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Matthew 12

12
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath Day
1One Sabbath day Jesus was walking through some grainfields. His disciples were hungry, so they began to break off heads of grain and eat them. 2The Pharisees saw this and told Jesus, “Look! Your disciples are doing something that’s against the Law to do on the Sabbath day!”
3Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read about what David did when he and his men were hungry? 4He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the holy bread that only the priests were supposed to eat. 5Or haven’t you read in the Law how the priests in the temple do their regular work even on the Sabbath day, but they aren’t considered guilty? 6I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7Scripture says, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ If you knew what those words meant, you wouldn’t have accused people who were innocent. 8The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”
9Jesus went on from that place and entered a synagogue. 10A man with a weak and twisted hand was there. The Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, so they asked him, “Does the Law permit healing on the Sabbath day?”
11He answered them, “What if one of your sheep fell into a pit on the Sabbath day? Wouldn’t you grab hold of it and lift it out? 12A person is worth far more than a sheep! So the Law allows us to do good on the Sabbath day.”
13Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it became as good as new, just as strong as the other hand. 14But the Pharisees went out and started making plans to kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15Jesus knew what the Pharisees were planning, so he left that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed everyone who was sick. 16But he warned them not to tell other people about him. 17This was to make what the prophet Isaiah had said come true:
18“Here is my servant, the one I have chosen.
He’s the one I love, and I’m very pleased with him.
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he’ll announce to the nations that everything is going to be made right.
19He won’t argue or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20He won’t break a bent twig,
and he won’t snuff out a smoldering wick.
He’ll make right win over wrong,
21and the nations will put their hope in him.”
Jesus and the Prince of Demons
22Then they brought Jesus a man who was controlled by demons that kept him from speaking or seeing. Jesus healed the man so that he could speak and see. 23All the people were amazed and asked, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.”
25Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said to them, “Every kingdom that fights against itself will be destroyed. Every city or family that is divided against itself will not last. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he’s fighting against himself, so how can his kingdom last? 27You say I drive out demons by the power of Beelzebul. Then by whose power do your own people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is right here with you.
29“Or think about this. You can’t just walk into a strong man’s house and take what he owns. You have to tie him up first, and then you can rob his house.
30“Anyone who isn’t with me is against me, and anyone who doesn’t gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every kind of sin and insult can be forgiven, but saying that the Holy Spirit is evil will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.
33“If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good. If you make a tree bad, its fruit will be bad. You can tell a tree by its fruit. 34You nest of vipers! How can you who are bad say anything good? Whatever is in your heart comes out of your mouth. 35Good people say good things out of the good that’s stored up inside them, but bad people say bad things out of what’s stored up inside them. 36I tell you that everyone will have to account on judgment day for every word they’ve spoken that hasn’t done any good. 37You’ll be found guilty or not guilty based on your words.”
The Sign of Jonah
38Some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39He answered, “It’s a rebellious and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! But it won’t be given any except for the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as 40Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish for three days and three nights, the Son of Man will spend three days and three nights in the grave. 41The people of Nineveh will stand up on judgment day with this generation and show that it’s guilty. They turned away from their sins when Jonah preached to them, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42The Queen of the South will stand up on judgment day with this generation and show that it’s guilty. She came from far away to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43“When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it goes through the deserts looking for a place to rest, but it doesn’t find any. 44Then it says, ‘I’ll return to the house I just left.’ When it gets back, it finds the house swept clean and put in order, with no one living in it. 45Then the evil spirit goes and gets seven other spirits that are even worse than it is, and they all go live there. Then the person is worse off than they were before. That’s how it will be with this rebellious generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers came and stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and they want to speak to you.”
48Jesus replied to him, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?” 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here is my mother! Here are my brothers! 50Anyone who does what my heavenly Father wants is my brother and sister and mother.”
12
A question about the Sabbath
(Mark 2.23-28; Luke 6.1-5)
1One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields.#12.1 walking through some wheat fields: It was the custom to let hungry travellers pick grains of wheat. His disciples were hungry and began picking and eating grains of wheat.#Dt 23.25. 2Some Pharisees noticed this and said to Jesus, “Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!”
3Jesus answered:#1 S 21.1-6.
You must have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4He went into the house of God, and then they ate the sacred loaves of bread that only priests are supposed to eat.#Lv 24.9. 5Haven't you read in the Law of Moses that the priests are allowed to work in the temple on the Sabbath? But no one says that they are guilty of breaking the law of the Sabbath.#Nu 28.9,10. 6I tell you that there is something here greater than the temple. 7Don't you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, “Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others”? If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine.#Mt 9.13; Ho 6.6. 8So the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath.
A man with a crippled hand
(Mark 3.1-6; Luke 6.6-11)
9Jesus left and went into one of the Jewish meeting places, 10where there was a man whose hand was crippled. Some Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they asked him, “Is it right to heal someone on the Sabbath?”
11Jesus answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn't you lift it out?#Lk 14.5. 12People are worth much more than sheep, and so it is right to do good on the Sabbath.” 13Then Jesus told the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man did, and it became as healthy as the other one.
14The Pharisees left and started making plans to kill Jesus.
God's chosen servant
15When Jesus found out what was happening, he left there and large crowds followed him. He healed all their sick, 16but warned them not to tell anyone about him. 17So God's promise came true, just as Isaiah the prophet had said,
18“Here is my chosen servant!#Is 42.1-4 (LXX).
I love him,
and he pleases me.
I will give him my Spirit,
and he will bring justice
to the nations.
19He won't shout or yell
or call out in the streets.
20He won't break off a bent reed
or put out a dying flame,
but he will make sure
that justice is done.
21All nations will place
their hope in him.”
Jesus and the ruler of the demons
(Mark 3.20-30; Luke 11.14-23; 12.10)
22Some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon in him. Jesus healed the man, and then he was able to talk and see. 23The crowds were so amazed that they asked, “Could Jesus be the Son of David?”#12.23 Could Jesus be the Son of David: Or “Does Jesus think he is the Son of David?” See the note at 9.27.
24When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “He forces out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons!”#Mt 9.34; 10.25.
25Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said to them:
Any kingdom where people fight each other will end up ruined. And a town or family that fights will soon destroy itself. 26So if Satan fights against himself, how can his kingdom last? 27If I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons, whose power do your own followers use to force them out? Your followers are the ones who will judge you. 28But when I force out demons by the power of God's Spirit, it proves that God's kingdom has already come to you. 29How can anyone break into a strong man's house and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.
30If you are not on my side, you are against me. If you don't gather in the harvest with me, you scatter it.#Mk 9.40. 31-32I tell you that any sinful thing you do or say can be forgiven. Even if you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven, either in this life or in the life to come.#Lk 12.10.
A tree and its fruit
(Luke 6.43-45)
Jesus continued:
33A good tree produces only good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces.#Mt 7.20; Lk 6.44. 34You are evil snakes, so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts.#Mt 3.7; 23.33; Lk 3.7; Mt 15.18; Lk 6.45. 35Good people bring good things out of their hearts, but evil people bring evil things out of their hearts. 36I promise you that on the day of judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. 37On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.
A sign from heaven
(Mark 8.11,12; Luke 11.29-32)
38Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a sign from heaven.”#Mt 16.1; Mk 8.11; Lk 11.16.
39But Jesus replied:#Mt 16.4; Mk 8.12.
You want a sign because you are evil and won't believe! But the only sign you will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40He was in the stomach of a big fish for three days and nights, just as the Son of Man will be deep in the earth for three days and nights.#Jon 1.17. 41On the day of judgment the people of Nineveh#12.41 Nineveh: During the time of Jonah this city was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, which was Israel's worst enemy. But Jonah was sent there to preach, so that the people would turn to the Lord and be saved. will stand there with you and condemn you. They turned to God when Jonah preached, and yet here is something far greater than Jonah.#Jon 3.5. 42The Queen of the South#12.42 Queen of the South: Sheba, probably a country in southern Arabia. will also stand there with you and condemn you. She travelled a long way to hear Solomon's wisdom, and yet here is something much greater than Solomon.#1 K 10.1-10; 2 Ch 9.1-12.
Return of an evil spirit
(Luke 11.24-26)
Jesus continued:
43When an evil spirit leaves a person, it travels through the desert, looking for a place to rest. But when the demon doesn't find a place, 44it says, “I will go back to the home I left.” When it gets there and finds the place empty, clean, and tidy, 45it goes off and finds seven other evil spirits even worse than itself. They all come and make their home there, and the person ends up in a worse state than before. That's how it will be with you evil people of today.
Jesus' mother and brothers
(Mark 3.31-35; Luke 8.19-21)
46While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers came and stood outside because they wanted to talk with him. 47Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to talk with you.”#12.47 with you: Some manuscripts do not have verse 47.
48Jesus answered, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” 49Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “These are my mother and my brothers! 50Anyone who obeys my Father in heaven is my brother or sister or mother.”