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LESSON 12B

Matthew Chapter 12 Part B

Don Stewart Photo Don Stewart
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Matt. 12:41 The men of Nineveh will stand up against this generation at the judgment and they will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here.
The men of Nineveh will stand up against this generation at the judgment and they will condemn it, These Gentiles responded where the Jews did not.

because they repented at the preaching of Jonah,
They repented at the preaching of a Jewish prophet.

and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here.
One greater than a prophet has come to the Jews and given them signs, yet they, the chosen people, still refuse to believe.

We note the following contrasts between the men of Nineveh and the people of Jesus' day.
1. The Son of God or a simple human messenger. Jesus was God's Son who called them to repentance while the people of Nineveh were sent a human prophet—Jonah.
2. The sinless Savior or a rebellious prophet.
Jesus, the messenger, was the sinless Son of God. Contrast this with the foolish and rebellious Jonah who ran away from God's calling (Jonah 1:3; 4:1-3,9b).
3.A message of salvation and grace or condemnation and judgment. Jesus message was one of salvation, grace, and forgiveness while the message of Jonah consisted of judgment with no word about grace or the possibility of repentance.
4. Signs that confirmed the message or the word of the prophet alone. Jesus backed up His message by a sufficient number of miracles as well as fulfilling prophecy. Jonah performed no miracles.
5. People who had spiritual advantages compared to those who had none. The message of Jesus came to the Jews who were in an advantageous position having the word of God already given to them. Jonah addressed a group of people who had none of the tradition and history of the Jews.

The people of Nineveh received Jonah's prophetic message of doom and repented. Yet with all the advantages the Jews had they rejected Jesus' message of grace and forgiveness. This is why they will condemn the evil generation that rejected Jesus.
Matt. 12:42 The Queen of the South will rise up against this generation in the judgment and she will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, one greater than Solomon is here.
The Queen of the South will rise up in judgment against this generation Another Gentile is highlighted by Matthew.

and she will condemn it
Like Nineveh the Queen of Sheba will testify against this generation.

because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
She came to Solomon rather than Solomon coming to her.

and behold, one greater than Solomon is here.
One who is greater than the great king.

We can also make a comparison between the Queen of Sheba and the people of Jesus' day.
1. Truth came to them versus seeking the truth. Jesus came to His own (John 1:12) as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The word of God was right there in their presence. On the other hand, the Queen of Sheba endured the hardships of a long journey (approximately 1,200 miles) to hear the wisdom of Solomon.
2. A wise king or the wisest King. The Queen of Sheba came to listen to a wise man who taught the wisdom of God. The people in Jesus' day had God Himself teach them the truth.
3. Giving or Taking. The Queen of Sheba gave a large part of her wealth to Solomon as a reflection of her thankfulness for what she learned. The people of Jesus' day gave Him nothing, rather they took His life.
4. Spiritual advantages or disadvantages. Like the people of Nineveh, the Queen of Sheba was in a spiritually disadvantaged state, yet she found her way to Solomon. With all the advantages the Jews had, including the Scripture in front of them, they still refused to accept Jesus and His message.
5. Invitation versus own initiative.
The people of Jesus' day were invited to come to Him and believe His message. There is no indication that the Queen of Sheba was invited to visit Solomon.
6. Objective evidence or simple testimony. He backed up His claims with miracles and fulfilled prophecy.

With all this going for them, the people of Jesus refused to believe in Him while the Queen of Sheba came and listened to the message of Solomon.
The Return Of The Evil Spirit (12:43-45)
Jesus gives a parable of an evil spirit returning to where it came from.

Matt. 12:43
Now when the unclean spirit comes out from the man, it passes through the waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it.
Now when the unclean spirit comes out from the man, Refers to a demon spirit that has been exorcised.

it passes through the waterless places, seeking rest,
What are the waterless places

and does not find it.
This statement seems to prove that a demon cannot enter into anyone he desires.? Matt. 12:44 Then it says, 'I will return into my house from where I came out.' And when it comes it will find it unoccupied, swept clean, and put in order.'
Note on variant readings: Some manuscripts read the house instead of it. A few manuscripts including Sinaiticus have and before swept clean.
Then it says, 'I will return into my house from where I came out.' And when it comes it will find it unoccupied, swept clean, and put in order.' It is not the same as when it left it.
Matt. 12:45 Then it goes, and takes along with it seven spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last condition of that man becomes worst than the first. This is the way it will be with this evil generation.
Then it goes, and takes along with it seven spirits more evil than itself, More evil spirits join.

and they go in and live there
They live with the man.

and the last condition of that man becomes worst than the first. This is the way it will be with this evil generation.
The nation will be worse off because of their rejection of Jesus.
Jesus And His Family (12:46-50)

The family of Jesus wants to see Him.  Jesus responds by telling the multitudes who His true family is.

Matt. 12:46
While He was still speaking to the crowd, behold, His mother and His brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.
Note on a variant reading: Instead of seeking to speak with Him. a couple of manuscripts (including Sinaiticus) have of His disciples. While He was still speaking to the crowd, This now occurs as He is speaking.

behold, His mother and His brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.
His mother, brothers, and sisters will come up again in 13:56. Notice no father. Matt. 12:47 And a certain one said to Him, Behold, Your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak with You.
Note on a textual variant: Some manuscripts (including Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) do not have this verse.

And a certain one said to Him, Behold Your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak with You.
Now Jesus is told of His family waiting for Him. Matt. 12:48 He answered and said to the one speaking to Him, Who is My mother. and who are My brothers?
Note on a variant reading: Codex Vaticanus reads brothers not My brothers.
He answered and said to the one speaking to Him, Who is My mother. and who are My brothers? Who is His real family? Matt. 12:49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, Behold, My mother and My brothers.
Note on a variant reading: A couple of manuscripts (including Sinaiticus) do not have His.
And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, Behold, My mother and My brothers. Believers have closer ties than blood relatives. Matt. 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, He himself is My brother and My sister and My mother.
Note on a variant reading: Instead of whoever does or may do one manuscript reads is doing. Some  manuscripts  read will do.
For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, He himself is My brother and My sister and My mother. The family of God is a spiritual family, not based upon physical relationships.
Summary to Chapter 12
Jesus promised rest to all those who would come to Him (11:28-30). In the first section (vss. 1-14) He reveals that those who receive Him and His teaching will be free of man-made regulations (like those imposed for the Sabbath). On a particular Sabbath His hungry disciples picked a few heads of grains while walking through the grain fields. The Pharisees, who were watching them closely, blamed Jesus for His disciples violation of the Sabbath traditions. Jesus went through a point by point rejection of their argument declaring Himself to be Lord of the Sabbath. Indeed, on the Sabbath He heals a man with a shriveled hand. He reasons that if they could rescue a sheep who had fallen into a pit on the Sabbath, it is much more important to help a man in need. The reaction of the Pharisees was to form a plot to put Him to death.

Though Jesus performed this and other great miracles, it was not His desire to be known merely as a miracle worker. As the next section of Matthew reveals (15-21) Jesus is the Chosen Servant who is humble in nature.

The next section (22-37) finds another needy person brought to Jesus—a demon-possessed man who could not see or speak. Jesus performed a triple miracle on him causing the people to ask aloud if He indeed was the Messiah. The Pharisees gave their authoritative answer—not only was Jesus not the Messiah, His power to drive out the demons came from the ruler of the demons. Jesus responded by showing the absurdity of their argument and warned them and others of committing the unpardonable sin—the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

We find the Pharisees representing the denunciation of Jesus (vs. 38-45) and in partnership with the scribes, they asked Jesus to show them a sign. Jesus told them the only sign they would receive would be that of the prophet Jonah—Jesus' resurrection from the dead on the third day. Jesus went to say that the people of Nineveh will condemn these religious leaders on the day of judgment seeing that they repented as a result of Jonah's preaching—one who is less in stature than the person they are plotting to kill.

Like the man with the evil spirit who later becomes possessed with seven other spirits, the Jewish people are descending further into condemnation by following the lead of the scribes and Pharisees in renouncing Jesus.

The final part of this chapter deals with the attempt of his mother and brothers to see Him. This gives Jesus the occasion to reveal who His genuine family is—those who do the will of God.