Matthew 12

Matthew 12

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Matthew 12 Commentary

by Hank Workman

There is no neutral ground with Jesus.

We either believe who He is and act accordingly or we don’t.  We either live in that fullness of Him or we choose not to.  Jesus makes this clear.  Anyone who is not actively following Him has chosen to reject Him.

This reality came into play after Jesus had healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute.  The Pharisees who were so tied to the letter of the Law also could not accept the things Jesus was doing.  Grasping for straws in an attempt to make sense of this Man called Jesus, they accused Him of being in the legion of Satan.  Jesus’ push back was more of a shove that left them standing in the ridiculousness of their claims.  Hearts so hardened, they failed to see once again who it was that stood before them.

Jesus pushed further.  “Look at the fruit of their lives,” He said.  What we speak and do comes from our hearts.  It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ we may look to the watchers.  The real testing of who we are and how we stand, what we believe in is measured by our fruit. This comes back to our inability to being neutral with Jesus.  There is no doubt the Pharisees were not neutral.  They made their stance clear.  Where things get a bit murky is determining who indeed is following as they may look the part.  Check out the fruit of their lives.  Jesus says measure it.  That is the determining factor.

Matthew 12 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

This chapter contains the controversial “unpardonable sin” which involves blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The first question we must ask is, what is blasphemy of the Spirit and how is it different from blasphemy of the Son of Man? The exact text I am referencing is Matthew 12:31-32. The reason this is controversial is that, in many cases, it has been inappropriately interpreted and applied.

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.  32  “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Matthew 12:31-32 NASB 

I will use the conversion of Saul to Paul as a great example of the difference that Jesus is illustrating. Saul was a Pharisee and heavily persecuted members of the early church. He hated Christians, but his hate stemmed from ignorance. His eyes, and more importantly, his heart, had not been opened to the Holy Spirit. In this way, his actions against the Son of Man (Jesus) were able to be forgiven because He hadn’t yet been convicted. Once he was, on the road to Damascus, he repented and was changed forever.

Peter is another great example. He most certainly “spoke a word against” the Son of Man when he denied him three times. But this did not mean that forgiveness couldn’t be found. After there was conviction, Peter responded.

For some that conviction comes early and often. For others, it may not come for years. But we can’t argue the fact that the Holy Spirit is in the business of drawing and convicting sinners.

This passage should be a warning to the proud and arrogant, not a fear-mongering passage for those with a tender conscience. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees who NEVER opened their hearts to His words or actions. The Pharisees had just witnessed (in the flesh), Jesus performing miracles, and they attributed those works to Satan. When a person is given evidence through the Holy Spirit and continues in their hardness of heart, that is unbelief. Their final destination, should they continue on that path, is eternal separation from God. In this way, it proves to be unforgivable.

This doesn’t mean forgiveness is unavailable, it simply means that the heart has denied the Holy Spirit which clearly testifies to Jesus Christ and his saving grace.

For believers, it’s a sobering reminder that the Holy Spirit is continually working and we need to continually be sensitive to His voice. It is not out of fear, but out of grace that we long to hear from Him.

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