-The beginning account in this chapter finds the disciples hungry on a Sabbath in grainfields, where they decide it to be appropriate to pick the heads of grain and eat. The Pharisees observed this and began to question the Christ on matters of the traditional law of the Jews pertaining to working on the Sabbath. Jesus makes a theological point with them as to who the Lord of the Sabbath is from the Old Testament Scriptures concerning David and his episode in the eating the consecrated bread in the House of God (1 Samuel 21:6), as well as the custom of the priests in the Temple. He proclaimed that something greater than the Temple was amongst them, and then scolded them to know what it means concerning the fact that God desires “compassion, and not sacrifice” pertaining to innocence (Hosea 6:6). Then He declared the Son of Man (referring to Himself) as the “Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8).” He then proceed to heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath with the point of doing good is always lawful no matter what day of the week it is (Matthew 12:9-13). At this point the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him for destruction (Matthew 12:14). *Application* While we are to honor the Sabbath and keep it a holy, set-apart day for the LORD, the fact that we can do things out of the ordinary and routine to be a blessing and take care of essential needs is also acceptable unto the LORD. The problem with the Pharisees, and can be us as well, was the fact that they had substituted religious ritual for doing the compassionate work of the Kingdom as the need presented itself. Do the righteous work of the Savior no matter what day of the week it is.
-The Pharisees and pious Jews were calling Jesus Beelzebul (literally lord of the flies, dunghill god) trying to say that He was demonic and satanic. Jesus knew their thoughts (proof of His deity, wisdom, and observation skills) and refuted their false claims. A house divided against itself will fail and fall. It is only by a stronger force, the Strong Man, that evil is conquered and vanquished. It makes no logical sense for Satan to fight against his own schemes and devices. Jesus says if He casts out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon them (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20). *Application* The Pharisees and unbelievers will make every excuse not to accept the things of God even when they are presented in factual and rational form. Keep using wisdom in your contention for the faith that the Lord by His Spirit will give you even as Christ had. He will give you the answer to every critic, so don’t ever be anxious (Luke 12:11-12, 2 Corinthians 5:12, Jude 1:3). If they accused Jesus, they will also accuse you. Prepare in prayer.
-More than once Jesus gives the wicked and adulterous generation of scribes and Pharisees, who will be condemned at the judgment, a peak into His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. He compares them with Gentiles from Nineveh in the North and Sheba in the South, who believed when they saw lesser workings and preachings of the Lord and His glory, even seeking it out with long journeys (Luke 11:31-32). Something greater was among them in Jesus Christ the Messiah, yet they could not see His truth because of their hardened hearts drenched in unbelief. They were simply there to test Him and had no intentions of becoming converts to the Kingdom of God (Mark 8:11). They were argumentative and skeptical in His presence rather than reverent and receptive. This had to agitate the King of Glory as He gave His only sign to them with a deep sigh in His Spirit (Mark 8:12). *Application* God knows our hearts and desperately wants us to know Him intimately. The irony here is that Jesus is giving them the greatest sign the world has ever seen in His miraculous resurrection, yet they totally missed it. Make sure you don’t miss it. God is calling for you. Please respond by believing in what He has done. He has given us the sign that He is eternal and can give us eternal life with Him.
-Jesus remarks on true family to those who had gathered to listen to Him speak the words of God, probably in Capernaum. This was not a put off of His earthly mother and brothers. It was a statement of instruction about the true family of God and how to be a part of that family. Matthew and Mark give us that it requires doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21; 12:50, Mark 3:35), while Luke adds that we must hear it and do it (Luke 8:21). *Application* We are called the children of God in the Scriptures (1 John 3:1-3). Being a part of this family is a special privilege that changes everything that we are about. This relationship that God graciously bestows upon us purifies, sanctifies, and in the end glorifies us as redeemed of the LORD. Count your many blessings if you are a part of His Kingdom and live like the saint you are.
Verse to Memorize: Matthew 12:28, 34, 37