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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Matthew's Gospel

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Frameworks: Matthew's Gospel, chapter 12


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)


FRAMEWORKS: Matthew, chapter 12


v.1- 8 Jesus challenged over the Sabbath

v.9-14 Jesus heals on the Sabbath

v.15-21 God's Prophetic Chosen Servant

v.22-29 Jesus and Beelzebul

v.30-32 Blasphemy against the Spirit

v.33-37 Spiritual Realities

v.38-42 The Sign of Jonah

v.43-45 Warning of Enemy Occupation

v.46-50 Jesus' Mother and Brothers



v.1- 8 Jesus challenged over the Sabbath


v.1 (Jesus' disciples pick grain heads on the Sabbath) At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.

v.2 (this upset the Pharisees) When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

v.3 (he cites David) He answered, “Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? [see 1 Sam 21:4-6]

v.4  (David in need had taken the holy bread) He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.

v.5  (priests ‘work' in the temple o the Sabbath) Or haven't you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?

v.6 (something far bigger than the temple is here) I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.

v.7 (you need to really learn the Law) If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' [Hosea 6:6] you would not have condemned the innocent.

v.8 (I am lord of the Sabbath, not it of me) For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”



v.9-14 Jesus heals on the Sabbath


v.9,10 (in the synagogue was a man in need and the ‘opposition' questions Jesus) Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

v.11 (you look after lost sheep on the Sabbath don't you) He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?

v.12 (isn't a needy person more valuable than your sheep?) How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

v.13 (he then healed the man) Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

v.14 (this so upset the Pharisees they plotted howe to get rid of Jesus) But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.



v.15-21 God's Prophetic Chosen Servant


v.15 (because of this Jesus moved away but still kept healing people) Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.

v.16 (he told them not to tell) He warned them not to tell others about him.

v.17 (this was as Isaiah prophesied) This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

v.18 (he is God's servant bring delight to God) “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,   the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him,   and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

v.19 (he won't look for publicity)   He will not quarrel or cry out;   no one will hear his voice in the streets.

v.20 (but a wounded person he will not harm) A bruised reed he will not break,   and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.

v.21 (so in him all peoples will hope) In his name the nations will put their hope.” [Isa 42:1-4]



v.22-29 Jesus and Beelzebul


v.22 (Jesus delivers a possessed man who was blind and mute) Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.

v.23 (the people wonder of he is the Messiah) All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

v.24 (this upsets the Pharisees who say Jesus only does it with Satan's power) But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

v.25 (Jesus challenges this: think about it, a divided kingdom cannot survive) Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

v.26 (if Satan casts out his own his rule won't continue) If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?

v.27 (so if I drive out demons by his power who do you get to do it) And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.

v.28 (but if this is the Holy Spirit, then the kingdom of God is here) But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

v.29 (how can you deliver those in the enemy's house without first disarming him [a reference to his future work on the Cross]) “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.



v.30-32 Blasphemy against the Spirit


v.30 (if you're not with me, you're against me) “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

v.31 (sins can be forgiven except speaking against the Holy Spirit – the work of God) And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

v.32  (speak against me if you will, but not against the works of God) Anyone 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 age to come.



v.33-37 Spiritual Realities


v.33 (again learn from trees: good produce good, bad only produce bad) “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

v.34 (you who speak evil reveal your hearts) You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

v.35 (what comes out is what is inside) A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

v.36 (all will have to give account on Judgment Day) But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

v.37 (your words will acquit or condemn you) For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”



v.38-42 The Sign of Jonah


v.38 (they demand a sign from him) Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

v.39 (the only sign you'll get is that of Jonah) He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

v.40 (as Jonah ‘died' for three days and then was resurrected, so it will be with me) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

v.41 (Nineveh that he went to will testify against you) The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. [see Jonah 3]

v.42 (the Queen of Sheba will similarly testify against you) The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here. [see 1 Kings 10:1-13]



v.43-45 Warning of Enemy Occupation


v.43 (when a demon is cast out, it seeks a new home) “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.

v.44 (if it returns and finds nothing changed, it will take up occupation again) Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.

v.45 (the latter state is seven times worse. The same will be true of this nation that cleaned up after John but never changed) Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”



v.46-50 Jesus' Mother and Brothers


v.46 (Jesus family turn up) While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.

v.47 (Jesus is told) Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

v.48  (he takes the opportunity to ask who is really related to him) He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”

v.49 (he points to his disciples) Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.

v.50 (whoever obeys God will be part of his family) For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”