This month's Series is on The Gospel According to Matthew. The previous post covered Matthew 12:22-37. Here is the summary:
Matthew chapter 12 covered Jesus teaching the religious leaders of His time.
We saw in the previous chapter (Matthew 11) that Jesus said people of His time WERE WORSE than people before His time because people of the past would have confessed and repented in response to Jesus' Words and works. Now, this was CONFIRMED when Jesus had seen that helping these people continually made them WORSE.
In the third of these three stories, we saw the Pharisees PUBLICLY stated their will that Jesus was the enemy! Jesus implied that people who credited the work of the Holy Spirit TO THE ENEMY were guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit...which was a sin that could NOT be forgiven. Were the Pharisees spiritually at "the point of no return"?
In three short stories, the Pharisees' goal had gone from questioning Jesus to accusing Jesus to destroying Jesus to possibly committing an unforgiveable sin! It was NOT Jesus' fault that the religious leaders of His time chose to become worse in response to having been corrected. These people were prideful.
Considering everything Jesus NOW KNEW, was it even possible for Jesus to continue to help these religious leaders?
"38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee."
(Again, these Pharisees had a purpose for what they asked...it was to trap Jesus. Jesus just got finished indirectly PROVING these Pharisees were evil. Did the Pharisees confess and repent? NO. Their answer was to demand a sign...as if Jesus obeyed them.)
"39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet:
40 for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
(Jesus answered them by again indirectly proving these Pharisees were EVIL. Jesus called Jonah a prophet even thought WHAT Jonah stated did not happen. Then Jesus used His answer to point them again to the greater truth: Jesus was going to die and be resurrected "just like" Jonah did. Remember, the reason WHY Jonah's WHAT didn't happen is because the people of Nineveh REPENTED.)
"41 The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here.
42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here."
(Jesus again alluded to the fact that judgment can be greater or less depending on the actions of the individual. It is up to the individual to repent. God does NOT predetermine who will repent and who won't.)
"43 But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and findeth it not.
44 Then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this evil generation."
(What a strange transition! Jesus went from talking about the queen of the south going to the ends of the earth in order to hear wisdom. Then Jesus spoke about unclean spirits going back to the person they inhabited!)
(Notice, this chapter established the beginning of the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. Since the conflict has been established, Jesus continually proved to the Pharisees that they were evil AND proved to the Pharisees that they ought to repent. However, everytime Jesus gave them the opportunity to repent, the Pharisees CHOSE to dig a deeper hole for themselves. FINALLY, Jesus concluded his interaction with the Pharisees when he summarized this exchange with an example. The man who did not choose to repair the bad situation will end up in a worse situation. These Pharisees were in a much worse situation from when this chapter began.)
"46 While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.
47 And one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking to speak to thee."
(Jesus was done talking to the Pharisees because others interrupted Him. Jesus' mother and brothers sought Him. Notice, Joseph was not mentioned which meant he was probably dead. Jesus dealt with the "religious leaders" and it didn't go well. Next, Matthew showed us how Jesus viewed His "family".)
"48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
(Wow! Jesus' answer was to ask Questions, which was in true Rabbi form...)
"49 And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."
(Jesus just rejected the two "offices" that most people tell us we MUST respect...even have loyalty towards...our religious leaders and our family.)
(Matthew closed this chapter with a powerful message that was consistant with the conclusion of Jesus' Premiere Teaching: YOUR CHOICE whether you DO the Will of God determines if Jesus will view you with the greatest respect.)
Jesus reached the following conclusions:
Jesus reached the following conclusions:
1. the Pharisees were evil
2. teaching the Pharisees principles directly and giving the Pharisees the opportunity to confess and repent ONLY made the Pharisees WORSE
Matthew chapter 10 showed Jesus commissioned His disciples to do the same Offensive Spiritual Warfare as what we saw that Jesus did in Matthew chapters 8 and 9.
Matthew chapter 11 showed us that Jesus stated previous generations would have responded to His Words and works, while Jesus' current generation did not.
Matthew chapter 12 PROVED Matthew chapter 11. Jesus repeatedly taught the Pharisees principles directly. With each teaching, those religious leaders of Jesus' time got WORSE. Eventually, those religious leaders commited the unforgiveable sin (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) and Jesus HIMSELF declared INDIRECTLY that those religious leaders were then seven times MORE EVIL BECAUSE of THEIR response to Jesus' teaching.
Matthew chapter 13 is one of the most underappreciated chapters in The Gospel of Matthew. We will see that Jesus SUDDENLY changed His approach. In fact, it ALARMED His disciples!
This "change of approach" OUGHT to teach us TREMENDOUS revelation! Yet, most people believe there wasn't a specific moment when Jesus CHANGED TO this "new approach". They think He ALWAYS did this "approach".
Since the revelation from Matthew chapter 13 is so HUGE, we are going to spend the rest of the month getting some background so that we can fully appreciate Matthew chapter 13 when we begin looking at it in April.
I hope you enjoy MY change of "approach"...