Skip to main content

Who Repents? Matthew 12

In Summary:

Matthew 12 opens with an incident in a field. Jesus and the disciples are passing through a field and, in line with Deuteronomy 23:24-25, the disciples pluck a few heads of grain, roll them in their hands, and eat. It was not stealing, and it was not wrong. Except they did this on the Sabbath.

Which leads into a discussion about the Sabbath laws and how God designed the Sabbath for a purpose. Excessive legalism, Jesus points out, was not that purpose. The following events show Jesus healing on the Sabbath, which is another violation of the technical rules the Pharisees had added to the Fourth Commandment (see Exodus 20:8-11.) The first question here is whether or not Jesus knows what the Ten Commandments (and the rest of the Law) meant. The Pharisees have their doubts about that. Jesus was around when the Law was written, though, so I’d side with His understanding.

We then see Jesus heal a demon-possessed man, which would be cause for celebration for any reasonable people. We’re dealing with Pharisees here, though, so reasonable is something to be hoped for rather than a certainty. The Pharisees here (and we can hope they are not representative of all the Pharisees ever) find that Jesus must be up to something with the demons rather than being against the demons. Jesus highlights the nonsense of that statement. This pairs with His declaration that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be tolerated—here we see Jesus show where His true allegiance is. He is part of the unbreakable reality that is the Triune God.

In Focus:

Let us take a close look at Matthew 12:38-39 today. First, see what the scribes and the Pharisees want. They want a sign. Essentially, they want to see Jesus perform a miracle to show that He’s legitimate. This comes after the Pharisees have condemned not one but two miracles in recent events.

Jesus turns the tables on them and points out that others have repented and believed with far fewer signs. He selects the city of Nineveh as one example—the capital of Assyria had, after all, repented at the simple preaching of Jonah. Jesus then points His accusers to the Queen of the South (the Queen of Sheba from 1 Kings 10) and highlights how she responded to Solomon’s wisdom. In both cases, the thought is finished with the statement that something greater than what those heathens had available is now here. This is also in 12:6 in reference to the Temple—some “thing” greater is here, and that “thing” is the Lamb of God.

The Israelites should have responded. They had the background information which neither Assyria nor Sheba had, the background relationship with God, and then they have God Himself present. Instead, they demand more signs. Jesus states unequivocally they will get one sign, and it is His resurrection.

In Practice:

It behooves us to pull a few practical points from this chapter. First and foremost: are we really any different in our asking God for signs about Jesus? Really? Very often we still want a sign. God, I’ll believe if…even in churches. We’ll believe we’re obeying if we see success. We’ll believe that someone is saved if they shape up and look like a traditional Baptist. We’ll think this…

But the sign we should depend on is the one we already have: He is risen!

Then, let us consider how we evaluate what God has done. We have one criterion to use, and it’s this: does it match with what God has said? Not whether it fits our likes and dislikes, but whether or not it conforms to God’s revealed word. If it does, then that should be all we need.

Let us stop being particular about the traditions of man, like not healing on the Sabbath, and focus on the Greater One who is here, now.

In Nerdiness: 

For all the nerds out there: take Matthew 12:36 to heart and think about useless and careless words. We tend to use them, and we ought not.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Sermon Recap for October 14

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!