Matthew 12:38-50

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

FOUR STATEMENTS MADE BY JESUS

INTRODUCTION:

 

We are in the process of studying the program of the King which includes the narrative about Jesus (11:2 - 12:50), the parables of the kingdom (13:1-52), and the concluding statement, And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence (13:53).

 

In this message we will be looking at Jesus’ statement regarding the sign of the Prophet Jonah, His statement regarding the sign of the Queen of Sheba, His statement regarding the worthlessness of self-reformation, and His statement regarding new relationships.

We see –

    I.     JESUS’ STATEMENT REGARDING THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH – 12:38-41

 

As if Jesus had not already given them many miraculous signs that He was the Messiah, some of the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus to give them a sign. To this Jesus responded that the only sign they would receive would be the sign of the prophet Jonah, after which Jesus explained the sign of Jonah. Those in Nineveh who repented because of Jonah’s preaching will condemn the current generation of Jews because Jesus, Who is greater than Jonah, has been proclaiming God’s message; but His hearers have been rejecting it.

 

We note that –

            A.  SOME OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES ASKED JESUS TO GIVE THEM A SIGN – 12:38

 

Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

 

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered is thereupon some of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered.

 

The scribes are experts in the law or scholars versed in the law.

 

Saying introduces what they said to Jesus.

 

They address Jesus as Master, i.e. as teacher.

 

We would see a sign from thee is we wish (i.e. we desire or we want) to see a sign from You.

 

A sign suggests a miraculous sign or a miracle in order for You to prove what You have been saying.

 

He had just healed a man’s withered hand in verse 13, and He had just cast a demon out of a man who had been unable to see or speak with the result that he both saw and spoke in verse 22. In addition He had performed many other miracles.

 

They would not believe in Him if He would give them another miraculous sign. Their minds were made up, and they did not wish to be confused with the facts. However, He will give them one more sign.

 

We also note that –

            B.  JESUS RESPONDED TO THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES THAT THE ONLY SIGN THEY WOULD RECEIVE WOULD BE THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH – 12:39

 

Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.

 

But he (i.e. Jesus) answered and said unto them (i.e. to certain of the scribes and Pharisees who asked Him a question in verse 38).

 

An evil and adulterous generation suggests a wicked and unfaithful generation. It means that this group of people living during Jesus’ lifetime, who were represented by the scribes and Pharisees, were degenerate and were also unfaithful to God.

 

Seeketh after a sign is is seeking a sign (or is seeking a miraculous sign).

 

And there shall no sign be given to it is and (or but) (a) sign will not be given to it (i.e. to this evil and adulterous generation).

 

The tense of shall be given when combined with no, indicates that this is something which will never happen at any time in the future with one exception.

 

But the sign of the prophet Jonas is except the sign of the prophet Jonah, which is explained in verse 40.

 

Next, we note that –

            C.  JESUS EXPLAINED THE SIGN OF JONAH – 12:40

 

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

 

For as is for just as and introduces a comparison between the two phrases which follow.

 

Jonas is Jonah.

 

Was indicates continuing action in past time. It also indicates that Jesus believed that there was a man named Jonah who was actually swallowed by a specially-prepared fish just as the Bible states it.

 

Three days and three nights indicates the period throughout which Jonah lived inside the specially-prepared fish God sent to swallow him.

 

In the whale’s belly suggests in the great fish’s stomach.

 

Some have tried to make this mean that Jonah was in the fish’s stomach for seventy-two hours.

 

Others have tried to make this three periods of days and three periods of nights.

 

It is best understood, however, as three periods, with each period consisting of a day and a night.

 

The first day and night and the third day and night would not have to be twenty-four hours in duration. Each could represent a partial day and night. Only the second day and night would have to represent twenty-four hours. As a result, Jonah’s stay in the fish’s stomach could be much less than seventy-two hours. It could be as little as twenty-five hours.

 

So introduces the phrase being compared with the previous phrase.

 

Shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth indicates what the sign of the prophet Jonah is.

 

Jesus, the Son of man, shall . . . be (i.e. will be) in the heart of the earth (i.e. a reference to His burial in the tomb) three days and three nights. It is the same phrase used of the prophet Jonah in the stomach of the great fish.

 

Those who believe that Jesus had to be in the grave for a period of seventy-two hours before He could be resurrected early on Sunday morning are forced to believe in a Wednesday crucifixion; but this cannot be because Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, not after the third day.

 

Those who believe that Jesus had to be in the grave through three periods of days and three periods of nights, even though the first and last of these six periods of time would not need to be twelve hours in duration, are forced to believe in a Thursday crucifixion; but it is not necessary to split the days from the nights in this manner.

 

Also, those who believe that it means three periods, with each period consisting of one day and night, believe in a Friday crucifixion. In case you wondered, or even if you didn’t, I believe that the crucifixion occurred on a Friday.

 

The sign of the prophet Jonah, which Jesus gave to the scribes and Pharisees, is a prediction of His death followed by His resurrection on the third day, even though none of them would witness His resurrection or see Him after He was raised from the dead.

 

In addition, we note that –

            D.  PEOPLE IN NINEVEH WHO REPENTED BECAUSE OF JONAH’S PREACHING WILL CONDEMN THE CURRENT GENERATION OF JEWS WHO WERE REJECTING THE PREACHING OF JESUS, WHO IS GREATER THAN JONAH WAS – 12:41

 

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

 

The men of Nineveh refers to the adult males from the city of Nineveh, which was the capital of the Assyrian Empire.

 

Shall rise in the judgment suggests that they will appear in the judgment. It is speaking of the great white throne judgment.

 

With this generation is referring to the people living at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry.

 

And shall condemn it (i.e. will condemn this generation) is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future.

 

Because they repented at the preaching of Jonas (i.e. of Jonah) indicates that the reaction of the Ninevites in believing the message that Jonah proclaimed will result in the condemnation of the people who heard the preaching of Christ and observed the miracles He performed but rejected Him and His message.

 

And, behold is used to gain the listeners’ attention and is understood as and, you see.

 

Although Jesus’ listeners should have realized it, a greater than Jonas is here. Jesus is referring to Himself as Someone greater (or more important) than Jonah was. Whereas Jonah was a prophet sent by God, Jesus was God the Son, the Messiah, sent by God.

 

Is here suggests (is) in this place and means (is) right here with you.

 

Inasmuch as Jesus was greater than Jonah, the scribes and Pharisees should have listened to Him and believed in Him like the Ninevites who had listened to the preaching of the prophet Jonah and repented. However, Jesus’ hearers have been rejecting Him and the message He was proclaiming.

As we move on, we see –

  II.     JESUS’ STATEMENT REGARDING THE QUEEN OF SHEBA – 12:42

 

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

 

The wording in the first half of this verse is very similar to the wording in the first half of verse 41.

 

The queen of the south is the queen of Sheba.

 

We learn about the Queen of Sheba in I Kings 10:1-10 .

 

I Kings 10:1-101 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard [i.e. difficult] questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train [i.e. retinue, caravan], with camels that bare [i.e. that bore or that were carrying] spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him [i.e. spoke with him] of all that was in her heart. 3 And Solomon told her [i.e. answered] all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not [i.e. which he could not explain to her]. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house [i.e. the palace] that he had built, 5 And the meat of his table [i.e. and the food on his table], and the sitting [i.e. the seating] of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers [i.e. the service of his waiters], and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent [i.e. his stairway, his entryway] by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her [i.e. she was overwhelmed]. 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. 9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king [i.e. He made you king], to do judgment and justice [i.e. to do justice and righteousness]. 10 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold [i.e. 9,000 pounds of gold = on Friday of this week, gold sold for $1,205.00/ounce, which makes this a value of $173,520,000.00 in today’s market – that’s a lot of money!], and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

 

Back to Matthew 12:42

Shall rise up means that the Queen of Sheba will appear in the judgment, which suggests at the great white throne judgment.

 

With this generation is referring to the people living at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry.

 

And shall condemn it is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future. It means and will condemn this generation.

 

For is the word ordinarily translated because and is understood in this sense in this verse. It introduces the reason the queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it.

 

Because she (i.e. because the queen of Sheba) came from the uttermost parts of the earth (i.e. from the ends of the earth) to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

 

She traveled many miles to hear what Solomon had to say; whereas, the scribes and Pharisees were actually in the company of Jesus but would not listen to Him.

 

And, behold is and, you see and is used to gain the listeners’ attention.

 

A greater than Solomon is here. Jesus is referring to Himself and means that He is more important than Solomon.

 

Furthermore, He is here, standing right where the scribes and Pharisees are standing. If they would, they could learn from Him; but they will not. Their minds are made up. They have rejected Him and the salvation He has offered them.

In addition, we see –

 III.     JESUS’ STATEMENT REGARDING THE WORTHLESSNESS OF SELF- REFORMATION – 12:43-45

 

The Bible clearly teaches that salvation comes only by faith in Christ. No one can clean up his life and make himself acceptable to God.

 

In verses 43-45 Jesus compares those in His generation and their efforts to reform themselves to a man who had previously been demon possessed, but somehow the demon had gone out of him. Eventually the demon returned and found him to be a ready victim and, along with seven other demons, re-entered the man who was then worse off than he had been previously.

 

Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

 

When the unclean spirit is whenever an evil spirit or a demon.

 

Is gone out of a man is came out (i.e. has come out or has gone out) from the man.

 

It pictures a demon, who has been inhabiting someone, leaving him and going away from him. The text does not indicate why the demon left the man.

 

It pictures a man who was formerly demon possessed but never genuinely saved. He apparently attempted to clean up his life by reforming himself apart from being saved.

 

The man’s life, which the demon refers to as my house, is found to be swept, clean, and garnished in verse 44, which speaks of his self-attempts at reformation. Instead, because there was no supernatural work of God in his life, he was able to be demon possessed again.

 

He walketh through dry places suggests, He (i.e. the unclean spirit) walketh through (i.e. passes through) dry places (i.e. through waterless places).

 

Seeking rest indicates how this unclean spirit was passing through dry places. He was seeking a place where he might rest, i.e. a resting place.

 

And findeth none is, but He does not find rest (i.e. does not find a resting place).

 

Matthew 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

 

In verse 44 the demon is pictured as returning to his previous victim whose life had been reformed without really being changed.

 

Then he saith is thereupon he (i.e. the demon who formerly inhabited the man) says. He apparently said this to himself.

 

I will return into my house from whence I came out, which suggests I will go back into my habitation (i.e. into the body of the formerly demon-possessed man).

 

From whence I came out is from which I came out.

 

And when he is come suggests after he came.

 

He findeth it means that the demon finds his habitation, i.e. the body of the man he had previously possessed.

 

Empty, swept, and garnished indicates that the habitation has been cleaned up and decorated. It suggests that the individual who had been formerly demon possessed had cleaned up his life through self-reformation.

 

Empty means standing empty or unoccupied.

 

Swept suggests having been swept by a broom; and garnished suggests having been tidied (i.e. fixed up, put in order, or perhaps decorated). It was ready for occupancy.

 

Matthew 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

 

Verse 45 pictures the demon re-entering the man along with seven other demons, resulting in the victim being far worse off than previously.

 

Jesus then likens His story about this man to the generation living at the time of His earthly ministry.

 

Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself suggests thereupon the wicked spirit (who formerly dwelled in the man) returns and brings with him seven spirts more wicked than he is.

 

And they enter in and dwell there indicates that all eight of these demons enter the body of the man and settle down there (i.e. in the man’s body). It means that they now control (or possess) the man.

 

And the last state of that man is worse than the first means that he is worse off than he had been previously.

 

Jesus then warns the scribes and Pharisees with whom He is speaking, Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation suggests so it will also be for this wicked generation.

 

The people led by the scribes and Pharisees to reject the Lord Jesus Christ are like the man who reformed himself but later experienced a much worse demonic invasion and are now more vulnerable for satanic activity against them.

Finally, we see –

 IV.     JESUS’ STATEMENT REGARDING NEW RELATIONSHIPS – 12:46-50

 

Verse 46-50 detail a visit of Jesus’ mother and brothers desiring to speak with Him. Jesus asked the people who His mother and brothers were before indicating that whoever will do the will of God the Father is His mother, brother, and sister.

 

Matthew 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

 

While he yet talked to the people is while He was still speaking to the crowds.

 

Behold is used to gain the reader’s attention.

 

His mother and his brethren is His mother and His brothers.

 

Stood without is stood outside.

 

According to Luke 8:19 , Jesus’ mother and brothers were not able to get to Him because of the crowd.

 

Desiring to speak with him is wishing (or wanting) to talk with Him.

 

Matthew 12:47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

 

Then one said unto him is then someone (or somebody) said to Him (i.e. said to Jesus).

 

Behold is used to gain Jesus’ attention in the sense of look.

 

Thy mother and thy brethren stand without is, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside.

 

Desiring to speak with thee is seeking (i.e. wanting or wishing) to talk with You.

 

The fact that Jesus had brothers indicates that the teaching of the perpetual virginity of Mary is not true. They were brothers, not cousins as some have taught.

 

Matthew 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? Jesus asks who His mother and brothers are.

 

But he answered and said unto him that told him indicates that Jesus responded to the one who had informed Him about His mother and brothers wanting to speak to Him.

 

What Jesus said, is, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren (i.e. My brothers)? Of course, Jesus knew who His mother and brothers were; but He is teaching that relationships change when people get saved.

 

Family relationships do not gain one entrance into heaven. Jesus’ mother and brothers, like everyone else, had to be saved.

 

Matthew 12:49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! In verse 49 Jesus points out that His disciples are His mother and brothers.

 

And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples suggests after He stretched forth His hand in the direction of His disciples.

 

He . . . said, Behold my mother and my brethren! The disciples were not Jesus’ physical relatives.

 

Note that what Jesus said does not treat His mother as if she were the mother of God. Mary was not the mother of God as some have taught.

 

According to Romans 8:29 , Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren, all of whom are saved people.

 

Matthew 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

 

The one who does the will of God the Father is Jesus’ mother, brother, and sister.

 

For introduces Jesus’ explanation of how His disciples are actually His close relatives.

 

Whosoever shall do is whoever does.

 

The will of my Father which is in heaven refers to God the Father.

 

God’s will is expressed in I John 3:23 ,

 

I John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

 

The same means he.

 

Is introduces a statement which is a timeless truth, something which is always true.

 

My brother, and sister, and mother indicates that Jesus’ disciples are His genuine relatives even though He had a real mother and real brothers.

 

Family relationships did not automatically bring about their salvation. Jesus’ brothers, sisters, and mother had to believe the gospel and be saved like everybody else.

CONCLUSION:

 

Have you trusted Christ as your personal Savior?

Scriptures