Bible Study Notes on Matthew 12:22-50 – 20180108

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Bible Study Notes

Matthew 12:23  “…Could this be the Son of David”
They were asking if Jesus could be the Messiah who was prophesied to be a descendant of David.

24  “Now when the Pharisees heard…”
Heard the people asking if Jesus was the Messiah.  This wasn’t going to sit well.  The sad part is that the Pharisees, who were supposed to know the law and the prophets, were witnessing miracles which they knew only God could do, yet they refused to check and see if Jesus fit the prophecies of the Messiah.  They would not consider the possibility that the Messiah could be anyone other than someone who fit their idea of Him.

24  “…except by Beelzebub…”
They didn’t have any choice but to acknowledge that Jesus had power, so they had to say He got His power from satan.  So pathetic.  Just excuses for what they didn’t want to accept.

27  “…if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out…”
They couldn’t have it both ways.  If the ability to cast out demons had to come from God, how could they say Jesus did it by other means.  To say this destroyed their own credibility.

30  “He who is not with Me is against Me…”
Only two types of people in this world, Christians and everyone else.  You either believe in Jesus and accept His gift of salvation for eternal life or you go to Hell.  No half measures.

31  “…the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”
Checked with some commentaries and was surprised by their answers.  Some didn’t think He was referring to the Holy Spirit but to His own divinity.  That makes no sense as they are the same.  He is one with the Father and Spirit.  The work and ministry of the Spirit is to point to Christ as the means of salvation, to exalt Jesus as the way to eternal life.  To blaspheme the Spirit would be to deny His message and actions.  In other words, to reject His urging to repent and accept Christ.  To deny the Spirit, to reject Christ, is the one sin that can’t be forgiven.  If someone dies having committed that sin, they go to Hell.  No forgiveness can be found at that point.  I think a person has a lifetime to make that decision, however long that life may be.  I think as long as a person is breathing, there is the possibility to accept Christ.  God certainly knows whether they will do so or not, but I think the door is open until they die.  Thus the unpardonable sin is to reject the calling of the Holy Spirit to accept Christ.  The Pharisees were stepping very close to that by denying what they were seeing.  It was obvious that the actions done by Jesus were of God, the Spirit was saying this is the Christ.  But they were denying that, rejecting what the Spirit was saying.  If they continued to do so until death, that one sin of rejection would be unpardonable.

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.”
Still speaking to the Pharisees throughout this section.  The truth should be obvious to all.  Good could only come from someone who has goodness within, bad will come from someone who doesn’t.  If they agree that casting out demons and healing sickness is good, then the goodness and power of God must reside in the person doing those things.

36  “…I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it…”
Given the context, I think He is referring to what men have to say regarding Christ and the Spirit, the truth.  We speak out of what we believe.  The Pharisees obviously didn’t believe in Christ, and their speech displayed that.  Their careless words in ascribing Christ’s actions to the power of satan would someday condemn them, unless they repented.

39  “…An evil and adulterous generation…”
One who worships someone or something other than God.  The sin of idolatry was referred to as adultery, breaking the covenant between man and God.  Worshipping anything other than God is spiritual adultery.  If you were actually following God, why would you need a sign when His acts were being performed in front of you.  The Pharisees condemned themselves.  They claimed to be following and worshipping God, yet they couldn’t recognize an act of God when it occurred directly in front of them.  Not only that, they went out of their way to deny it as though they were working for some false god.  God had already given them enough signs and wonders.  To further demand another one was an insult and showed their unfaithfulness.

40  “…so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”
The sign to be given was that Jesus would die on the cross then rise again the third day.  That would prove to anyone and everyone that He was indeed the Messiah.  We mustn’t get hung up on the phrasing of three days and three nights.  Hebrew thought saw it as the same as saying after three days or on the third day.  To count the days, the current day is one, the next day is two, and the following day is three.  Not necessarily three twenty-four hours periods.  In American reckoning, it is the same as saying the day after tomorrow.

45  “…So shall it also be with this wicked generation”
Commentary was good at showing how this fit within the context.  The point of the parable is obvious enough.  We have a demon possessing a man who leaves.  While it is gone, the man cleans himself up, but doesn’t fill himself with anything.  When the spirit returns, it finds everything set in order, but doesn’t encounter any resistance to its repossession.  Therefore, it goes out and gets other demons to join it.  The man’s last state is worse than the first.  The Jews of Jesus’s day had become wicked and adulterous when it came to their relationship with God.  They said they wanted a sign from Jesus to show His divinity.  Jesus knew if He did so, they would have no choice but to act as though they believed, but no true belief would have taken place.  Just like the demon leaving and the man sweeping up and putting all things in order, but not filling the emptiness.  The people acted only on the surface.  They didn’t really accept Christ to fill their own hearts.  Thus once the novelty of any sign wore off, they would return to their old ways.  And having seen the truth and denying it, they would become calloused to it.  Their last state would be worse than the first.

48  “…Who is My mother and who are My brothers”
Commentaries remind us that Jesus meant no disrespect toward His earthly family.  That is clearly shown in other instances.  Appears His mother and brothers came to check on Him.  Other gospels mention that they may have thought Him ill or beside Himself.  Since He had been teaching and preaching for some time, we don’t know if this was a special instance when His family thought Him in more danger than others, or perhaps because He was confronting the Pharisees.  At any rate, He used the opportunity to show His relation to others was based on His purpose.  As He told His mother when He was young, He had come to be about His Father’s business.  His relations now were based on those who believed on Him, including His own physical family.  As He had said before, one must be willing to leave all other ties in order to follow Him.  Hopefully, our earthly family will also choose to follow Christ, but if they don’t, we mustn’t allow that connection to take priority over the one we have with Christ.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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