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Summary

Chapter Summaries

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 12 Summary

Questions from the Pharisees and Parables from Jesus

  • Pharisees see some of Jesus's disciples picking and eating grain on the Sabbath and call them out on it. But Jesus throws it right back at them and says something greater than the law is here and that "the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath" (12:8). Take that, Pharisees.
  • In the synagogue, they quiz Jesus on whether it's lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Short answer: yes. Long answer: absolutely yes! Jesus says it's totally okay to do good things on the Sabbath.
  • And this is when the Pharisees begin to plot their evil plan against him.
  • Since there's no foolin' Jesus, he already knows about the Pharisees' plan. He leaves, but everyone follows him, wanting to be healed.
  • Jesus cures them all but tells them to keep quiet. Another prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled.
  • People bring another blind and mute demoniac to Jesus. After Jesus heals the demoniac, the crowd begins to question if he is the Son of David. The Pharisees squash this by saying that Jesus's power comes from Beelzebub. 
  • Jesus says this is ridiculous. Here's his logic: if his power came from Satan and he (Jesus) drove out demons, Satan would be destroying his own kingdom. Way to think that one through, Pharisees.
  • He drives the point home with the parable of The Strong Man.
  • Using the images of a tree and its fruit, Jesus poses the question of how a person could say good things if they're evil. If good tree equals good fruit, good person equals good things, right?
  • The scribes and Pharisees want a sign from Jesus. And guess what? He's not going to give it to them. Instead, he references Jonah (you know, the guy with the big fish) and says, "for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth" (12:40). 
  • Sounds cryptic. (Well, not to the people who've read the Bible, but hey, it wasn't around back then.)
  • To add insult to injury, Jesus remarks how an evil spirit will always return to a person. And if the evil spirit comes home to find his dwelling (the person) clean, he'll bring back friends to mess it all up again. That just puts the person in even worse shape than before.
  • But it's not all doom and gloom. When someone points out that Jesus's mother and brothers are waiting to speak with him, Jesus replies, "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" (12:50).
  • There he goes, redefining family.
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