Matthew 12: Conflict And Final Break Of Jesus With The Religious Leaders

In Chapter 11 of Matthew we see Jesus saying “Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.”

Significantly, immediately after Jesus spoke about this rest, He went on to demolish the false Jewish understanding of the Sabbath (12:1-13)

First, when His disciples were picking some grain on the Sabbath day and the Pharisees questioned it, Jesus immediately defended His disciples quoting the example of David and the Levitical priests (12:1-8).

Then He healed a man in the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stopped the criticism of the Pharisees by saying, "What man shall there be among you, that hath one sheep: and if the same fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not take hold on it and lift it up? How much better is a man than a sheep?” (12:9-13).

Legalistic people are very narrow minded and selfish.

They take good care of themselves, but are very uncaring about the needs and sufferings of others.

In 12:24-32, we read that the Pharisees said that Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul the prince of demons. Jesus replied, "whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him" When Miriam criticized Moses saying. "Why did you marry that woman?", she got leprosy (as a judgment from God). But when the Pharisees criticized Jesus saying He was in league with Satan, they got forgiveness!! That is the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The blood of Abel cried out for judgment. The blood of Jesus cries out for mercy (Hebrews 12:24). If you want God to judge those who hurt you, then you are still under the old covenant. But if you want God to forgive them, then you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 In 12:36-37, Jesus taught about the importance of our speech: "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment." I am convinced that 95% of believers do not believe these words of Jesus. They do not believe that they will have to give an account to God one day for every useless word they ever spoke. That is why they continue to speak evil of others, gossip, backbite crack filthy jokes, etc. They hurt others with their jokes too. Humor is a good thing. But humor that hurts others is not godly. You can get a reputation for humor thereby, but it is a careless word for which you will have to give an account in the day of judgment.

Most people don't believe that God has a record of every word that we have ever spoken. It is recorded in our memory. There is a DVR that has been running in our memory ever since we were born. Like a computer's memory, it has recorded every thought, word and deed of ours. In the day of the general judgment, God will display all that for everyone to see. If you believe God's Word, you will be careful with your speech.

We all believe in justification by faith. That is what is in scriptures and it is what the Church teaches. But if you are a balanced Christian, you will also believe in justification by works -for that is also Scriptural and that also is what the Church teaches. Romans 4 speaks about justification by faith. But faith without works is dead. So, James 2 speaks about justification by works -works of faith. Here in Matthew 12:37, Jesus said that we would be justified or condemned in the final day, by the words we spoke. On the day of judgment, when the words you spoke are played back from you memory, will you be justified or condemned? That is a question we must all consider now before it is too late.

In the new covenant we are to have a tongue of fire.

On the day of Pentecost a tongue of fire came on people's heads, symbolizing a tongue under the permanent control of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians mistake this to refer to speaking in unknown languages. It is more than that. It is a tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit all the time. Many speak in other languages as led by the Spirit and then speak in their mother-tongue led by the devil. I would rather have above all the ability to control my speech in my known languages then to be able to speak 100 other unknown language. In the old covenant they could not control their tongues, because they did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling permanently within. But today we can live on a higher plane.

In vs 40, Jesus refers to Jonah staying in the belly of a large fish for three days and three nights. Then He said, "so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth" When Jesus died, He went immediately to Paradise which was located in the center of the earth at that time. There, the converted thief joined Him a little later. Jesus' body alone was in the grave. When Jesus ascended, He took Paradise up with Him to the third heaven. Jesus was alive for three days and nights in the heart of the earth exactly like Jonah was alive in the belly of the sea-monster. Then He came back into His body and arose from the dead.

Now there are those who would like to say that Jesus did not die on Friday but on Thursday or Wednesday. Do we know for certain that Christ was crucified on a Friday? If so, how is it possible that Jesus spent three days in the tomb if the resurrection occurred on Sunday? We are not told in God's Word exactly what day Jesus was crucified. Should we be celebrating a Good Friday crucifixion?

Jewish people in the First Century considered a portion of one day to be an entire day. Since Jesus was in the tomb for part of Friday, all day Saturday, and a portion of Sunday, this is considered to be three days. Mark 15:42 says that Jesus was put to death "the day before the Sabbath." If this is referring to the weekly Sabbath (which is Saturday), then Jesus would have been crucified on Friday.