Summary: Even though He will have face-to-face confrontations with the Pharisees from time to time after this, where we are now is a critical juncture in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, especially as it pertains to His relationship with the spiritual leader
Jesus And The Forbidding Pharisees – Part 5
Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign
As we draw near the end of our study in Matthew 12, I thought it might be a good time for an overview. When we move into Matthew 13, the entire timber of Jesus’ teaching changes as He begins teaching in parables and focusing on what the kingdom of heaven is and what it looks like.
Even though He will have face-to-face confrontations with the Pharisees from time to time after this, where we are now is a critical juncture in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, especially as it pertains to His relationship with the spiritual leaders and teachers of His people.
When we first came into Matthew 12, the previous chapter had ended with Jesus’ most welcoming and tender invitation of all: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Right after this, in the opening to this chapter, we see Jesus and His disciples walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath and the disciples rubbing the heads of grain between their palms because they were hungry.
The Pharisees had a meltdown, accusing the disciples of Jesus of breaking the Sabbath laws and in no uncertain terms, accusing Jesus of allowing it. Jesus set them straight about the Sabbath.
He first had reminded these learned men about what the Scriptures taught about the Law in general by recalling for them the story of David and his companions eating the consecrated bread from the temple because they were starving.
David was not condemned for that because, as Jesus reminded them; preserving life was of more importance to God than the observance of ritual. It was a matter of the heart, the inner motivations. God’s Law was made for the preservation and protectionof man, not the destruction of man.
Jesus then went into the synagogue and sprang the trap they had set for Him on them when He healed the man with the withered hand and again reminded them that the heart of God was focused on compassion, not sacrifice. He even challenged them to decide which was appropriate, doing good or doing evil on the Sabbath. They hadn’t answered Him because they were so focused on their ritual observations that they had completely lost sight of the people God loved and had no vision for the heart of the Law.
Then Jesus even went so far as to perform the miracle of delivering and healing a man who was so possessed by a demon that he was blind and dumb. This miracle, combined with the miracle in the synagogue and His forceful use of the Scriptures, served to make it obvious to all who were present that Jesus had power and authority from heaven and that they were in the presence of One who was “greater than the temple” and the very “Lord of the Sabbath”.
The Pharisees just didn’t get it – they were so foolish as to try to credit Satan, the prince of demons, and not the Holy Spirit as being the One who was empowering Jesus to drive out demons and perform the miracles He performed.
Here is where they had finally crossed the line – the renowned “unforgivable sin.” You can say what you like about Jesus, but when you start intentionally crediting to Satan that which is of the Holy Spirit and crediting to the Holy Spirit that which is of Satan, you have gone too far. Your rejection of the work and word of the Holy Spirit separates you so far from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that there is no return.
Jesus goes on, as we saw last time, to make it very clear that we are accountable for every word that we speak and that our words in this life will be used as evidence either for us or against us on that day when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
That brings us to today’s lesson, which begins in Matthew 12:38.
Let’s move the camera in for some close-ups.
Pharisees: "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."
Jesus turns from the Pharisees and speaks to the assembled crowd: "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;
“For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.