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Plucking Grain on the Sabbath

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”

The Man with a Withered Hand

And he went on from there, and entered their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, whole like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him.[a]

God’s Chosen Servant

15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all, 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
    nor will any one hear his voice in the streets;
20 he will not break a bruised reed
    or quench a smoldering wick,
till he brings justice to victory;
21     and in his name will the Gentiles hope.”

Jesus and Beelzebul

22 Then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it they said, “It is only by Be-el′zebul,[b] the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; 26 and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Be-el′zebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.[c] 32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree and Its Fruit

33 “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Sign of Jonah

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nin′eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

The Return of the Unclean Spirit

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.”

The True Kindred of Jesus

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren[d] stood outside, asking to speak to him.[e] 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?”[f] 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brethren! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Footnotes

  1. 12.14 The Pharisees regarded healing as work and so forbade it on the sabbath.
  2. 12.24 Beel-zebul: Name of a Canaanite god meaning “the Prince-god.” The Jews interpreted this name as “Prince of demons,” because for them all false gods were demons. The form “Beel-zebub” is a contemptuous adaptation meaning “Lord of the flies.”
  3. 12.31 To attribute to the devil the works of the Holy Spirit seems to imply a hardness of heart that precludes repentance.
  4. 12.46 brethren: The Greek word or its Semitic equivalent was used for varying degrees of blood relationship; cf. Gen 14.14; 29.12; Lev 10.4.
  5. Matthew 12:46 Other ancient authorities insert verse 47, Some one told him, “Your mother and your brethren are standing outside, asking to speak to you”
  6. 12.48 Jesus puts the work of salvation before family relationships. It is not said, however, that he refused to see them.

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath(A)(B)

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain(C) and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”(D)

He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?(E) 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.(F) Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath(G) and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.(H) If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a](I) you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man(J) is Lord of the Sabbath.”

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

11 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?(M) 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!(N) Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 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. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.(O)

God’s Chosen Servant

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.(P) 16 He warned them not to tell others about him.(Q) 17 This was to fulfill(R) what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;(S)
I will put my Spirit on him,(T)
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name the nations will put their hope.”[b](U)

Jesus and Beelzebul(V)

22 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.(W) 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”(X)

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul,(Y) the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”(Z)

25 Jesus knew their thoughts(AA) and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan(AB) drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul,(AC) by whom do your people(AD) drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God(AE) has come upon you.

29 “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.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.(AF) 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.(AG) 32 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(AH) or in the age to come.(AI)

33 “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.(AJ) 34 You brood of vipers,(AK) how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks(AL) what the heart is full of. 35 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. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”(AM)

The Sign of Jonah(AN)(AO)

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

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.(AR) 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish,(AS) so the Son of Man(AT) will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.(AU) 41 The men of Nineveh(AV) will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah,(AW) and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came(AX) from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 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. 45 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.(AY) That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers(AZ)

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother(BA) and brothers(BB) stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven(BC) is my brother and sister and mother.”

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 12:7 Hosea 6:6
  2. Matthew 12:21 Isaiah 42:1-4

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