Matthew 12: Something greater than Everything

December 7, 2021   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

Matthew 12 Emphasizes the of Jesus and His

  • “Lord of the Sabbath” (Vs. 8)
  • “Greater than the temple” (Vs. 6)
  • “Greater than Solomon” (Vs. 42)
  • “Greater than Jonah” (Vs. 41)

*Remember Matthew 1 genealogy: emphasizing Christ is ultimate Jew, king, and Messiah

Four Main Themes in Mathew 12

    1. Two Challenges: Eating and Healing on the Sabbath

*Matthew first mentions the temple here; and he does so in association to the Sabbath. There is a lot of historical context here.

      1. Eating on Sabbath
        1. Per Jewish Law, Jesus’ disciples broke four Sabbath commands (Reaping, threshing, winnowing, preparing food)
        2. Sabbath means to “cease from creating” / And to “remember it”, not create it
          1. But what does that mean?
        3. Jesus defends with three principles/examples
          1. Human Need is more important than ceremonial obedience (David and the shrewbread -1 Samuel 21)

*I desire Mercy, not sacrifice

*The intent of the gospel to fulfill the law, and intent of the law is love for people!

*Example: Speeding while getting someone to hospital

          1. The priests themselves break the Sabbath (Most hard-working day of the week was Sabbath)
          2. His supremacy (Lord of the Sabbath, greater than the temple)
  1. Great
    1. Gets challenged on eating and healing on the Sabbath
    2. Gets accused of healing by the power of satan
  2. Heavier
    1. As Jesus progresses in ministry, opposition increases
    2. He was disliked for His teaching, but now He claims to be bigger than the prophets, kings, and the temple itself
    3. Here is the first time they begin to plot to kill Jesus
    1. If the Romans blamed Christians for Roman plight, and Jews blamed Christians for destruction of temple, than what do Christians think about the temple destruction?
      1. Christ’s mission was for people, and the 1st century church was still anchored on a place
      2. Jesus uses the analogy of Jonah and queen of Sheba to demonstrate His point. Matthew highlights this because he is encouraging his audience to go to the gentiles and stop sulking over the temple or the synagogues (Sadducee and Pharisee systems) and focus on people (Gospel system)

*If Jonah could lead an entire gentile city to repentance, and Solomon could convert a queen, then what can Jesus, who is “greater than Jonah” and “greater than Solomon” do? He highlights that God’s mission has always been to be a light to the nations (mission of Israel, mission of Jonah, mission of church, mission of Jesus)

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

He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 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. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[] you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man 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, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

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? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! 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.

  • Observation: The intention of the gospel is to satisfy the law. The intent of the law was love for people. Similarly, the Sabbath laws were meant to ensure that God’s love for His people would not be interrupted by the over-eagerness to work more than they should. Jesus was attacking the way it had become so powerful a system that people who agitated the strict Sabbath observance had forgotten what the intent of the law was – God’s love.
  • Question: What are some examples in church of things or rules seeming to matter more than people?
  • How does Jesus communicate to the Pharisees that not only do people matter more than things, but also that Jesus matters more than the temple and their system of laws?
  • Question: The temple (God’s place) and Sabbath (God’s time) was the center of Jewish life and identity (God’s people). So why does Jesus’ words provoke such a violent response in the Pharisee’s that they plot to kill Jesus?

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

18 “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.
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.”

  • Question: Here, Jesus quotes Isaiah 42 which speaks of a mysterious figure God calls “my servant.” This figure will bring God’s blessing and justice to the world. How is the servant to accomplish his task?
  • Question: Isaiah 42 says, “He will not quarrel or cry out.” This tells us HOW Jesus conducted ministry. He did not seek confrontation, nor did He boast or parade Himself; rather remained intent on the heart of His mission: PEOPLE! What are some examples of modern ministry where we “quarrel or cry out” in our conduct?

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. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

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

25 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. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people 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 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. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 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 or in the age to come.

  • Observation: Jesus’ healings were not the kind of healings that a magician could trick through brilliant artistry nor were they long, drawn out healings like a good doctor. Rather, they were immediate, incredible, and even illogical. Therefore, He was operating from one of two powers: Satan or God.
  • Question: How does Jesus counter the charge that he is in league with demonic forces?
  • Question: What does it mean to “Speak against the Spirit”?

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. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks 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.”

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

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. 40 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. 41 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. 42 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. 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. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

  • Question: How were the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-10) and the queen of the south/Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13) different from Jesus’ opponents?
  • Question: Jonah brought a message of repentance or destruction, and he converted an entire city of gentiles. If Jesus, who is “greater than Jonah” and carries a message of repentance for forgiveness and the Kingdom of heaven (same message as John the Baptist), heals, raises the dead, and casts out demons; then how much more effective will the gospel be to the gentiles?!
  • Observation: Jesus’ opponents as Him for a “sign” or a clue to prove who He is. They entirely missed that HE was the sign! So, He gives them nothing else than the sign of His resurrection and burial. He also accuses them of not being able to spot the clues because they were too busy with their own agendas and intentions.
  • Question: How can our own agendas, priorities, and intentions cloud us to what God is saying to us, or where God is leading us?

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers 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 is my brother and sister and mother.”

  • Observation: This is not meant to be a slight to Jesus’ family; rather a compliment to His disciples. At this point, pressure is mounting against Jesus. He is being opposed, accused, and challenged in every way. Where many would break at this point in ministry, Jesus remains steadfast. However, He is recognizing those who remained faithful to Him when so many oppose Him. Those truly faithful are His family.
  • Question: Does it touch you to hear Jesus show His appreciation for the faithful? What have been some blessings or rewards for you being part of Jesus’ family?


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