Matthew 12:43–45 (ESV)
Return of an Unclean Spirit
43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it
comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will
it be with this evil generation.”
In cleaning a house, I have learned that you have to keep cleaning it over and over… or it will go dirty!
I remember being embarrassed at college when a girl came to visit my room and it was a mess. I wouldn’t let her in. She had brought homemade cookies and I was probably 3 shades of red. She finally talked me into letting her in.
She was appalled at the mess. Well… that never happened again. It was probably 3 weeks into my freshman year and my roommate and I decided to come up with a cleaning schedule for our little dorm room. This passed on to our apartment.
To be honest, where we lived was spotless after that. I must admit that it did take work, but we kept the house clean. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “Jesus describes how a person delivered from a demon becomes worse when there is
failure to fill the emptiness with goodness. We can also relapse into old and habitual sins when we fail to nourish our spiritual lives through Word and Sacrament. Only the Holy Spirit can replace the evil spirits that are constantly “seeking someone
to devour” (1Pt 5:8). With words from Luther’s baptismal service, we cry out: “Depart thou unclean spirit and make room for the Holy Spirit” (AE 53:107).”
I pray: Come, Holy Spirit, and make my heart Your dwelling place. Amen.
Matthew 12:38–42 (ESV)
The Sign of Jonah
some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “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 will be given to
it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The
men of Nineveh will rise up 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 rise up 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.
scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus “we wish to see a sign from you.” I say baloney! They have been seeing signs and they still didn’t believe. Jesus doesn’t say baloney, nor does he give them a sign. All we need
is Jesus words. Romans 10:17 states: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Jesus does not give them a miracle, but he gives them the sign Jonah. This sign was back in the Old Testament. Quite frankly…
the scribes and Pharisees have seen plenty of miracles… and notice that they never deny the miracles. They just refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. All we need is his Word.
I pray: O Jesus, you are much greater than Solomon, you are the Son of God. You are the promised Messiah. I don’t need miracles to believe in you, your Word is sufficient. Amen.
A Tree Is Known by 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 person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth
evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We had an interesting Wednesday night service where the subject of Christian witnessing came up. Many times, we are our worst enemy. We proclaim with our mouth our faith, but often display embarassing and unchristian
behavior. Well, this IS what Jesus is talking about. A Christian is to behave as a Christian so that others see Christ in us. If we are anything different, we are not a good tree bearing good fruit. Jesus states "I tell you, on the
day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." This makes me want to stop immediately and repent of my sins and to tell Him I am sorry and
I want to do better. He forgives, and we keep our eyes focused on Christ, who will be forgiving us over and over again as we try to do better.
I pray: O Lord, I repent and want to do
better. Help me to bear good fruit and forgive me when I don't. Amen.
Matthew 12:22–32 (ESV)
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22 Then 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.
I often get asked questions about the “unforgivable sin.” Some think it is suicide. Some have said murder. Some have said blasphemy against God. So which is it??? Well, the last of these is probably the closest.
First of all, what is blasphemy? The Christian Cyclopedia defines blasphemy as: “Speech, thought, writing, or action manifesting irreverence toward God or anything sacred (Ps 74:10, 18; Is 52:5; Rv
16:9, 11, 21).” [Concordia Publishing House].
The following is an excerpt from the Lutheran Witness Q & A (March 2, 2011) states: “Focusing on Jesus’
words (some also see reference to the sin in passages like 1 John 5:16; Heb.6:4–6; 10:26–27), we learn this about the sin: Jesus specifically singles out the sin as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” and speaks of it in distinction
from blasphemy against the Son of Man (Himself). It belongs in a category to be distinguished from all other sins (though these remain gravely serious as well).
Those who commit such blasphemy are guilty of taking
aim directly at the Holy Spirit, reviling and denigrating not only Him but what He does. In the words of Luther’s Small Catechism, the Holy Spirit has “called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the
true faith.” Without the Holy Spirit’s working through God’s Word, repentance and faith are not possible (John 15:26; Acts 5:31–32; Titus 3:5, etc.).”
When you commit this sin against
the Holy Spirit, you have cut off the one who convicts and converts a person to Christ. Committing this sin is like blowing up a bridge and now you can’t go back. I do believe this to be a very difficult sin to commit, and if you think you
have… but are sorry… then you didn’t commit it. The Holy Spirit is still working in you.
I pray: O Lord, grant me patience, Lord, not to quarrel or cry aloud as I share the Gospel
with others. 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; 20 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). [Lutheran
What I find fascinating is that “in his name the Gentiles will hope.” He is not bringing salvation to just the Jews, but also to the Gentiles.
I pray: Grant me patience, Lord, not to quarrel or cry aloud as I share the Gospel with others. Amen.