0 The unforgivable sin (Matthew 12)

Episode 239: The unforgivable sin

Matthew 12

12 1 Jesus's disciples were hungry on the Sabbath. So they plucked and ate some grain.

2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to Jesus, "Your disciples are breaking the Sabbath."

3 Jesus said to them,

Haven't you read what David did when he and his men were hungry?

4 He entered the house of God and ate the bread that only priests are supposed to eat.

5 Haven't you read in the law that priests may profane the Sabbath. Well, this place has a person who is greater than the temple.

8 The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.

9-10 Jesus then went to their synagogue and saw a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?"

11 Jesus answered,

If a sheep falls into a pit on the sabbath day, would you lift it out?

12 Well, a man is better than a sheep. Therefore, it is lawful to do good on sabbath days.

13 Jesus then said to the man, "Hold out your hand."

And the man held it out, and it was healed.

14 Then the Pharisees held a council to plot how they could destroy him.

Jesus and Beelzebub

22 A man was brought to Jesus who was possessed with a devil and could neither see nor speak. Jesus healed him.

24 When the Pharisees heard about it, they said,

This man casts out devils through the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils.

25 Jesus read their thoughts, and said to them,

A kingdom or city divided against itself will not stand.

26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself, and his kingdom will fall.

27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do you and your followers cast them out?

The unforgivable sin (blasphemy against the Holy Ghost)

30 Whoever is not with me is against me. And whoever doesn't gather with me, scatters.

31 Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven -- except for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which will never be forgiven.

32 Whoever speaks against the Son of man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, will never be forgiven, not in this world or the world to come.

34 You generation of vipers!

36 Every idle word that people speak will be used against them on the day of judgment.

37 For by your words you will be either justified or condemned.

An evil and adulterous generation (asks for a sign)

38 Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, "Master, could you give us a sign."

39 Jesus answered,

An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign.

You'll get no sign, except for the sign of Jonah.

40 For as Jonah lived three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

41 The men of Nineveh will condemn this generation, because they repented at Jonah's preaching. And someone greater than Jonah is here.

42 And the queen of the south will condemn this generation, because she heard the wisdom of Solomon. And someone greater than Solomon is here.

The return of the unclean spirit

43 When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he walks around looking for another body to inhabit.

44 When he doesn't find any, he says to himself, "I guess I'll just go back to the body I left."

45 But when he gets back into that body, he finds it empty, clean, and swept.

So he finds seven other spirits even more wicked than himself, and they enter that body and live there. And the last state of the man is worse than the first. That is the way it'll be for this wicked generation.

Jesus: Who is my mother?

46 While Jesus was busy talking, his mother and brothers came by and wanted to talk with him.

47 So someone said to Jesus, "Your mother and brothers would like to talk to you."

48 Jesus said, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?"

49 He then stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said,

These are my mother and brothers.

50 Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother, sister, and mother.

A few more words about this episode

Your disciples are breaking the Sabbath. (12:2)
Is it necessary to keep the Sabbath?
Haven't you read what David did when he and his men were hungry? (12:3)
Jesus it referring to a story from 1 Samuel 21:1-6 where David is running away from Saul and eats holy bread, that only priests are allowed to eat. But David says he and his men haven't touched any women for a while so it should be okay. It had nothing to do with the Sabbath.
This man casts out devils through the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. (12:24)
This would be a good strategy for Beelzebub. Help Jesus (a false prophet/Messiah) cast out devils, so that the people will (mistakenly) believe in him.
Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will never be forgiven. (12:31)
Is there an unforgivable sin?
Jonah lived three days and three nights in the whale's belly (12:40)
Jesus believed in the literal truth of the fish story in Jonah.

He predicts that he will be "in the heart of the earth" for three days and three nights. If by this he meant that he would be in the tomb for three days and three nights, then either he was mistaken or the gospels are in error. Because according to the gospels (this is one of the few things they all seem to agree on), Jesus was in the tomb for only one day and two nights.
Was Jonah swallowed by a fish or a whale?

The queen of the south will condemn this generation (12:42)
"The queen of the south" is the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon according to 1 Kg 10:1-7 and 2 Chr 9:1-12.
According to Jesus, she will judge an entire generation!
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