Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 12

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-23

27 See Joh_3:35 ; Joh_17:2 .

28 It is this God-consciousness, this recognition of His hand in all things, and more especially in that which is opposed to His apparent will, which gives His slaves heart's ease and rest in spirit. This is especially needed in days of apostasy. When we see the success of His enemies, the failure of His friends, when His own are enmeshed in the delusions of the last days, shall we blame those who must bear this load as they toil? How hard it is for their pride to be involved failure! How great the temptation to throw off the yoke and insure success by methods of their own! O that they would learn to yoke themselves with Him, to bow humbly beneath the failure that is according to God's underlying purpose! Then they will acquiesce when He blinds, as well as when He blesses. Then the yoke will no longer gall, and the load will float from their aching shoulders. The false thought that failure is not of God and that success is His hall mark, has led His saints to imagine that any flagrant disobedience to His will is fully justified if it only results in apparent success. Let us remember that He has characterized these as days of apostasy, so that it is His will that many should depart from the faith, and, consequently, great success may result in great loss to any slave of His who does not contend lawfully. Our business is to please God by suffering rejection along with Him.

1-8 Compare Mar_2:23-28 ; Luk_6:1-5 . See Deu_23:25 .

1-8 One of the most significant points in many of the miracles accomplished by our Lord is the fact that they were done on the sabbath. How else could He indicate the great truth that, when Israel is cured of all her ills, it would introduce that great sabbatism which is left for the people of God? Instead of stumbling them, it should have proved His Messianic claims. Moreover, the law of the sabbath was not operative in the sanctuary, and He was the real Temple of God.

3 See Lev_24:5-9 ; 1Sa_21:1-6 .

5 See Num_28:9-10 Joh_7:22-23 .

7 See Mat_9:13 ; Hos_6:6 ; Mic_6:6-8 .

9-13 Compare Mar_3:1-5 ; Luk_6:6-10 . See Luk_13:10-17 ; Luk_14:1-6 ; Joh_9:16 .

10 Israel is the man with the withered hand. Instead of being punctilious about doing good on the sabbath, they should have been concerned with the fact that they could not work for God on any day. They will not be healed until the millennial rest, during which they wi11 be busy “breaking” the sabbath.

11 See Exo_23:4-5 ; Deu_22:4 .

Mat_14:21 Compare Mar_3:6-12 ; Luk_6:11 ; Luk_6:17-19 .

16 Hitherto He wished to be known, but now He enters a new phase of His ministry, in accord with the fact that God had hid His proclamation from those who would have made it effective. Before this His voice was heard in the squares, so that Isaiah's prophecy could not be truly applied to Him then. Now, however, He is given a special token of God's approbation, not because He has succeeded, but because He has been faithful in failure. It is especially precious to appreciate the comforting fact that God preferred Him and delighted in Him when all the signs indicated that His marvelous ministry was almost unheeded. Only a crushed reed here, or a smouldering flax there, were the results of His efforts. Contrite hearts and feeble flickers of faith were all He could show, when His message, humanly speaking, should have aroused the whole nation and made them His ardent disciples.

18 Compare Isa_42:1-4 .

22-23 Compare Luk_11:14 .

22 It is a fact that all human ills have come to the race through the interference of outside malignant spirit forces. Satan introduced sin through Adam. He Who is superior to these invading forces is capable of curing all the ills which man is heir to.

24 Compare Mar_3:22-26 .

25 See Mat_9:4 ; Joh_2:24-25 ; Rev_2:23 .

Verses 24-41

24 It is usual to associate this chief of the demons with the god of Ekron, called Baalzebub, Owner or Lord of Flies ( 2Ki_1:2 ). This the Septuagint renders Baal muian, Baal fly . But all the Greek texts have a different ending - boul . This is supposed to be derived from a Rabbinic word meaning dung. But it is not likely that a god Ekron should be the chief of the demons, though doubtless he was one of them ( 1Co_10:20 ). There is a Hebrew verb zabal ( Gen_30:20 ) which means reside . It may be that the name of the chief of the demons is Owner-residence, the equivalent of Master of the house . Our Lord calls him a householder ( Mat_10:25 ). There is no real reason for identifying him with Satan, but rather, like Apollyon, he seems to be subordinate, though head of that division of Satan's kingdom which includes the demons.

29 Compare Mar_3:27 ; Luk_11:21-22 . See Isa_49:24 ; Isa_53:12 .

30 Compare Luk_11:23 . See Luk_9:50 .

31-32 Compare Mar_3:28-30 ; Luk_12:10 .

31 The blasphemy of the Spirit consists in attributing the works of Christ, done by the power of God's Spirit, to demons or unclean spirits. As these works were the means used to produce repentance and pardon, and this was essential for entrance into the kingdom, it is readily seen that pardon is quite impossible in such a case. The time, however, is limited to this eon or the coming eon of the kingdom. Eventually, all mankind will be far more than pardoned. They will be justified ( Rom_5:18 ) and reconciled ( Col_1:20 ). But this will not take place until a full con later, when the kingdom is given over to the Father ( 1Co_15:24 ). We cannot commit the sin against the holy Spirit because our salvation not based on miracles and signs. It follows faith, not sight. And we are not pardoned, but justified ( Rom_3:24 ; Rom_3:26 ). Condemnation is impossible ( Rom_8:1 ). Moreover, we are explicitly told that, in the latter eras, some will be withdrawing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teaching of demons. Any spirit manifestation in perfect accord with the scriptures should be given the most severe tests, lest we be among those who are deceived by them.

33-37 Compare Luk_6:43-45 . See Joh_3:6 ; Joh_3:739

What sign can be given to those who attribute His wonderful works to the agency of the demons? No sign shall be given them. They, instead, will provide themselves with a sign by murdering the Messiah. His death, entombment and resurrection is the only sign He will give them. Briefly, they will have one more opportunity to repent after He has been roused from the dead. This is given them in the Pentecostal era.

38 Compare Mar_8:11-12 Joh_2:18-22 . See 1Co_1:22-23 .

39-40 Compare Luk_11:29-30 .

40 Twelve times in the four accounts of our Lord's life we read that He would be roused “the third day”. When speaking to Romans it is twice “after three days”. Here only, quoting from the Hebrew, it is “three days and three nights”. The designation of time varies much in all languages. Hebrew chronology always counts the smallest part of a year or a clay as a whole. The twelve times repeated testimony of our Lord, besides Peter ( Act_10:40 ), and Paul ( 1Co_15:4 ), shows that “the third day” is a literal and this phrase an idiomatic expression.

40 In Jonah this sea monster is called a large fish. The Greek name is now used as a scientific term for sea mammals, such as the whale. We are not told what species of sea monster it was, nor is there any good reason why we should know. Among the Greeks there was a tradition that it was a shark. There is a species in the Mediterranean some of which are so large that a man could stand upright in their outstretched throat. Men have been found whole in their stomachs. There are marine monsters in the depths of the sea, which are seldom seen. These are so large that they could swallow several mere at one time. It is said that an English seaman, thrown into the water when a gigantic sperm whale capsized the boat, was given up for drowned. But two days later, when the whale was cut up, he was found in the stomach of the sea monster, unconscious, but alive. He recovered completely. In some ways this is more remarkable than Jonah's case, for his sea monster had been specially prepared for his reception.

41 Compare Luk_11:32 . See Jon_3:1-.

42 Compare Luk_11:31 . See 1Ki_10:1 ; 2Ch_9:1 .

Verses 42-50

42 “The ends of the earth,” an expression which does not include the sea, would describe any location on Eurasia or Africa not far from the further coast line.

43-45 Compare Luk_11:24-26

43 Actual idolatry had no place in Israel. That evil spirit had been cast out since the captivity. They were like the empty house, for the spirit of God had not displaced the unclean spirit. Though untenanted, like the temple on Moriah's mount, they kept to the outward form of cleansing and ceremony. But during the time of the end they will receive the false christ and will worship the miracle-working image, and bring down upon the apostates the judgments of the bowls ( Rev_15:5-8 ; Rev_16:1-21 ).

46-50 Compare Mar_3:31-35 ; Luk_8:19-21 . See Mat_13:55 ; Mar_6:3 ; Joh_2:127:3 ; Joh_2:5 Act_1:14 ; 1Co_9:5 ;

Gal_1:19 .

46 This is not intended to show disrespect and disregard for His own family. Rather it is brought up just at this juncture to indicate the change coming over His ministry. He no longer recognizes a merely physical relationship.

1-9 Compare Mar_4:1-9 ; Luk_8:4-8 .

1 The action is significant, and corresponds with His repudiation of His relatives. He takes Himself outside the artificial Jewish system. Though vast throngs come, He does, not proclaim the nearness of the kingdom but speaks so they cannot comprehend, concealing His meaning in parables. His subject is still the kingdom, but He is concerned with its past and future history, not its present proclamation. He utters secrets hitherto unrevealed, which even His own disciples could not understand.

3-5 See verses 18 to 21.

3 The removal of the kingdom to a distance in time is indicated by comparing it with the sowing and growing and harvesting of a crop. Had it still been imminent, He would not have called Himself a Sower, but a Reaper, as in the Unveiling, when the kingdom is about to appear ( Rev_14:14 ). The Lord is Himself the Sower, and the parable gives us the results of His past ministry. It shows us why His proclamation had not swept the whole nation into the kingdom. We must now wait until the sowing is ready for the harvest. The picture presented is true to the life of the Orient. The unfenced fields were allotted to farmers, and the roads ran right through the grain, so that it was quite impossible to avoid sowing some on the hard ground. There were often outcroppings of the country rock and shallow soil near it, and in many places thorns were so thick that the farmers despaired of eradicating them. As their soil, so the people. It takes the sun and rain of heaven to change the rocks into fertile soil. The heart of the people was still hard. It will take the storms of persecution and the fire of affliction to prepare it for the kingdom of Christ.

7-8 See verses 22 and 23.

10-13 Compare Mar_4:10-13 ; Luk_8:9-10 .

11 It cannot be too strongly emphasized that our Lord's parables were not intended to explain, but to mystify. He veiled His message in figures lest they should understand.

12 Compare Mar_4:24-25 ; Luk_8:18 .

12 This somewhat enigmatic statement must be understood in connection with its context. Our Lord's disciples had received spiritual gifts which enabled them to receive more. Those who had not believed on Him had no means of receiving what He was now dispensing, for they had no spiritual discernment. Not only would they lose these spiritual benefits but, as a result of the national apostasy, they would also lose the privileges which they had as the people of God.

14 This quotation from the sixth chapter of Isaiah is quoted more frequently than any other passage from the prophets. It occurs at the two great crises in the spiritual history of Israel, the rejection of the kingdom ministry of Christ, and the repudiation of its renewal by the holy spirit in Acts ( Act_28:25-27 ). It always marks the cessation of the evangel of the kingdom, seeking to open their eyes, but to blind them. After Paul's pronunciation of Israel's doom the kingdom proclamation ceased. The history of the kingdom ended. It will not be resumed until the present administration of God's grace, in which the evangel goes direct to the nations apart from Israel's mediacy, is finished. Then once more the evangel will not only go to Israel, but through them to all the nations.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 12". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-12.html. 1968.
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