Finding Compassion in Matthew 12
Jesus really tries to reveal to the Pharisees and scribes the error of their ways. He tries in vain to get them to realize that it’s all about the heart. He teaches that the traditions of men are invalid especially when they contradict the teaching of God.
Chapter 12 – Begging for a Sign
Matthew 12 – Highlights
· In this chapter, Jesus really tries to reveal to the Pharisees and scribes the error of their ways. He tries in vain to get them to realize that it’s all about the heart. He teaches that the traditions of men are invalid especially when they contradict the teaching of God.
· For the third time in this book, Jesus speaks about the fruit. If we are not bearing good fruit we have no part in the kingdom. After reading this we should really take a few minutes to ask God, “What kind of fruit am I bearing? How can I produce good fruit?”
If the Pharisees were to give this chapter a name, they would probably call it ‘The Sabbath-breaking Escapades of Jesus’ or some such. Repeatedly, we see Jesus and His disciples doing things that were taboo for the Pharisees.
The disciples were hungry so they broke ears of corn and ate. A man with a withered hand came to Jesus for healing so He healed him. The Pharisees were shocked how dare this man who called Himself the Son of God come into their town and contradict the practices that they had upheld for centuries. Just who did He think He was?
Jesus pointed out that the same men who were getting upset because the disciples plucked an ear of corn to eat, were the same men who would think nothing of rescuing a sheep on the Sabbath day. In keeping up these practices, they testified that the life of a sheep was worth more than that of a man. Thank God Jesus did not feel the same way.
Unable to see the love that the Messiah was trying to teach, they accused Him of being in league with Beelzebub (which is just a cute way of saying that He’s working for the devil). Can you imagine? There was God being accused of being in league with Satan. The fact that He did not destroy them then and there was evidence of His compassion.
And He didn’t stop there. Sometime later, some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus: “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You (Matthew 12:38).” Because of course, the miracle of healing a man who was demon-possessed, blind and mute wasn’t enough.
“I’m not going to give you a sign,” Jesus replied. Had He stopped there we could have said ‘they didn’t deserve any more signs.’ But He didn’t.
“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39-40).”
Even though they didn’t deserve it, Jesus continued to minister to them. He continued to teach giving them enough information so that they could access and accept the gift of salvation that came with the shedding of His blood.
Compassion is continuing to preach and to teach even when humanity proves themselves unwilling to learn.
The gift of salvation is still being offered freely to anyone who accepts that Jesus died on their behalf. His life paid the price for the sins that we commit. Jesus invites us into His presence. If you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.
Father, we thank You for the precious gift of Your Son’s shed blood. We know that without it we could not be saved because the wages of sin is death and we have all sinned. Help us to open our eyes and our hearts so that we can accept Your gift that was freely given. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I pray that as we go through this day and the rest of our time here on earth that God reveals to us how to produce good fruit from a heart filled with love.