Sabbath Questions

1 At that particular time Jesus went through the grainfields on the (a)Sabbath, and His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.(A) 2 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what (b)is unlawful on the Sabbath.”(B) 3 He said to them, “Have you not read [in the Scriptures] what David did when he was hungry, he and those who accompanied him—(C) 4 how he went into the house of God, and they ate the (c)consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests only? 5 Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break [the sanctity of] the Sabbath and yet are innocent?(D) 6 But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had only known what this statement means, ‘I desire compassion [for those in distress], (d)and not [animal] sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.(E)

Lord of the Sabbath

8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9 Leaving there, He went into their synagogue.(F) 10 A man was there whose hand was withered. And they asked Jesus, “Is it lawful and permissible to heal on the Sabbath?”—they asked this so that they might accuse Him and bring charges into court. 11 But He said to them, “What man is there among you who, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and permissible to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Reach out your hand!” The man reached out and it was restored, as normal and healthy as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, discussing how they could destroy Him.
15 Being aware of this, Jesus left there. Many followed Him, and He healed all of them [who were sick], 16 and warned them not to tell [publicly] who He was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen;
My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased;
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will proclaim justice to the nations.

He will not quarrel, nor cry out loudly;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.

A battered reed He will not break,
And a smoldering wick He will not extinguish,
Until He leads justice to victory.

And in His name the Gentiles (all the nations of the world) will hope [with confidence].”(G)

The Pharisees Rebuked

22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man both spoke and saw.(H) 23 All the people wondered in amazement, and said, “Could this be the Son of David (the Messiah)?” 24 But the Pharisees heard it and said, “This man (e)casts out demons only by [the help of] Beelzebul (Satan) the prince of the demons.”
25 Knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom that is divided against itself is being laid waste; and no city or house divided against itself will [continue to] stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan [that is, his demons], he has become divided against himself and disunited; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 If I cast out the demons by [the help of] Beelzebul (Satan), by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you [before you expected it]. 29 Or how can anyone go into a strong man’s house and steal his property unless he first overpowers and ties up the strong man? Then he will ransack and rob his house.(I)

The Unpardonable Sin

30 He who is not with Me [once and for all on My side] is against Me; and he who does not [unequivocally] gather with Me scatters.(J)
31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy [every evil, abusive, injurious speaking, or indignity against sacred things] will be forgiven people, but (f)blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit [by attributing the miracles done by Me to Satan] will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.(K)

Words Reveal Character

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is recognized and judged by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 The good man, from his [inner] good treasure, brings out good things; and the evil man, from his [inner] evil treasure, brings out evil things. 36 But I tell you, on the day of judgment people will have to give an accounting for every careless or useless word they speak. 37 For by your words [reflecting your spiritual condition] you will be justified and acquitted of the guilt of sin; and by your words [rejecting Me] you will be condemned and sentenced.”

The Desire for Signs

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign (attesting miracle) from You [proving that You are what You claim to be].” 39 But He replied and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation [that is morally unfaithful to God] craves and demands a [miraculous] sign; but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah;(L) 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.(M) 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up [as witnesses] at the judgment against this generation, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now, something greater than Jonah is here.(N) 42 The Queen of the South (Sheba) will stand up [as a witness] at the judgment against this generation, and will condemn it because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon; and now, something greater than Solomon is here.(O)
43 “Now when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through waterless (dry, arid) places in search of rest, but it does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, and put in order.

The Desire for Signs

45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So will it also be with this wicked generation.”

Changed Relationships

46 While He was still talking to the crowds, it happened that His mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to Him.(P) 47 Someone said to Him, “Look! Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside asking to speak to You.” 48 But Jesus replied to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”

Changed Relationships

49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples [and all His other followers], He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For (g)whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven [by believing in Me, and following Me] is My brother and sister and mother.”


a. Matthew 12:1: The seventh day of the week, the day of worship.
b. Matthew 12:2: Picking grain to eat was not forbidden on the Sabbath. It was ridiculous for the Pharisees to try to equate gleaning for food with reaping a harvest (which was forbidden on the Sabbath).
c. Matthew 12:4: The bread of the Presence, the twelve fresh loaves presented each Sabbath to the Lord in the Holy Place.
d. Matthew 12:7: I.e. more than.
e. Matthew 12:24: A statement of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. See vv 31, 32.
f. Matthew 12:31: Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is denying all the work of the Holy Spirit. This leads ultimately to rejecting the deity of Christ.
g. Matthew 12:50: A universal offer without restriction.