Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 12:23-42

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Can this be the Son of David? - Matthew 12:23

"Can this be the Son of David?" God promised that the Messianic age when his kingdom comes to the earth would be a time of healing and restoration and that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11). When people saw Jesus' amazing miracles they hoped that he was indeed the Son of David bringing God's kingdom.

Jesus and the Spirit of God – Matthew 12:24-27

Once again, the Pharisees accused Jesus of being empowered by the prince of demons, Beelzebul, because they could not otherwise explain his power (Matt. 9:34; 10:25). Jesus responded by showing the absurdity of their claim and warning them of the judgment coming upon them for rejecting him. Rather than being demonic, his power came from the Spirit (Matt. 3:16; 12:18), meaning that the kingdom of God is now here.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – Matthew 12:31

Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. God is abundant in grace and forgives all who repent (Ps. 86:5; Isa. 55:6-7; 1 John 1:9-10). The only unforgivable sin is the very specific act of finally and completely claiming that Jesus' work is demonic, not from the Holy Spirit. This is the rejection of God and if someone dies holding to this position they have committed the blasphemy against the Spirit.

Out of the abundance of the heart – Matthew 12:34

Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. This was a regular emphasis in Jesus' teachings — that the inner person/heart is what matters the most, not external religious piety (Matt. 5:21-48; 6:1-21; 15:7-11). Jesus challenged the Pharisees that since they were speaking evil against him this reveals their wicked hearts, therefore, their words will condemn them (Matt. 12:37).

Offspring of vipers - Matthew 12:34

Offspring of vipers. This is the same phrase John the Baptist used to describe the Pharisees and scribes (Matt. 3:7). They have accused Jesus of being Satanic, but the reality is that their words are evil and coming from Satan (John 8:44).

An evil and adulterous generation - Matthew 12:39

An evil and adulterous generation. The Jewish people in Jesus' day were generally moral and conservative people, but Jesus referred to many of them as "evil and adulterous" because despite outward behavior they were not faithful to God from the heart but demanded a sign from Jesus even though he had already performed many (cf. Matt. 16:4).

Three days – Matthew 12:40

The Son of Man will be three days ... Jesus is referring to his own future death and burial before his resurrection (Matt. 27:57-61) by using the story of Jonah in the belly of the great fish. Jesus regularly referred to himself as the Son of Man (Matt. 8:20; 9:6; 16:13; 20:28; 24:27; 26:64), taken from Daniel 7:13-14. See WLC 50.

Someone greater – Matthew 12:41-42

Someone greater than (Jonah/Solomon) is here. Jesus claimed to be greater than the prophet Jonah and the King Solomon. The point is that if people listened to God's representatives on earth in Jonah and Solomon, the Pharisees in Jesus' day will be under judgment because Jesus is even greater than them. The point is deepened by the fact that even Gentiles recognized the greatness of Jonah and Solomon but the Jewish leaders in Jesus' day don't recognize him.

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