Matthew 12:22–32 (ESV)
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the 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 Beelzebul, 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 Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will 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 someone 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 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me
scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks 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.
The Pharisees claim that Beelzebul,
the prince of demons, has enabled Jesus to overpower demons. This leads Jesus to declare: “Whoever is not with Me is against Me” (v 30). One cannot be neutral in spiritual matters. To be indifferent or apathetic about Jesus is to be on the side
of those who refuse to confess that He is the Messiah. He alone saves the world from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
I pray: Lord Jesus Christ,
continue to send Your Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament to strengthen my faith in You as my only Savior. Amen.
Matthew 12:15–21 (ESV)
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
fulfill 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 will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Jesus, the Servant
of the Lord, proclaimed justice to all nations, a justice that rightfully condemns sinners. Yet Jesus fulfilled the demands of that justice by His perfect life and innocent death on the cross. We, Christ’s present-day ambassadors, do well to follow His
example as we proclaim His message. We will not save anyone by being argumentative and quarrelsome. The Gospel of Christ alone is the power of God for salvation (Rm 1:16).
I pray: Grant me patience, Lord, not to quarrel or cry aloud as I share the Gospel with others. Amen.
Matthew 12:9–14 (ESV)
A Man with a Withered Hand
9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there 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, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take 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, healthy like the other. 14 But
the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
The Pharisees’ eagerness to find fault with Jesus is a common sin. Jesus warns His
disciples about seeing the speck in another’s eye while overlooking the log in one’s own eye (7:3–5). That Jesus was the victim of false accusations is another example of how He took on Himself the sins of the world. Though we have many faults,
for which we deserve condemnation, He has washed them all away by His innocent suffering and death.
I pray: Dearest Jesus, forgive me for the times I unlovingly
find fault with others. Move me to do good as You have done good for me. Amen.
Matthew 12:1–8 (ESV)
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him,
“Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 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? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests
in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’
you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
God’s purpose in giving
the Sabbath law was to provide physical rest for His people. But those in Jesus’ day who tried to follow all the Sabbath regulations imposed by the Pharisees found that the law had become a heavy burden, a yoke on their necks. We keep the Sabbath Day
holy when “we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it” (SC, p xxxv). Jesus offers true rest, the yoke of the Gospel (11:29–30).
I pray: Loving Savior, keep me from quibbling about trivial things and from neglecting Your Word. Amen.
Matthew 11:25–30 (ESV)
Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes,
Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal
him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The thing hidden from the wise and understanding is God’s
gracious plan of salvation, the message that both Jesus and John the Baptist proclaimed. Jesus’ contemporaries by and large rejected Him, preferring to live under the heavy yoke of the Law as the way to salvation. Jesus invites us to receive the yoke
of the Gospel, which guarantees true rest.
I pray: Dearest Jesus, I praise You that when I am yoked to You, no burden is too heavy. Amen.