This is Episode #279 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 11-12 together. Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #279 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 11-12 together. Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Matthew Chapter 11
John the Baptist Doubts
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns. Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.”
As these men were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? See, those who wear soft clothes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.
“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one greater than John the Baptist has appeared, but the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you’re willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who is to come. Let anyone who has ears listen.
An Unresponsive Generation
“To what should I compare this generation? It’s like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to other children:
We played the flute for you,
but you didn’t dance;
we sang a lament,
but you didn’t mourn!
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Then he proceeded to denounce the towns where most of his miracles were done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes long ago. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until today. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
The Son Gives Knowledge and Rest
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure. All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew Chapter 12
Lord of the Sabbath
At that time Jesus passed through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick and eat some heads of grain. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”
He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry: how he entered the house of God, and they ate the bread of the Presence — which is not lawful for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests? Or haven’t you read in the law that on Sabbath days the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
The Man with the Shriveled Hand
Moving on from there, he entered their synagogue. There he saw a man who had a shriveled hand, and in order to accuse him they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
He replied to them, “Who among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out? A person is worth far more than a sheep; so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.”
Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted against him, how they might kill him.
The Servant of the Lord
Jesus was aware of this and withdrew. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them all. He warned them not to make him known, so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not argue or shout,
and no one will hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed,
and he will not put out a smoldering wick,
until he has led justice to victory.
The nations will put their hope in his name.
A House Divided
Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to him. He healed him, so that the man could both speak and see. All the crowds were astounded and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”
Knowing their thoughts, he told them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. How can someone enter a strong man’s house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters.
Therefore, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come.
A Tree and Its Fruit
“Either make the tree good and its fruit will be good, or make the tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. A good person produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil person produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Sign of Jonah
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s preaching; and look — something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look — something greater than Solomon is here.
An Unclean Spirit’s Return
“When an unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams through waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ Returning, it finds the house vacant, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that person’s last condition is worse than the first. That’s how it will also be with this evil generation.”
While he was still speaking with the crowds, his mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
He replied to the one who was speaking to him, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Why is it that I always expect everyone in the Bible to be different than me? Why do I expect them to act on everything they know when I don’t? Look at what we just read about John the Baptist. He knew good and well that Jesus was the promised Messiah. But he needed assurance, he needed reminding. Jesus was gentle with him, wasn’t He? He gently told John’s disciples to go back and tell Him what they were seeing Jesus do. John knew Scripture…he would have recognized those predicted acts. But the scene certainly gave Jesus the opportunity to preach about John’s ministry and to fill in some blanks the Jews may have had.
Jesus was really starting to get under the skin of the Pharisees, almost needling them, wasn’t He? But there were certain things that Jesus just wasn’t gonna budge on, like being the Lord of the Sabbath.
Let’s pray. Dear Jesus, thank You that You have invited us to come to You. Thank You for recognizing that this world – this life sometimes – wears us out. Thank You for Your offer of rest. Not just rest but Your rest, perfect rest. Thank You that Your burden is light and that You’re willing to project us from those who would weigh us down. Help us always to know You better. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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