A Discussion about the Sabbath
1 At about that time Jesus was walking through some grain-fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. 2 But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.”
3 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. 5 And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? 6 I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! 7 But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[a] 8 For the Son of Man[b] is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”
Jesus, You aren’t all about rules are You. You desire mercy, not the strict following of every letter of the law. I do have a tendency to get caught up in my “rules”. Under the pretense of “just do what’s right”, I thiink people should do what I want.
But not You Jesus. Your burden isn’t near to difficult. You offer love and mercy to people, even if they aren’t so perfect. Thank-you, for I am extremely imperfect. I really need to be so much more merciful Lord. I give my wife, my children, and myself a heavy burden and then I nit-pick the slightest failings. Help me change Lord. Help me to change.
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
9 Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, 10 where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
11 And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! 14 Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.
Jesus, why do we humans look for a reason NOT to do a good deed? You are kind and all powerful and want to save us and do good things for us…and we humans want to kill You for it. Why would we plot against someone who is doing so much good. Yet we still do.
Lord, I know my own nature. I just this week had a chance to do a very good deed and did not do it. I can be like the Pharisee. But You are alive in me, and sometimes I can be like You too. Sometimes I can look past the rules and the popularity contest we live in, and do the right thing. I know at those times that You are alive in me.
Thank-you for being patient with me. Thank-you for transforming me like you transformed the man’s deformed hand. I wish You would change me in an instant, like You changed his hand, but You have Your reasons and I will trust You. Keep changing me Lord. Help me to never again pass up a chance to do a good deed.
Jesus, God’s Chosen Servant
15 But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, 16 but he warned them not to reveal who he was. 17 This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:
18 “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
20 He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
21 And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”[c]
Lord, You are so kind and so amazing. Isaiah described someone who was so gentle…and You fulfilled the prophecy perfectly. Lord, I know I am called to be like You. Help me be like this passage.
You came proclaiming justice. I know justice comes through You and Your cross. I speak of You so little. Help me proclaim Your love.
You, the King of kings, did not shout, but I shout at my children a lot. I demand to be heard when the Son of God quietly asks me to listen. Lord soften my words and quiet my voice.
Lord, I have been that weak reed, that flickering candle. I have been sinking in my sin and bad habits to the point where my faith and hope were almost gone. I did not deserve You help. I had sinned against You so much You would have been just to crush me…but You rescued me. Help me Lord to see the flicker of hope in others and gently love them so You can become a flame in their lives.
Finally Lord, be victorious in my life. I am still faced with so many temptations and challenges. I could fall so easily. I am so weak without You. I need You to keep me Lord. Hold me close. Save me.
Jesus and the Prince of Demons
22 Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. 23 The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?”
24 But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,[d] the prince of demons.”
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 26 And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. 27 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 28 But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. 29 For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.
Lord, You are so much more powerful than Satan. You cast him aside without any struggle at all! Why do I not trust You with the little problems in my life? You are the King of kings. You are all powerful! You are the strong man. And You love me!
Jesus, You, with all Your power, were so close to the Pharisees in this story. You did a very good deed of great power. But they wanted so bad to keep from admitting who You are, they were willing to give credit to Satan for Your good work. It seems crazy, but I know I have done the same thing. I have either missed Your presence entirely, or failed to see the good in a situation and instead focused on the bad.
Jesus, thank-you for Your presence, even when, or especially when, I’ve failed to see You. And glory to You for Your power and victory over Satan. Open my eyes Jesus to see You working all around me. Open my eyes to Your sure victory. All the glory to Lord. Amen.
30 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
Jesus, that is a scary verse. I spend a lot of my time not doing anything bad, but not working for You either. I can see that every minute I live in which I’m not walking with You, I am setting a bad example for someone else. Through all of this gospel You have been calling me to walk with You day by day, and moment by moment. It scares me to think how harmful I am when I fail to do that. I’m working against You.
Lord, somehow help me remember to be with You when I am at work, and at home, and everywhere else. Help me to speak to You before I speak to my wife and children. Help me to remember that every word I speak and every action I take is either for You, or it is against You.
31 “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Jesus, am I producing good fruit from a good heart? I have prayed a lot about changing my actions. I want patience and kindness and wisdom. But obviously from these words of Yours, what I really need is a changed heart. Thank-you Lord that You do change hearts, or I would be hopeless. Please do change my heart Lord.
Will my words acquit me or condemn me Jesus. I know I’m not perfect here. I make too many silly jokes with sexual innuendoes. I say things to myself when I am angry that I would never want anyone to hear. But of course, You hear them. You hear them all. I am ashamed.
Please Lord, change me completely. Change me so much so fast. Time is truly running out. Help!
The Sign of Jonah
38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”
39 But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
Jesus, how many miracles and signs had You already worked when they asked You this? But then, who am I to judge. How often have I wondered where You were when I thought I was in a crisis, then later when I looked back I could see You were working with me all the time. Jesus, open my eyes to see Your greatness at work in my every day life.
41 “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. 42 The queen of Sheba[e] will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
43 “When an evil[f] spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. 45 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
Lord, I know what You mean about the 7 evil spirits. I have fallen into this trap, and I am afraid of falling into it again. You know how I have struggled to quit a habitual sin. Several times I would quit for a while, but then fall back worse than ever. I have finally learned that the problem is the emptiness, not the evil spirit. An empty heart and soul is an invitation to evil. Only when I am full of You, am I free from sin.
Jesus, I am busy at work and with many things. I know I haven’t been with You as I should have been. I feel the temptations rolling back upon me. Keep me Lord. Fill me and hold me. Rescue me and save me again. Holy Spirit come upon me and guide me. Protect me and keep me close. I am afraid. I don’t want any more evil. Keep me Lord.
The True Family of Jesus
46 As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 47 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.”[g]
48 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 50 Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
Jesus, I most certainly did not do Your Father’s will last night. I chose to sin. I failed miserably. Am I lost Lord? I know You will never abandon me. I know I have not lost my salvation. But I’ve taken a step away from You, and I am so sorry. When will the temptations pass?
In looking back, this sin was not the start of my stepping away from You. It is just the last in a series. I’ve been so involved in my work, that I haven’t always kept my prayer time. I’ve also not given my best to my employer so I could do other things. I chose to go here in baby steps for months now. I’m not a disciple right now, because I’m not following You. If I had followed You first every day, I would be in a different place right now. I’d be a lot closer to You.
Help Lord. Help me follow You – truly. In all the little things that will keep us close so I am far from the big temptations and the big falls.
- Matthew 12:7 Hos 6:6 (Greek version).
- Matthew 12:8 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- Matthew 12:21 Isa 42:1-4 (Greek version for 42:4).
- Matthew 12:24 Greek Beelzeboul; also in 12:27. Other manuscripts read Beezeboul; Latin version reads Beelzebub.
- Matthew 12:42 Greek The queen of the south.
- Matthew 12:43 Greek unclean.
- Matthew 12:47 Some manuscripts do not include verse 47. Compare Mark 3:32 and Luke 8:20.