Matthew 12

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Read Matthew 12

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

God’s Chosen Servant

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Jesus and Beelzebul

22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Sign of Jonah

38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Go Deeper

In Matthew 12, Jesus comes into conflict with the local religious leaders again. At this point in Jesus’s ministry, they had begun to amplify their attacks, accusations, and attempts to trap Jesus into saying or doing something they could use against Him. When the Pharisees accuse the disciples of breaking the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-10), Jesus decides to create a teaching opportunity out of it. He explains to them that although the temple is important, there’s something else that is more important: God. Then He says that although sacrifice is important, there’s something else that is more important: mercy. Jesus is trying to explain to the Pharisees that the law is important but there’s something else that is more important: The God who made it. When the Pharisees misinterpret and misapply God’s law, they twist it into something that no longer shows God’s heart when He made the law. The Sabbath was one of God’s great gifts to Israel. However, the requirement not to work was intended to bring God’s people rest, not to add more chaos to their lives.

When Jesus was presented with a man who had a shriveled hand and the Pharisees reminded Him that it is unlawful to heal on the Sabbath, He asked them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep?” (v. 10-11). Jesus’s question assumes that most everyone would show mercy to the sheep. The Sabbath is supposed to bring rest and well-being, and healing is consistent with that.

After that, the Pharisees conspire against Jesus and plot to kill Him; therefore, Jesus decides to leave. He continues healing people, but He begs them to keep it quiet. Every time He heals someone, He takes a step closer to His own death. When He heals a man who is blind, mute, and demon-possessed, the people wonder if Jesus might be the Messiah, so the Pharisees start a rumor that He can only do these things because He’s possessed with a demon too. Jesus essentially responds and says, “If I were possessed by a demon why would I drive out My own people?” (v. 26-28). This is the passage that Jesus talks about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The unforgivable sin. The Pharisees are constantly accusing Jesus and attributing His works to Satan. They are choosing to reject the truth that Jesus is The Son of God.

Finally, Jesus responds to the news that His mother and brothers were wanting to speak to Him because they were worried about His mind (Mark 3:21). He says that the idea of “true family” are His disciples and anyone who does the will of His Father. Although this sounds harsh for his mother and siblings, it’s actually very good for believers. He emphasizes the connection of the kingdom over the connection of genetics.


  1. What does it mean for you today to do the will of God? Are you doing it?
  2. How does it make you feel to hear what Jesus says the one unforgivable sin is? What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
  3. Do you practice the Sabbath? Think about what would bring you rest and ask Him for it.

Listen Here

Leave a Comment Below

Did you learn something today? Share it with our Bible Reading Plan community by commenting below.

Join the Team

Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email

3 thoughts on “Matthew 12”

  1. We do the will of the Father when we abandon our agendas and comfort to seek out and serve others, not for our glory but His. It means really seeing needs and moving into meet them. I pray for blinders to be removed as we encounter the hurting, vulnerable, broken and marginalized, that our hearts would be stirred with a holy determination to meet physical needs but most importantly share the reason for the hope we possess, Christ Jesus our Lord. “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task if testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
    (Acts 20:24)

  2. Why did God make Adam and Eve? He wanted fellowship, He desired to be worshiped! All creation was/is His Glory!! There was a blunder BUT GOD made the way back through Jesus, His only begotten Son, so that we can turn to Him and do all we do to GLORIFY, HONOR, EXALT, HIM!!! What will be doing in heaven? Constant continual worship!!!! WOOHOO!!!! So all this world is a practice run. When we figure out who and what we were created for then we tell others about Jesus. The Bible is our information guide to learn, know and to tell. All that we do is for, about and serving God. Our flesh should move out of the way (this is HArD) so that when they say “”thank you for” XYZ” we say “All glory goes to God” period the end. What we do, say, actions, even emotions, should glorify and honor our Heavenly Father and definitely not grieve the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:2 Amplified Bible 2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our [a]hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. We have it to give it back Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.
    Thank You God for the ability to say Thank You!! Help me remember minute by minute to give You the Glory!!! I am excited to see, to be, and to participate in the WORSHIP You have for us when Jesus comes back!!! But for now I will endeavor to praise, worship, exalt, glorify, honor, magnify, and cherish You now as much as my humanly being can possible do. In Jesus name

  3. Verses 15-16
    I see clearly here the Spirit of discernment working on Jesus’ behalf. That feeling of not being welcomed anymore warned Jesus. We have probably all have had that feeling before.
    In v16 we read again, Jesus healing and wanting it to be kept quiet—as with the leper for example. Jesus was trying to get attention off the miracles, and pointed back to His message of the gospel. I see here, too, that maybe not all places want or need to hear your story—let the Spirit guide you.
    Our message in church was over Mark 5: 16-17 where the towns people asked Jesus to leave their region after healing the demon-possessed man.
    It’s the same story line here… there are some people who would rather keep their sins—their comfort—the law—then rather having Jesus come into their lives and town and change them. The question for our churches today could be ,”Are we being the people where the Spirit can find rest to work and heal?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.