Matthew 11 – 12
- John’s Doubts: the Significance of the Coming Dispensational Change (11:2-19)
- Judgment to fall on the Northern Towns because of Unbelief (11:20-24)
- A Faithful Remnant Preserved for the Father’s Delight (11:25-30)
- Rejection Concerning Jesus’ Authority over the Sabbath (12:1-21)
- Rejection Concerning the Source of Jesus’ Power: the Unpardonable Sin (12:22-37)
- Israel’s Unbelief would Result in Solemn Judgment (12:38-45)
- The Lord Cuts His Ties with Nature (12:46-50)
John’s Doubts: the Significance of the Coming Dispensational Change (11:2-19)
John’s Question of Doubt Asked, then Answered by Jesus (vv.2-6)
- For John’s head (v.5). He reminds John of the proofs of His identity. Blind men see (John 9:1; Matt. 9:27; 12:22; 20:30). In fact, we never read of any blind eyes being opened in the Old Testament; that power was reserved for the Son of David (Isa. 35:5). Lame walk (Matt. 8:5; 9:2; John 5). Lepers are cleansed (Matt. 8:2; Luke 17:11). Deaf hear (Matt. 9:32; Mark 17:11). Dead are raised (Matt. 9:23; Luke 7:11; John 11:43). Poor have glad tidings preached to them.
- For John’s heart (v.6). He gently remind him (and us by extension) that in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, “don’t be offended in me”. If John could be offended, it should be a warning to us lest we should falter. The best of men is a man at best.
Jesus Commends John before the Multitudes (vv.7-15)
- v.7 “A reed shaken by the wind” – John was not a mere tourist attraction, worthy of nothing more than passing interest or idle curiosity. A “reed” in scripture is a weak thing. John was not a coward, shaken by the changing winds of public opinion; he was a man of courage.
- v.8 “A man clothed in delicate raiment” – John was not a political or social figure, looking to gain a following. He clothing was rough (Matt. 3:4), not delicate. This wasn’t an easy lifestyle. He was marked by self-sacrifice; a man of consecration.
- vv.9-10 “A prophet” – even the loftiest of man’s opinions concerning John fell short. He was no ordinary prophet, he was “my messenger”. What a privilege! He had the unique role of forming a remnant, turning the hearts of the people to the Lord. He was a man of communication.
The Capriciousness of the Multitudes Exposed (vv.16-19)
Judgment to fall on the Northern Towns because of Unbelief (11:20-24)
Woe to Chorazin and Bethsaida (vv.21-22)
Woe to Capernaum (vv.23-24)
A Faithful Remnant Preserved for the Father’s Delight (11:25-30)
Christ’s Prayer of Praise to His Father (vv.25-27)
Old Testament history of Israel
Christ presented and
rejected by His people
Christ presented and
rejected by His people
The glories of the Son,
the Father revealed
The glories of the Son,
the Father revealed
Our blessings in
association with Christ
Invitation to the Weary Remnant to Find Rest (vv.28-30)
- Judicially at the Cross (Psa. 69) – They rejected the Messiah.
- Officially at the Stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) – They rejected the Spirit’s testimony.
- Evangelically at the end of Acts (Acts 28) – Jew/Gentile order was reversed.
- Literally at the Destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70, Luke 21:12-22) – the blow finally fell.
Rejection Concerning Jesus’ Authority over the Sabbath (12:1-21)
Plucking Grain on the Sabbath: Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (vv.1-8)
The Sabbath is a vastly important subject, tying together Old and New Testaments. To understand its purpose, the Jews’ misconceptions about it, and the importance of these actions being carried out on the Sabbath day, we must understand God’s thoughts about the whole subject; see entry on the Sabbath. Exodus 31:13-17 shows that the Sabbath was the sign of Jehovah’s covenant with Israel. Neither of these two things that the Lord and His disciples did (plucking grain, then healing the withered hand) were prohibited by the Law, but these actions done specifically on the Sabbath showed that the covenant with Israel was being figuratively suspended. Israel was in a sad state. In bondage to the Romans, they were stripped of much of their identity as the people of Jehovah. But they still had the Sabbath, or so they thought, and over-stressed it as a way of reassuring themselves of their place among the nations. They hung, connected as it were, to Jehovah by a thin string. That string was the Sabbath; and the Lord was here with a pocket knife, slicing away thread by thread, until… SNAP; the connection is severed (ch.12). This is why the Pharisees pursued Him so doggedly on this issue.
Rejected by His People, a Greater Circle of Blessing Opens (vv.15-21)
- Healing on the Sabbath (12:1-14) – Jehovah terminating His covenant relationship
- Withdrawing himself (12:15) – placing distance between Himself and Israel
- No more lifting up His voice (vv.16-21) – signaling the suspension of the Kingdom in power
- No more signs to be given (12:38-42) – God had abandoned attempts to convert the nation
- Breaks link with mother and brethren (12:46-50) – setting aside the natural order for the spiritual
- Goes out of the house down to the sea (13:1-2) – Turning toward the Gentiles
- Begins to speak in parables (13:10-17) – opening up the secrets of the Kingdom in mystery to the faithful remnant.
- Especially claimed by Jehovah – “my servant, my elect, my beloved, my delight”
- Acted in the power of the Spirit – “I will put my Spirit upon him”
- Exercised authority over the Gentiles (hinted at, but largely still future) – “he shall shew forth judgment to the nations”
- Would not publicize Himself (v.16) – “He shall not strive or cry out, etc.” This may also be connected with the cessation of the urgent Gospel of the Kingdom. From this point forward in Matthew, the Kingdom of heaven is no longer proclaimed as “at hand“.
- Would not come as a judge at His first coming – “a bruised reed shall he not break, etc.” A “bruised reed” would be relative weakness. A “smoking flax” would be a repulsive smell. Things He could have easily rectified with divine power, instead He left them until the appearing.
- Reaching out with blessing to the Gentiles (hinted at, but largely still future) – “and on his name shall the nations hope.”
Rejection Concerning the Source of Jesus’ Power: the Unpardonable Sin (12:22-37)
A House or Kingdom Divided Cannot Stand (vv.25-28)
One particular evil that has pervaded the Church is clericalism. The clerical principle is a special kind of sin against the Holy Spirit, because it denies the Spirit's place in the Church, and replaces Him with a false system. The clerical principle states that all true ministry flows from the clergy, and any lay preaching is from the Devil. You can see how this evil is of the same character as what the Jewish leaders were guilty of in Matthew 12:30-31. As Israel spoke injuriously against the Spirit in their dispensation, so Christendom has denied the Spirit in our dispensation. The Church has effectively denied the presence and power of the Holy Spirit on earth. Collectively, the Jewish system came into judgment in 70 A.D., and one day the clerical system of Christendom will come into judgment as well, at the middle of Daniel's seventieth week. While we wouldn’t call the clerical principle "blasphemy" against the Holy Spirit, we can see that it is "sin" against the Spirit, and certainly the dispensational counterpart to what Israel was guilty of.1
- There are two aspects to the atonement of Christ. Propitiation is the aspect in which Christ died to perfectly satisfy God. In this aspect He died for the whole WORLD. Substitution is the aspect in which Christ died for ME. In this aspect He only paid for the individual sins of those who would be SAVED.
- Whenever we come to two verses that seem to contradict each other, we need to accept both as true, even if we can't comprehend how they can both coexist. For example; "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men" is 100% true and "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" is 100% true. What I have started to do is simply accept the Word of God, and then ask him to make it clear to me if it pleases Him. And He usually does.
Their Evil Heart was manifested by their Words (vv.33-37)
Example #1: A corrupt tree yields corrupt fruit (v.33)
Example #2: A young snakelet acts like a snake (v.34a)
Example #3: A contaminated spring yields a contaminated stream (v.34b)
Example #4: An evil treasure house yields evil treasure (v.35)
Summary: What we say is important (vv.36-37)
Israel’s Unbelief would Result in Solemn Judgment (12:38-45)
No more Signs to be Given, Except the Sign of the Prophet Jonas (vv.38-42)
- As Priest He is “greater than the temple” (v.6)
- As Prophet He is “greater than Jonas” (v.41)
- As King He is “greater than Solomon” (v.42)
Israel Like A Man Once Possessed, In Danger of Repossession (vv.43-45)
- Their condition before captivity – a possessed man
- Their condition after captivity – an empty man
- Their condition in the Great Tribulation – an eightfold possessed man
- Keep clean the outside of the cup and of the platter (Matt. 23:25).
- Compass sea and land to make one proselyte (Matt. 23:15).
- Pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin (Matt. 23:23).
- Build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous (Matt. 23:29).
of the Beast
|a new form of iniquity|