Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 12:31-13:53

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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.

Parable of the Unclean Spirits – Matthew 12:43-45

This parable is a strong word of warning about rejecting Jesus and the judgment the Pharisees will face as a result. Jesus' work was one of cleansing and casting out demons (Matt. 8:16, 28-34) but once he is gone the situation will be worse for those who reject him.

The will of my Father - Matthew 12:50

Whoever does the will of my Father. In Jesus' day one's family was their prime identity. Here Jesus radically redefined his family to be his disciples, the ones who do God's will. This also connects to Jesus' teaching that the people of God are not defined by ethnic descent but by those who do God's will from a good heart (Matt. 3:8-10; 7:21-27).

The Parables Discourse - Matthew 13:1-53

This chapter contains the third of Matthew's five major teaching blocks (chapters 5–7, 10, 13, 18, 23–25), and consists of a collection of seven parables about the kingdom of heaven. This is not the only place Jesus taught with parables in Matthew, but several of his parables are collected here, along with the explanation of why Jesus' changed his teaching style from direct teaching as in the Sermon on the Mount to these potentially confusing parables. The explanation is because the religious leadership had set themselves to oppose Jesus (Matt. 12:14), he had decided to teach in such a way that only those to whom God reveals himself will understand the teaching (Matt. 13:11-16; cf. 11:25-27); these are mysteries that have been hidden but are now fully revealed only through Jesus (Matt. 13:16-17, 34-35).

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