Matthew Chapter 12

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath: 
(Read Matthew 12:1-14)
When we become followers of Jesus, we find rest for our souls.   Matthew gives us two examples of how Jesus brings blessings to people and relief from the heavy burdens of the law. Jesus went through the grain fields and his disciples plucked some head of the grain and ate.  Some Pharisees blamed disciples for breaking the Sabbath. Pharisees had added many religious burdens to the law which were not given in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 11: 28-30).  They also blamed Jesus for healing a man on Sabbath. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for the way they observed Sabbath day holy (Exodus 20:8-11). Jesus wanted them to see that the purpose of the Sabbath law was to show mercy to human beings and rest to animals from hard labor (Matthew 12:8).  The Sabbath was given to rest from hard labor. The Pharisees missed the point of the Sabbath law (Matthew 12:7). Sabbath was made for man and not the other way. Jesus cautioned that man-made doctrines should not violate God’s mercy and kindness. If any ordinance become hindrance to obey Christ, we need to reject them.  Showing mercy is more importance than observing religious rituals. In the Old Testament, Priest ate loaves on the table of show bread on Sabbath day (Leviticus 24:5-9; Numbers 28:9).  Pharisees rescued their sheep fell in the pit on Sabbath day. Jesus asked them “How much more valuable is a person than a sheep?”  This passage shows that Jesus had the right to interpret the Mosaic law.  Jesus desired mercy and not sacrifices (Matthew 12:7).  But Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  Jesus is the creator and Lord of the Sabbath, so he has the right to interpret the law. Though David and the people with him ate the bread reserved for priest, he was not condemned (1 Samuel 21:1-6).  The believers are set free from observing Sabbath because they have entered eternal rest in Christ (Colossians 2:15-16).  Sabbath is a picture of the eternal rest Christ brought to believers. It is noteworthy that in the New Testament all the ten Commandments are quoted except the observance of Sabbath day.  Christ gives rest to all those who believe him.  Prayers or giving to the poor are valuable to God only if they come from a sincere heart. God accepts worship offered in truth and spirit. Pray that God would protect us from man-made religious rituals.
 
Behold My Servant:  
(Read Matthew 12:15-32)
Jesus healed the sick by the power of God.  It was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 42:1-4).  He came to make known the righteousness of God to Gentiles.  Salvation of gentile nations were clearly predicated in the Old Testament (Genesis 12:3).  Christ did not come to crush the bruised reed and quench the smoking wick. Jesus is gentle to the weak and never rejects those who are wounded in their conscience. He never rejects a broken and contrite heart. Jesus healed a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute. The people were amazed at the miracles Jesus did and said, “Could this be the Son of David”.  But the Pharisees said Jesus healed the man by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demon.  Jesus replied, “If Satan is casting out Satan, he is fighting against himself, and his own kingdom will not survive”.  Jesus said, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven but the sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31).  The willful rejection of the gospel is the unpardonable sin. The deliberate rejection of the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit grieves the heart of God. Their sin is their settled conviction that Jesus is evil.  The unpardonable sin a conclusive rejection of Christ.  Those who once rejected Christ may have opportunity to trust Christ and follow him later.  Our God is a merciful and long suffering Savior. 
 
The Sign of Jonah: 
(Read Matthew 12:33-50)
The Pharisees accused Jesus of using demonic power to cast our demons (Matthew 12:24). This is the ultimate sin against God.  Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). A tree is known by its fruit.  If our heart is filled with love, it will be express in action.  We should guard our tongues. Someone has said “Before we speak; think: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”.  The religious leaders demanded that Jesus should perform miraculous sign to prove his identity (Matthew 12:38). Jesus said that the only sign he gives them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.  Jesus’ divine identity is revealed by the miracle of his resurrection from the dead on the third day (Matthew 12:40).  Jonah himself was a sign to Nineveh because he was in whale’s belly for three days before he went to Nineveh to preach. They repented when they heard about the coming judgment (Jonah 3:1-10). Pharisees saw many signs, yet they did not repent. Jesus said, “Nineveh will rise up against them on the judgment day”.  Jesus claims that he is greater than Jonah.  Yet Pharisees did not repent of their sins (Matthew 12:41).  Our religious heritage or familiarity with the Bible will not save us. The queen of Sheba came to hear Solomon.  Jesus claims that he is greater than Solomon.  But Pharisees refused to obey Jesus. The queen of Sheba will rise up against them on the Day of Judgment.  Repentance alone will not save. It should be followed by faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Otherwise, our moral state may become worse than before (Matthew 12:43-45). Jesus calls our attention away from earthly relationship to spiritual relationships (Matthew 12:49).  Jesus’ mother and brothers have no special preference before God (John 7:1-5; Mark 3:21).  Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of God are my brothers and sisters.”  A believer is closer to Christ than his own physical relatives (John 6:28-29).  Physical relationship is temporary but spiritual relationship is eternal. People cannot be saved unless they believe the gospel. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

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