This month's Series is on The Gospel According to Matthew. The previous post covered Matthew 12:2-8. Here is the summary:
Matthew chapter 12 documents Jesus' interaction with the religious leaders of that time...the Pharisees.
The first interaction began when the Pharisees brought an accusation against Jesus' disciples. Jesus responded by exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, justifying His disciples, and teaching the Pharisees that He is the Christ.
Today, numerous teachers and pastors mishandle this story to the point that THEIR interpretation results in Jesus NOT being the Son of God!
This story comes immediately after a chapter that documented that Jesus stated people of the past would have responded to Jesus' words and works with repentance. This chapter presented a practical example involving the religious leaders of Jesus' time.
How do you think the Pharisees responded? Did they repent? Did they ignore this teaching? Did they become worse? How do the religious leaders of today respond when they are publicly corrected?
"9 And he departed thence, and went into their synagogue:
10 and behold, a man having a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? that they might accuse him."
(Jesus just helped the Pharisees improve their thought process. Jesus just gave them an opportunity to confess and repent for their hypocrisy. Next, Jesus INTENTIONALLY walked into their synagogue! Remember, Jesus was a Semikah Rabbi. He could teach in the synagogue.)
(A man with a withered hand was present. Remember, the previous post covered a disagreement on the Sabbath...and this story took place on the same day. The religious leaders ASKED JESUS A QUESTION FIRST. Notice, the "leaders" in the synagogue were blatantly trying to trap Jesus. They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus because they felt threatened. They couldn't do Offensive Spiritual Warfare. Jesus and His disciples did. These "leaders" were going to lose the people, so the "leaders" attacked the good thing that Jesus was doing!)
"11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day."
(Jesus, like The Rabbi He was, responded with a Question that these people didn't answer. Next, Jesus re-established that He is Lord of the Sabbath by giving the reason WHY...what was permitted relative to "work" on the Sabbath was to do "good"...to do God's Ministry! This story came immediately after the previous story. It furthered Jesus' WIDENING of doctrine relative to the Sabbath.)
"13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, as the other."
(Jesus did Offensive Spiritual Warfare. He stated a will with Words and it was successful because of the faith of Jesus and the person being healed. It appears the previous chapters on Offensive Spiritual Warfare showed us all the background so that now we OUGHT to focus on the purpose of the story, NOT the miracle. The miracle was mentioned because it served the actual point of the story: Jesus and the Pharisees were drawing battle lines...)
"14 But the Pharisees went out, and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him."
(This story showed the event that caused the Pharisees to state their will IN THEIR ACTIONS that they were against Jesus.)
"15 And Jesus perceiving it withdrew from thence: and many followed him; and he healed them all,
16 and charged them that they should not make him known:"
(Jesus healed them all and told them NOT to make Him known. WHY? The reason was prophecy...)
"17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
18 Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry aloud; Neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, And smoking flax shall he not quench, Till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles hope."
(Notice in the following passage from Isaiah 42, "judgment" is translated as "justice" in the Old Testament. Likewise, "judgment unto victory" turns into "justice in truth".)
("1 Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set justice in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.
5 Thus saith God Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6 I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.")
(Remember, Jesus commissioned His disciples to reach Jews. Now Jesus was reaching Gentiles through Offensive Spiritual Warfare...which fulfilled prophecy AND upset the Pharisees. We now have our conflict...)
Matthew chapter 12 began with Jesus teaching the religious leaders of His time about the Sabbath. That teaching exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
The very next teaching also covered the Sabbath and again involved the Pharisees. In today's post, we see that the Pharisees chose to respond to the first teaching by attempting to trap Jesus with the good work Jesus did. The Pharisees attempted to use Jesus' virtue against Him.
So, we have our answer to questions at the end of yesterday's post. The Pharisees responded to correction by becoming WORSE. What Jesus had meant as help to the Pharisees ACTUALLY resulted in the Pharisees becoming WORSE. These religious leaders did NOT confess and repent. They chose to attack Jesus.
In fact, the result of these religious leaders being AGAIN given the opportunity to confess and repent was that they stated their will they intentionally looked for an opportunity to DESTROY Jesus.
In two short stories, the Pharisees' goal had gone from questioning to accusing to destroying Jesus. 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.
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 made them WORSE.
Considering everything Jesus NOW KNEW, would it be Right and Just for Jesus if He had continued to help these people?