow. He heals all and warns them not to tell. This was to fulfill the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy. (Matthew 12:15-21)
Next a demon-possessed man, both blind and mute, is brought to Jesus and He heals him. All are astonished. Some wonder if He is the Son of David. The Pharisees say no: “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus says, no: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself… ” (Matthew 12:22-28)
Soon Jesus says His famous: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” He goes on to say: “ … every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven … ” (Matthew 12:29-37)
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law asked for a sign. Jesus calls them a “wicked and adulterous generation” and says none will be given except the three-day/three-night sign of Jonah. “ … so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth …” He is foretelling His own death and resurrection. (Matthew 12:38-42)
As Jesus talks to the crowd, His mother and brothers stand outside; they want to speak to Him. Someone tells Jesus, and He replies, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” He points to His disciples: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
So, all we need to do is God’s will, and we are in Christ’s family. We are welcome!
Copyright © 2022 by A. Dammer
Scripture Notations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.