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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
The Question about the Sabbath
(Mk 2.23–28; Lk 6.1–5)
1 # Deut 23.25 Not long afterwards Jesus was walking through some cornfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began to pick ears of corn and eat the grain. 2When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, “Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do this on the Sabbath!”
3 # 1 Sam 21.1–6 Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did that time when he and his men were hungry? 4#Lev 24.9He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the bread offered to God, even though it was against the Law for them to eat it — only the priests were allowed to eat that bread. 5#Num 28.9–10Or have you not read in the Law of Moses that every Sabbath the priests in the Temple actually break the Sabbath law, yet they are not guilty? 6I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple. 7#Mt 9.13; Hos 6.6The scripture says, ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ If you really knew what this means, you would not condemn people who are not guilty; 8for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
The Man with a Paralysed Hand
(Mk 3.1–6; Lk 6.6–11)
9Jesus left that place and went to a synagogue, 10where there was a man who had a paralysed hand. Some people were there who wanted to accuse Jesus of doing wrong, so they asked him, “Is it against our Law to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 # Lk 14.5 Jesus answered, “What if one of you has a sheep and it falls into a deep hole on the Sabbath? Will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12And a human being is worth much more than a sheep! So then, our Law does allow us to help someone on the Sabbath.” 13Then he said to the man with the paralysed hand, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out, and it became well again, just like the other one. 14Then the Pharisees left and made plans to kill Jesus.
God's Chosen Servant
15When Jesus heard about the plot against him, he went away from that place; and large crowds followed him. He healed all those who were ill 16and gave them orders not to tell others about him. 17He did this so as to make what God had said through the prophet Isaiah come true:
18 # Is 42.1–4 (LXX) “Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
the one I love, and with whom I am pleased.
I will send my Spirit upon him,
and he will announce my judgement to the nations.
19He will not argue or shout,
or make loud speeches in the streets.
20He will not break off a bent reed,
or put out a flickering lamp.
He will persist until he causes justice to triumph,
21and in him all peoples will put their hope.”
Jesus and Beelzebul
(Mk 3.20–30; Lk 11.14–23)
22Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man, so that he was able to talk and see. 23The crowds were all amazed at what Jesus had done. “Could he be the Son of David?” they asked.
24 # Mt 9.34; 10.25 When the Pharisees heard this, they replied, “He drives out demons only because their ruler Beelzebul gives him power to do so.”
25Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to them, “Any country that divides itself into groups which fight each other will not last very long. And any town or family that divides itself into groups which fight each other will fall apart. 26So if one group is fighting another in Satan's kingdom, this means that it is already divided into groups and will soon fall apart! 27You say that I drive out demons because Beelzebul gives me the power to do so. Well, then, who gives your followers the power to drive them out? What your own followers do proves that you are wrong! 28No, it is not Beelzebul, but God's Spirit, who gives me the power to drive out demons, which proves that the Kingdom of God has already come upon you.
29 “No one can break into a strong man's house and take away his belongings unless he first ties up the strong man; then he can plunder his house.
30 # Mk 9.40 “Anyone who is not for me is really against me; anyone who does not help me gather is really scattering. 31And so I tell you that people can be forgiven any sin and any evil thing they say;#12.31 evil thing they say; or evil thing they say against God. but whoever says evil things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 32#Lk 12.10Anyone who says something against the Son of Man can be forgiven; but whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven — now or ever.
A Tree and its Fruit
(Lk 6.43–45)
33 # Mt 7.20; Lk 6.44 “To have good fruit you must have a healthy tree; if you have a poor tree, you will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it bears. 34#Mt 3.7; 23.33; 15.18; Lk 3.7; 6.45You snakes — how can you say good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35A good person brings good things out of a treasure of good things; a bad person brings bad things out of a treasure of bad things.
36 “You can be sure that on Judgement Day everyone will have to give account of every useless word he has ever spoken. 37Your words will be used to judge you — to declare you either innocent or guilty.”
The Demand for a Miracle
(Mk 8.11–12; Lk 11.29–32)
38 # Mt 16.1; Mk 8.11; Lk 11.16 Then some teachers of the Law and some Pharisees spoke up. “Teacher,” they said, “we want to see you perform a miracle.”
39 # Mt 16.4; Mk 8.12 “How evil and godless are the people of this day!” Jesus exclaimed. “You ask me for a miracle? No! The only miracle you will be given is the miracle of the prophet Jonah. 40#Jon 1.17In the same way that Jonah spent three days and nights in the big fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and nights in the depths of the earth. 41#Jon 3.5On Judgement Day the people of Nineveh will stand up and accuse you, because they turned from their sins when they heard Jonah preach; and I tell you that there is something here greater than Jonah! 42#1 Kgs 10.1–10; 2 Chr 9.1–12On Judgement Day the Queen of Sheba will stand up and accuse you, because she travelled all the way from her country to listen to King Solomon's wise teaching; and I assure you that there is something here greater than Solomon!
The Return of the Evil Spirit
(Lk 11.24–26)
43 “When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country looking for a place to rest. If it can't find one, 44it says to itself, ‘I will go back to my house.’ So it goes back and finds the house empty, clean, and all tidy. 45Then it goes out and brings along seven other spirits even worse than itself, and they come and live there. So when it is all over, that person is in a worse state than he was at the beginning. This is what will happen to the evil people of this day.”
Jesus' Mother and Brothers
(Mk 3.31–35; Lk 8.19–21)
46Jesus was still talking to the people when his mother and brothers arrived. They stood outside, asking to speak with him. 47So one of the people there said to him, “Look, your mother and brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak with you.”#12.47 Some manuscripts do not have verse 47.
48Jesus answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! 50Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants him to do is my brother, my sister, and my mother.”