Why do we make things so complicated? – 1-18-22

Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” Matthew 12:18-21 NKJV

Matthew refers to Isaiah here. He is always searching for the old prophecies that Jesus fulfilled which include the gentiles so that the Jews could understand what is happening. Remember their temple and city was just destroyed, the Jewish people in mass are rejecting Jesus, and those who are not are see the signs and wonders and works happening in the gentiles! God’s ways are not our ways – but Matthew keeps trying to show them that they were foretold and God is still in control.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 12 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple [a]profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord [b]even of the Sabbath.”

Healing on the Sabbath

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.

11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

Behold, My Servant

15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great [c]multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

A House Divided Cannot Stand

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the [d]blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by [e]Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood[f] of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure [g]of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For 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 in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

An Unclean Spirit Returns

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Send for Him

46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Footnotes

  1. a.Matthew 12:5 desecrate
  2. b.Matthew 12:8 NU, M omit even
  3. c.Matthew 12:15 NU brackets multitudes as disputed.
  4. d.Matthew 12:22 NU omits blind and
  5. e.Matthew 12:24 NU, M Beelzebul, a Philistine deity
  6. f.Matthew 12:34 Offspring
  7. g.Matthew 12:35 NU, M omit of his heart

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Well – there is a LOT in today’s reading. Matthew really packed it in there! So let us just right in.

We start with Jesus’s disciples picking grain and eating it – then Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath. You may ask what is wrong with that. Let us look back ward.  God created a covenant with the Jews (not Gentiles) were one of His rules to the covenant was not to work on the Sabbath but to keep it Holy.
“‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” Lev. 23:3 NKJV

This gives me so many questions God – These are farmers, that is there job. Do they NOT feed the animals? Do they NOT clean the pens? Do they NOT rescue the stray? If I lion or bear comes for their flock, do they not fight it off because it is the Sabbath? Don’t the women work, cooking up a Sabbath meal? And clean? And if someone in the family is bedridden and sick, do they NOT tend to them? 

Here is the GOD AWFUL TRUTH: God is simple and freeing and man is complicated and binding. Because man is under the curse until saved… and even then sometimes man holds on to complicated and oppressing practices. (Many are calling this the spirit of religion.) You see God meant, take a day to show hospitality and sing and enjoy your family and friends. He meant relax a little.  The Sadducees and Pharisees added Rabbinical Law to the Levitical Law. Man making it more restrictive and more impossible to follow. Jesus NEVER broke Levitical Law! Never. He was perfect. He DID blatantly break the restrictive and ungodly law of man. Jesus cam to fulfil the Atonement Laws not to break the covenant God had with His people. So Jews must continue to observe the Sabbath. I am a gentile and I am under a new covenant – speaking of man adding restrictions: I hear people tell me I cannot work on the Sabbath. But Besides this blog, I own my on business and it is a new business and I need to.  I am under NO obligation to God to take Saturday off. Besides as a gentile I go to church on the resurrection day not the Sabbath. I also understand the principle behind a day of rest and I do schedule in rest.  But it is more restful to spend an hour every day preparing my marketing for the next, then to sit down and do it all for the week. And someone has to write this blog, it doesn’t write itself. Lol

“Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matt 12:6-8

Jesus says so many profound things in these simple sentences. We couple cross reference the Temple and spend all day here. But one point would be that under the new covenant with the Jews and Gentiles – WE are the temple of the Holy Spirit and He is greater than the temple!
Then the “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” is so commonly confused. Like we understand He is saying to have mercy – but where does the sacrifice come in? See – this IS the new covenant! He is saying HE fulfills the Atonement Law.  I mean he still requires sacrifice which is now obedience. We sacrifice our own will and obediently follow His will. He is not speaking of obedience. He is speaking of temple sacrifices. Again, He did start the passage with the temple.  I get so frustrated with people tell me my obedience (when there is self-sacrifice) preaching is ungodly and then quote this verse. Stop taking it out of context. God is absolutely asking us to lay our lived down on an altar before him and surrender!

This chapter really reveals how stupid mankind is. First we complicate and confuse things and when Jesus tries to clarify things and give freedom and life – the Pharisees choose death and bondage to impossible rules. Next Mankind can easily believe the devil has the ability to perform signs and wonders but fails to believe Jesus can. Seriously!  

“Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” Matt. 12:24

Jesus knew their thoughts and straightened them out.  

One day a lady was sick, I laid hands on her and she felt the presence of the Lord and was healed. She then said I was a witch and it was witchcraft! Because God could not do that?! I mean, you said you felt the Lord! She changed her story to say she felt just ‘energy’ and ‘witchcraft’. You see in our modern world witches do healings and so it is not a kingdom divided in man’s shallow eyes.  They do not see that the healing from a witch is death, not life, and we cannot recognize God, or the Power of Jesus, any more now than the Pharisees of Jesus’s time. We have given the enemy too much credit and forgotten how big our God is.

We go up to a fig tree and pluck a ripe and poisonous apple and see nothing wrong with it. But if the fig tree has figs we think it is of the devil.  How can we even begin to explain parables of knowing a tree by its fruits hen we are no better than these Pharisees who accused Jesus, Our Creator, of being the devil!

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matt 12:34 

So, let’s get this straight. Jesus is not evil and can do more than the enemy? Ok, ok – do a trick for me and prove it!

We all read this and think, well, I wouldn’t – but then we have a burst of faith and suddenly we are asking to heap it upon our lusts and not to heap it upon our needs and not upon our ability to bless others. Suddenly when we start to get Jesus back into His proper position He start to ask of Him to perform circus tricks or to be our genie in a bottle! And that is exactly what happens next in today’s reading!  The scribes and Pharisees ask for a sign. It was amazing – Jesus not only foretells His own death and resurrection in extreme accuracy; but he also pull in an old story of the whale vomit boy, Jonah. It is really unfortunate that they did not see the forest through the trees. This is so profound. I can’t imagine being like – ‘what? They say he rose from the dead? Man, I heard him prophecy this with they asked him for a sign! Wow! This must be the Messiah! What an amazing sign!’ But – nope.

We need to Discuss these last two section due to the fact that they are often misunderstood and made more complicated than need be.

Matthew seems to randomly throw in a teaching about what happens when we cast out a spirit. I had a discussion with a lady the other day who said, I rebuke it.
But to rebuke is to correct or forbid. Why not cast it out?
And she said where do I cast it to?
I said that is not our job. Not our business. God takes care of what happens next.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” Matt 12:43-45

I had a discussion with a Pastor who said we can’t cast out demons, except in certain specific situations, because if the person doesn’t turn to God we have created a situation 7 times worse. And I thought this is the most face palm statement I ever heard!  You mean, you have a means to give me deliverance and YOU are judging me unworthy of that deliverance?! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THAT MEANS!
Let’s clear it up and stop restricting and complicating it. Jesus said to cast them out! Always offer the person the opportunity to receive Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit to fill those places that were occupied by the unclean spirit. That is what we should learn for this. Not that we shouldn’t do it. I mean, if seven more come back, we can fast and pray and cast them out as well. And if a legion comes in to them, we can cast them all out too. Do not withhold deliverance – especially if the person came asking for it!

Finally in today’s jam packed word – Jesus is NOT a cold hearted man towards his own family! Let’s talk briefly about who are my mother and brothers.
Someone one speculated and taught me that His mother and brothers had come for Him to stop Him.  I see NO scriptural basis for that. Apparently, it’s a thing lots of people believe – because how else do you explain something that in our culture seems to cold.
All biblical and historical evidence says that Jesus loved his ee-mah and respected her. She followed His ministry and was always there for Him. And since Matthew did NOT break things up into chapters, let me argue that this goes with tomorrow’s reading, which begins with “On that same day…”

The point of all scripture is simply “Jesus” and “Obedience”. Therefore Jesus was NOT making a negative statement about His ee-mah. (Why do we always try to apply scriptures to someone else instead of pointing them at ourselves?) The statement he as making is, if we want to be His family we must love Him first and more than anything else and do His will! Then we see a short break in the narrative until later that day when we pick back up in the next chapter. I will gladly go on record speculating that Jesus ended that teaching and ran out to greet His mother with hugs and kisses and visited with them for a moment.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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