Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Matthew Chapter 12

In this chapter we have Jesus entering into dialogue with the ruling Jewish authorities in Galilee. We often hear of three groups of Jewish authorities that were in opposition to Jesus. We have the Pharisees were a religious sect who practiced strict adherence to the Mosaic Law that is the cornerstone of the Old Covenant given to Yahweh through Moses.  Then we have the Sadducees; they were the elite and aristocratic religious sect that, while differing from the Pharisees had one thing in common with them: a unease about this Jesus from Nazareth who was teaching something totally different from the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Finally, we have Scribes. They were experts in the Law of Moses and were quite strict in their interpretation and application of it. Whenever Jesus did something that violated the Law, like what we have in vv. 1-14, it would have been the Scribes and Pharisees who would have been the first to call Jesus out of the proverbial carpet.

As part of his run in with the Pharisees Jesus then reveals a little bit more of who he is by contrasting himself with Beelzebul. In this particular allegory that Jesus uses in vv. 22-32 it’s important to recognize that the strong man is Beelzebul (aka, the Evil One, Satan, etc.). The one who breaks in to the strong man’s house and steals his goods has to be strong than him.  So, in this parable, Jesus is stronger than the strong man!

Furthermore, we have this rather cryptic saying about the ‘sign of Jonah’ and ‘the greatness of Solomon’ (vv. 38-42).  Remember the story of Jonah and the whale and the town of Nineveh. The Jews were heard Jesus say this would have remember the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. Go back to the Book of Jonah and get a refresher- it’s a short chapter and the message is clear.

Point for Prayer
In vv. 46-50 Jesus teaches about true kinship with him. Read those verses again and ask the Lord to increase in your heart a kindred spirit to him and the message he preaches.

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