Matthew’s Cohesive Argument
that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Messiah
The Messiah: The Fulfillment of the Moral and Ceremonial Law Walking in Bodily Form, on Earth and in Heaven
Section #2: What His Deeds Preached: A Message, Ministry, and Person Defended & Confirmed!
What His Deeds Preached: A Message, Ministry, and Person Defended & Confirmed!
8:1-4 à The Unclean Leper Touched: Jesus Christ, a seeming law-breaker, touched an unclean Leper (Lev. 13:1-46, Num. 19:22) and it cleansed the unclean man… “immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Matt. 8:3). Jesus Christ is, therefore, “the Law of the leper in the day of His cleansing” - reformed and fulfilled (Lev. 14:1)! He is, in other words, a greater sprinkling than the blood of birds sprinkled seven times; He is a greater water than the old-time washing and a more purifying ceremony than full-body shaving; He is a greater anointing than oil-sprinkling and oil-pouring; He is a greater sacrifice than the sin-offering which was offered for the old-time atonement (see Lev. 14:1-20)!
8:5-13 à An Unclean Company Cleansed: Jesus Christ agreed to go into the home of a Gentile Centurion to heal his servant (“I will come”, see Matt. 8:6-7), but because the Gentile man loathed the idea of defiling the Lord (apparently he was aware of the Law), he said, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matt. 8:8). Jesus Christ was about to enter the home of a Gentile, unashamedly… but how? If the Lord would have entered the Gentile man’s house He would have likely taken some refreshments while being in his company, thus the Lord Jesus would have been eating and drinking in the company and house of a Gentile man! The Jewish Law which forbade the company of Jews and Gentiles was common knowledge among Jews and Gentiles (“Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing”-Acts 10:28). Therefore because the Gentile Centurion believed in the Law (which commanded such things as Lev. 10:10, 11:47, 20:25, Ezek. 22:26, 44:23) he was abased in his own eyes. In this humility the Gentile man entreated the Lord that Jesus would not come to his house. Even though Jesus Christ never came into the house of the Gentile man (and instead healed the servant through the power of His spoken word), the Lord Jesus vindicated His intention to eat and drink with a Gentile man by a staggeringly relevant declaration: He foretold that non-Israelite Gentiles will come from far and distant Lands to sit down and keep company, eating and drinking at the Table of the Kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but “the children of the Kingdom”, the Jews, “shall be cast out” (Matt. 8:10-12)! The Lord Jesus was signifying why wisdom justified His entry and company within the House and presence of Gentiles, giving reference to the future state of the Kingdom of God [relevant citations: Acts 10:15, 25-29, 11:3, John 18:28-29]. This is shocking! Apparently, in Jesus’ presence, the unclean company is cleansed! According as it was written, “And in that Day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isa. 11:10).
8:14-17 à The Person and Work Foretold, A Touch-able Redemption (the unlawful “touch” & the demon-possessed unlawfully preserved alive): Jesus Christ encountered Peter’s sick mother-in-law and it was written, “He touched her hand” (Matt. 8:15). This “touch”, and many more like it, were famed abroad so much so that it was written at a later time, “as many as touched were made perfectly whole” (Matt. 14:31, Mk. 6:56). This is because Jesus Christ is the embodiment of salvation (via OT promises: Ex. 15:26, Deut. 7:15, Ps. 103:3; via OT prophecies: Isa. 53:4, Isa. 35:6, Isa. 43:8, Isa. 35:5, Hos. 6:2, 13:14, Isa. 25:8, 26:19, John 5:28-29). Jesus Christ did, thereafter, heal as many as came to Him and cast out every devil (Matt. 8:16)! The unclean people who were defiled by disease did throng upon Jesus Christ… and as many as touched Him were healed! The unclean came and touched, and went away clean! According to the inspired writer this was in fulfillment of the prophecy, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sickness” (Matt. 8:17, Isa. 53:4)! Jesus Christ “took” them, the writer said! This verb emphasizes how Jesus Christ did, in some cases, reach forth and touch the helpless and hopeless to take away the wretched curse which crushed both body and soul – diseases which were ceremonially forbidden to touch! – and in the cases where the unclean took liberty to reach out and touch Christ, they did so by believing that He existed to take it away from them! Also here, in Matthew 8:14-17, another sort of uncleanness is cleansed on a widespread scale. Jesus Christ did forcefully and powerfully cast out formerly unconquerable devils from all who came to Him for help! Credibly, this attribute of redemption was prophesied and foretold, and here demonstrated: the expressed purpose to overthrown, spoil, and punish the rulers, princes, and spirits which pertain to the kingdom of hell (“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” -Gen. 3:5, Rom. 16:20, Heb. 2:14-15, Isa. 24:21, Lk. 10:18, Rev. 12:7-8, 17, 1 Jn. 3:8, Col. 2:15, Rev. 20:10). This is true, but this is not just a prophetic wonder but a law-fulfilling wonder! The Spirit in which Christ came (Lk. 9:55) to Israel was not to kill the demon-possessed or the adulteress, for example, as the letter of the justice demanded (demon-possessed: Ex. 22:18, Lev. 20:6, 27, 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12; adulteress: Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:21-24). Jesus Christ wielded a redemptive power instead of a damning power because His mission was that of mercy and not of penalty; in other words and in this case, the Lord Jesus wielded the power to cast out devils instead of killing the demon-possessed, according to the letter of the Law. The purpose of Christ’s coming was not to enact the curse/justice of the Law, but to bear it, absorb it, and take it upon himself! It was not to bring a famine upon the Land to punish the wicked (Deut. 11:17, 28:23-24)… rather, it was to turn the dry land into a pool of water (Isa. 41:18) – this is the metaphorical thesis of Jesus Christ’s miracle ministry conveyed by prophetic language (see Matt. 8:14-17)! This one attribute of the Man, Jesus Christ – The touch-able-ness of Human Redemption – was so notoriously spread abroad that when the multitudes gathered around Him (accounted in Matt. 12:15-21 & Mk. 3:6-12) He asked that he might find refuge in a boat to preach to the people from a removed location. He did this, “lest they should throng Him. For He healed many insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as may as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known” (Mk. 3:9-12). Note: The Ceremonial Law-fulfillment of His Touch: As Jesus Christ went about Israel doing good, it became apparent that this Man was a body into which all sin would be imputed and absolved, from which all righteousness would be imputed and imparted to others.
8:19-20 à Incomparable Humility & Loneliness (a Ministry characterized by unexpected rejection): A learned scribe came to Jesus Christ, and said, “I will follow Thee withersoever Thou goest”, thinking that Jesus Christ would probably live an honored life like his was for the past many years he spent learning the Law. Christ responded with confrontational boldness against flagrant apostasy! His response demonstrated the incomparable humility which Christ was predestined to undertake to save a sin-cursed people who didn’t want their Messiah (Php. 2:5-8, John 13:1-17). Jesus Christ was predestined to suffer an unexpected rejection by poplar Judaism and the widespread public. This foretold lifestyle of Jesus Christ (its loneliness) brings in view an attribute of redemption which deserves grave and thoughtful reflection. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord said, “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me” (Isa.63:5). Jesus Christ had power to accomplish human redemption standing-alone; He had the humility to suffer for and save a guilty and condemned people by Himself. Even when the Law stated and affirmed every man’s guilt and condemnation based upon their own deeds which they had committed, individually speaking (Ex. 32:32-33, Ezek. 18:20, 30), the Lord of glory has power to absolve every man’s law-bound accountability to their disobedience through His own singular and stand-alone obedience! “The gift by grace, which is by One Man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Rom. 5:15)! Every man’s law-bound and individual accountability was punished by the power of Divine-fury all throughout the centuries in such a manner that, shockingly, individual Israelites perished not alone in their iniquities! According to biblical history, the violent abhorrence that disobedience was to God, in essence, provoked a violent arousing of Divine-justice (Jonah 1:12-16, Num. 16:22, 17:13, Josh. 22:16-20, Num. 25:1-13, Josh. 7:25, 1 Chron. 21:15-17, Num. 32:14-15, 23), but the LORD did stir-up a more violent force of grace and love in Jesus Christ which, comparatively, is now manifest in reversed parallelism to the justice depicted in the aforementioned examples (examples where by one man’s sin all men suffered the demise of overflowing wrath) – so that now, by One Man’s obedience, collective redemption is unloosed in furious and overflowing grace upon all men who believe! “For as by the one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall man be made righteous. Moreover the Law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:19-20). In a stand-alone and redemptive obedience, the Man Jesus is resurrected and ascended with a great company of sinners clothed in His righteousness!
8:21-22 à Incomparable & Collective Royalty: Jesus Christ’s mission (and its followers) were obliged to and bound by a greater obligation than what was demonstrated in the Law (by the holiness of the priesthood: Lev. 10:6-7, 21:10-12; by the holiness of the Nazarites: Num. 6:3-7; and by the general holiness of Israelites: Num. 19:11), thus Jesus Christ said, like in the aforementioned citations, “let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22). Consecration from the defilement of dead bodies was for Divine-reception unto a Divine-purpose of grave importance, and how much more the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ – The Priesthood of Melchisedec (Heb. 7:17)! When men were in near-proximity to Jesus Christ’s bodily presence in the 1st century, the location at which they stood was as if they had entered a holier place than the Temple of God itself. Speaking of Himself, Jesus said, “in this place is One greater than the Temple” (Matt. 12:6)! Therefore as the priests of old-time did go to and fro throughout the Temple to accomplish their employment of work on the Sabbath day (Matt. 12:5), the disciples of the Lord went to and fro in attendance to Jesus Christ. The special necessity of priestly labors necessitated a special exception from otherwise undeniable obligations of Law. In the historical situation accounted by Matthew 8:21-22, special exception to the Law which commanded to honor one’s father and mother is allowed (Ex. 20:12, Deut. 5:16). In the historical situation accounted by Matthew 12:1-8, special exception to the Law which forbade work on the Sabbath day was allowed (Ex. 20:8-11, Num. 15:32-36). In both occasions the 1st century disciples of the Lord Jesus became more holy than Old Testament priests because of a new priesthood (the order of Melchisedec-Heb.7:17), a priesthood which was irrespective of one’s physical lineage via the seed of Aaron (Ex. 28:43, Num. 16:40)! – This was a collective priesthood active in a superior royalty which appeared contrary to the Law! A priesthood which would soon include the Gentiles, of all people (“a royal priesthood”-1Pet.2:9)!
8:23-27 à Unconquerable & Stand-Alone Authority (a Mission so impossible there will be an unexpected victory by a Man of stand-alone authority): The journey of salvation for the disciples is thus demonstrated in this with pictorial vividness: a tempestuous storm crashing over the boat and well-nigh drowning the un-believing believers, but Christ will arise in due time and rebuke the seeming impossible circumstance to absolute stillness at the instant His command was uttered – demonstrating unconquerable & stand-alone authority. Jesus Christ had authority to hush and still all the plagues of God’s wrath (i.e. the overflowing waters; see Ps. 89:8-9, 107:24-29) with a single word. He did this standing-alone---without any ceremony to merit Divine-favor, without any judgment to appease Divine-justice, contrary to all the historical instances in the Law where such things were necessary to pacify the wrath of God (Jonah 1:12-16, Num. 16:22, 17:13, Josh. 22:16-20, Num. 25:1-13, Josh. 7:25, 1 Chron. 21:15-17, 22, Num. 32:14-15, 23)… this was an unprecedented expression of authority which was simply unheard of and borderline blasphemous, except this Man be GOD!
8:28-34 à The Man: A Stand-Alone Eradication & Expulsion of All Uncleanness: By appearance, it seemed that Jesus did not abide by the Clean and Unclean Laws which the Old Testament commanded (Lev. 10:10, 11:47, 20:25, Ezek. 22:26, 44:23). Moreover when Jesus encountered demon-possessed people, instead of killing them He cleansed them (Ex. 22:18, Lev. 20:6, 27, 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12)! In this short passage the unclean spirits were expelled, unclean beasts and the associated enterprises which made a business out of uncleanness were destroyed, and an unclean society rejected the Clean Man because they were terrified of His cleansing wave! The demon-possessed came from the tombs (which were unclean, see Num. 19:16-22), the Israelites were herding swine for an unclean enterprise (Lev. 11:7, Deut. 14:8, Lev. 20:25-27), and, shockingly, all of it was suddenly driven into destruction as the aftermath of Jesus’ command to the devils (Matt. 8:30-32; Note: unclean spirits desire to inhabit unclean places). As a consequence to this, the whole unclean city came together for fear of Jesus’ power to cleanse and eradicate uncleanness in all its forms! They plead with Jesus Christ, saying, “depart out of [our] coasts” (Matt. 8:34), which they wished to remain unclean and un-touched by The Man who cleansed everything in near-proximity! What a staggering event! Every man must choose cleanness or uncleanness when and if the Man, Jesus, who is the fulfillment of all cleanliness in bodily form, walks into a Land or City in bodily form… thus were all men in an upheaval for or against Jesus Christ! When men interacted with Jesus it made them want to kill Him or die to self, one or the other.
9:1-8 à A Sin-Absolving “Blasphemer” (spiritual uncleanness is forgiven): The Pharisees said, “This man blasphemeth”, because the Lord Jesus said to the man with palsy, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”. Forgiveness was granted without any OT ceremony or sin-offering for atonement because it was written, “He shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:11). Shockingly, He was able to offer the salvific virtue which was yet to be accomplished (which, also, had been accomplished from eternity past –Rev.13:8, 5:6), which, apparently, was alive in real time inside of Himself!
9:9-13 à An Unclean Company Cleansed: The man, Matthew, found by the Lord sitting at a table of uncleanness (“sitting at the receipt of custom”-Matt.9:9), responded to the call, “Follow Me”. So gloriously did Matthew experience saving conversion that, thereafter, “Jesus sat at meat” in his house at a great feast he had prepared for the Lord and a multitude of guests (Lk. 5:29). These guests were there to behold the spectacle which the conversion experience of Matthew beckoned (“old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”-2Cor.5:17) and to hear from the Lord Jesus the words of Life. The Lord Jesus preached everywhere He went! The Pharisees, looking on, were in utter disbelief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. They did not believe He was the Man or the Message of salvation for Israel, thus they scorned the miracle of salvation. All the Pharisees could see was, “Jesus sat at meat in the house…behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples” (Matt. 9:10). All the Pharisees could say was, “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners” (Matt. 19:11)? They did not understand that the unclean company of sinners was being cleansed by encountering the walking fulfillment of the Ceremonial and Moral Law in bodily form. What the Pharisees were beholding was a new ceremony! It was the ceremony of a new salvation via an evangelistic outreach! – an outreach that they should have marveled at because of the glory of salvation working within needy sinners, but instead it was an outreach they marveled at because of the law-fulfilling method of salvation in Christ which was not apparent to them and seemingly contradictory to the letter of the Law.
9:14-17 à An Unprecedented Man Calls-for Unprecedented Conduct: The aforementioned situation provided the Pharisees with ammunition to slander the name of Jesus. Doubtlessly, they pointed out the differing behavior and conduct of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Being motivated by this controversy, the disciples of John came and inquired of the Lord concerning this difference. The subject of “eating” is at hand, because Christ’s company with which He ate was unprecedented by any other person for fear that the individual would break the Law and become unclean… but every unclean place or person which Jesus Christ ventured into or touched, He cleansed! Thus, an unprecedented Man performing an unprecedented salvation (physically and spiritually) necessitates an unprecedented behavior from the salvation-enriched followers of Jesus. This principle is communicated by Jesus via the reference of a Wedding, New and Old Garments, and New and Old Wine. The Bridegroom, who is the life and center of the Wedding Ceremony, determines the conduct of all its attendees… thus while Christ is among His disciples they are salvation-enriched (i.e. if this new conduct existed in the old circumstances it would be sin – ruinous to the soul and transgressing of the Covenant). If this new conduct, like a new patch, was applied to the circumstances of the Old Covenant (even the greatest of the prophets of the Old Covenant), the perfectly woven Covenant would be rent/transgressed. If this new conduct, like new wine, was applied to circumstances in the Old Covenant (even the greatest of the prophets of the Old Covenant), the very casement of the Old Covenant would be rent/transgressed. Jesus Christ lived-out and exemplified a conduct which was in truth, law-fulfillments of every inspired letter of the Old Covenant, but the law-fulfillments were accomplished via a superior virtue than what the letter offered.
9:18-26 à Defiled by the Dead and Touched by the Unclean: Illustrating this, the seekers of salvation take the Kingdom of God in the violence of unprecedented conduct and behavior! They don’t abide among the funeral dirge and isolate themselves among his unclean companions. They don’t isolate themselves for seven days so that they, who are defiled by the dead, refrain from spreading uncleanness throughout the Land (“This is the Law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days”-Num.19:14). Or in the case of uncleanness via a running issue, they don’t isolate themselves for seven days lest they spread uncleanness throughout the Land (“And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until even”-Lev.15:19). No… In either case, because of the unprecedented near-presence of the cleansing Man, the Messiah, the people were allowably diverting from the instruction of the Law (seemingly law-breaking) because there is a greater fulfillment available (“The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel”-Mark1:15). The new and unprecedented behavior is allowed because of the presence of the unprecedented Man, the Bridegroom. The unclean man who had been defiled by the dead sought out Jesus and cried, “come and lay Thy hand upon her” (an act which would have defiled Christ on two points: (1) by entering the house and (2) touching the dead)… a thing which Jesus did with all boldness: “He went in and took her by the hand, and the maid arose” (Matt. 9:18, 25)! The unclean woman traversed across society and pressed through crowds endeavoring touch Jesus Christ (an act which would defile Christ if He were an ordinary man), but when she “touched the hem of His garment” she was cleansed and healed (Matt. 9:20)! Jesus Christ is the greater fulfillment of the Old Testament “purification for sin” which was prescribed for those who were defiled by the dead (Num. 19:1-22). Jesus Christ is a greater sacrifice than “two turtles” or “two young pigeons” (Lev. 15:29), and a greater atonement than any Old Testament sin-offering (Lev. 15:30). “In that Day there shall be a Fountain opened to the House of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1). Hallelujah!
9:27-34 à Boundless Powers of Healing & Restoration (insomuch that the blind see and the dumb speak, according to prophecy): The blind men followed Christ, saying, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us”, acknowledging that Jesus was the Christ (foretold to be the Son of David and a healer of the blind; “the eyes of the blind shall be opened”-Isa.35:5). The restoration of their physical sight was a result of their spiritual sight – thus, and because of this, the blind men boldly and violently approached the Man from which proceeded a fountain of saving power and physical restoration (“the violent take it by force”-Matt.1:12)! This is a literal fulfillment of a Messianic regathering and restoring of Israel foretold by prophecy, saying, “Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears” (Isa. 43:8)! When they were thus allowed to approach the One who captured their eyes of faith, it was written, “Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). Amen! The Man, Jesus, was an absorbent vacuum of every sin-caused malady which assailed the common public, and this, so much so, that even blind men could see that Jesus was the long-looked-for and promised Messiah, the Son of David! The entire environment of the visible and invisible creation was so captivated by the Messianic powers which emanated from the bodily frame of the God-Man that, shockingly, in the event that, haply, the chosen people held their peace from shouts of praise and lauds of adoration, at this time “the stones would immediately cry out” in their place (Luke 19:40)! And so it was moreover testified and proven again and again, “As they went out, BEHOLD, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel” (Matt. 9:32-33). The manifestation of the Messiah could not be foretold any clearer! It is written, “the tongue of the dumb shall sing!” Hallelujah! “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” – Isaiah 35:5-8
9:35-38 à Immeasurable Compassion & Heart-Moving Tenderness (the Church is thereby established as an outlet or channel for His love to continue!): In the aforementioned words and deeds heretofore detailed, the Lord Jesus was known so to behave. He “went about all the cities and villages” – “teaching” & “preaching” – and “healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matt. 9:35), and as it was all said and done He was not satisfied! “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The Harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His Harvest” (Matt. 9:36-38). My reader, do you know the love of Christ? It was Paul’s prayer that the Church may be enabled to “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19). As you will soon see, my reader, the Lord Jesus is not satisfied to lay His hands on the Lepers and the diseased, being compelled by so great a zeal for the wellbeing of sinners Jesus of Nazareth laid His hands on called-out disciples to impute and impart the virtue of cleansing power so that they, alongside of Him, would fill the Land of Israel full of the goodness which flows from Jesus’ Name.
10:1-8 à A Church-Body to Spread the Restoration Power of Christ in Greater Magnitude (Christ living through Christians): In the aforementioned heart and desire the Lord called, anointed, and endowed twelve disciples as apostles and sent them abroad. They were sent so to do exactly what Christ was doing (Matt. 10:7-8). By message and miracles, the Kingdom of God was effectually proclaimed! Their mission was directed toward the House of Israel and not the Gentiles (Matt. 10:5-8); “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” –Rom. 1:16. Oh, my reader, take note! The inspired text said, “also to the Greek”! The love of Christ which began in Israel must travel abroad into all the world, my reader, but He is looking for channels through which the mighty waters will flow! The eyes of God are upon 20th century Christians that they would yield themselves to God so to be, like exemplified in Israel, but in the Gentile countryside. If Christ’s love is comprehended by any Gentile Church Age saint… it is a comprehension which surpasses the confinements of earthly intelligence (“the love of Christ which passeth knowledge”-Eph.3:19). Oh that we could grasp the unknowable! That we, like the 1st century disciples, would become bodies through which the life of Jesus could flow! That we, like Him, could become walking law-fulfillments of cleansing power! So that we, like Christ, would be ambassadors of this Touch-able redemption which was prophesied to spread throughout all the world! If we truly understood the love of Christ that motivated Him to lay His hands upon the apostles and, thus, envision the innumerable company of Christians which would be conformed to the image of the Jesus through their endowment as apostles, we all, as Christians, would feel as though the holy hands of our Lord are reaching toward us right now! Every blessing and virtue of their endowment is our anointing, dear saints! Thus when we pray we are exhorted to be reflective of this most glorious mystery, “the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20)! Hallelujah! May we see this glory again in its 1st century purity and virginity, according to the witness and testimony of the New Testament! After all, the New Testament is the only sure and infallible definition of what normal Christianity is.
10:9-31 à A Clean Man & Message REJECTED by an Unclean Land / Salvation & Damnation in Terms of Territorial Cleanness & Uncleanness: The targeted people for whom the missionary journey existed were the Israelites, a people who were supposed to be clean (the people, their possessions, Homes, territories, Cities, and Land). This being the case, inquiry was to be made in each City the apostles entered. The inquiry was in search for what Christ called, “son of peace” (Lk. 10:6). Who is this man? This is a man who receives the message and Man of the Gospel, apparently. Upon finding him (the son of peace), the apostles were instructed to abide in his house because it is worthy/clean (Matt. 10:11-13). If the house was unworthy/unclean it was because the people of the household were unclean via rejecting Christ (“whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words”-Matt. 10:14). Notice carefully the terms of damnation, my reader. Whoever rejected the apostles did thereby reject Christ! Jesus Christ was being represented and expressed via the messengers, their message, and the associated miracles which were all performed in His Name; therefore, Christ said, “He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me” (Matt. 10:40). This is an amazing statement! Jesus Christ had power to impute and impart cleanness inside of ambassadorial messengers who will, thereby, become walking law-fulfillments of cleansing power in the Name of Jesus unto all who will receive the Man of their message through them! This has become, therefore, through the Church (“which is His body”-Eph.1:23), a touch-able redemption spreading through ambassadors who express the Man, message, and miracles necessary for salvation (a faith-inspiring reaction within unbelievers enabling them to engage the Living God)! This reality was so real and actual – through missionary journeys via the Church – we can see the operation of salvation and damnation via the terms of territorial uncleanness! This was proven when, according to the Lord Jesus’ instruction, the apostles encountered a City where all the men therein were unclean, it was then that the whole Land was left without hope and help thereby… but how is this discerned? It was discerned by the rejection of the Christ-sent missionaries who represented Him! Upon finding no House and no man within a City to receive the messengers of Christ, a declaration of public testimony needed to be made to the apostate people. The Lord’s instruction was shocking! He said, “When ye depart out of that House or City, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matt. 10:14)! Adam Clarke gives helpful commentary on the meaning of this demonstration,
“Shake off the dust of your feet - The Jews considered themselves defiled by the dust of a heathen country, when was represented by the prophets as a polluted land, Amo_7:17, when compared with the land of Israel, which was considered as a holy land, Eze_45:1; therefore, to shake the dust of any city of Israel from off one’s clothes or feet was an emblematical action, signifying a renunciation of all farther connection with them, and placing them on a level with the cities of the Heathen. See Amo_9:7.” – Adam Clarke.
The individuals, Households, Cities, and Lands which rejected Christ’s message via His messengers (Matt. 10:40-42) were thereby reduced into such an abhorrent estate of wickedness before God Almighty that, shockingly, they were more unclean and defiled than the Land of Sodom and Gomorrah (Cities which were given over to all manner of uncleanness, fornication, and “going after strange flesh”, Cities which the common public knew were “set forth an example” in how they were utterly annihilated by the wrath of God; see Jude 1:7). Notice how Christ pronounced woe upon the “City” as a territory – a territory that had been blackened by a more terrible uncleanness than the territorially unclean “Land” of Sodom and Gomorrah (which was defiled by strange flesh; see Matt. 10:15 & Rom. 1:24, 26-27). A territorially unclean and God-forsaken City is witnessed against by an action which communicated territorial uncleanness & territorial damnation, like heathen Lands and nations. Christ pointedly confirmed the meaning of this by comparing “that City” to “the Land of Sodom and Gomorrah” – both of them as territories of uncleanness – only in this case, shockingly, the Israelite was more abominable than the Sodomite! This is utterly astonishing! How offensive would this be to the Jews, my reader!
No wonder then, seeing that these Cities and Lands were crawling with unclean men… Christ called them “wolves”. He said, “beware of men”, for they will use their synagogues of worship and councils of righteous judgment as scourging arenas to discipline and murder clean men (Matt. 10:17-22) – so much so that the God-sent and holy apostles were considered as unclean as “Beelzebub” himself (Matt. 10:23-25)! What a staggering thing! The most clean were, by the most unclean, considered the most unclean! Truly, “An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked” (Prov. 29:27)!
10:32-42 à A Family/City/Nation- “Rebel” and a Curse-Burdened “Criminal” Doomed for the Crucifix (a rebel: Micah 7:6 & Matt. 10:35-36, a cursed criminal: Gal. 3:13 & Matt. 10:38): In such a circumstance (formerly detailed) Christ did not come to bring peace. “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” The Lord Jesus sent his disciples to contradict the lies and liars of popular Judaism by unashamedly confessing the true Messiah (Matt. 10:32-33). The Lord Jesus and His followers would not behave in any way which could be considered “peaceful” conduct in a society at war against God; at war by religious creed, mind you! Society-conformity in this 1st century situation would have been truth-apostasy. Though the entire society calls Jesus Christ and His followers, “Beelzebub”, the Lord chooses the hard truth: to be a curse-burdened rebel of their society’s religious code. The truth meant self-sacrifice, in this society. Expressing this the Lord quoted Micah 7:6 as a satirical rebuke to men who suppose they represent true Judaism. Apparently Jesus Christ was accepting and unashamed of the false-identity they tagged him with, boldly stating the hard truth of a ministry of revival in the midst of apostasy: “For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:6, Matt. 10:35-36). Jesus Christ chose obedience, even if He appeared to be a cursed law-breaker or a rebellious up-riser, as the prophet Micah spoke of. I say again, Jesus knew that peace in this Judaistic society meant war against God! With these things in mind and with all boldness, Christ illustrated the pathway of salvation as a curse-burdened and cross-bearing pathway, a road trod by those who lose their temporary livelihood to keep it for eternity (Matt. 10:37-39)! Jesus Christ preached Himself as the cursed man who was doomed to hang on a tree (“for he that is hanged is accursed of God”-Deut.21:23, Josh. 10:26-27), for the redemption of a cursed and unclean society which was otherwise doomed. It was written, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Because Jesus Christ was a Clean Man in an Unclean Land, He became a cursed, rejected, and crucified Man!
11:1-19 à The Inquiry of the Greatest Prophet / John the Baptist Offended at Jesus’ “Unclean Practices” / The Notorious Offenses of Christ Offended John the Baptist: After the Lord Jesus had been slandered and misrepresented all across the Land of Israel, John the Baptist was noticeably affected. Can a Messiah be so hated and slandered? Would the Messiah utterly trespass the framework of 1st century Judaism as Jesus had? Could the Messiah be so misunderstood and infamous? On one occasion, for example, the Lord Jesus was compelled to defend Himself against the accusations of his own family members who supposed Him to be crazy. The justification for Jesus’ actions were easily explained. He said to his family members, “The world cannot hate you: but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7). This was truthful for his carnal family members, this is for sure… but in Matthew 11 John the Baptist is offended – Jesus’ beloved cousin and forerunning prophet who was filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb! Consider it, my reader: what compelling Jewish controversies would have been able to dissolve the confidence of John the Baptist’s faith in Jesus – the same man who testified before the multitudes, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The same man who cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! My reader, the controversies were compelling… to say the least. It was surely purported by many that John the Baptist would not have received Jesus as the Messiah, given Jesus’ outrageous misconduct and seeming disregard for Jewish Law. Jesus was made-out to appear completely insubordinate to Jewish Law by every major authority in the Jewish sphere of religious influence.
With all this in mind, what would the Lord respond to the inquisitive messengers sent by John the Baptist? What answer would settle the heart of the seemingly unshakable prophet, His beloved cousin? The Lord Jesus answered the inquiry of John the Baptist by deeds, not mere words. “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Matt. 11:4-6). Jesus expected John the Baptist to discern if He was the Christ through these mighty acts, for good reason. Such acts speak for themselves because they were a confirmation of the word of God.
The flames of widespread fame did burn up the whole Land (“I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled”-Lk.12:49) because the Lord Jesus was full of healing power which cured sicknesses and diseases in fulfillment of all the promised blessings via Old Testament Covenants (Ex. 15:26, Deut. 7:15, Ps. 103:3, Isa. 53:4), a healing power which was the fulfillment of prophecies foretelling the accomplishments of the Messiah (the sick: Isa. 53:4, the lame: Isa. 35:6, the blind: Isa. 43:8, the deaf: Isa. 35:5, the dumb: Isa. 35:6, the dead: Hos. 6:2, 13:14, Isa. 25:8, 26:19, John 5:28-29), and, furthermore, the Lord Jesus had all authority to cast out and subdue devils of any sort in fulfillment of what was foretold as Christ’s express purpose to overthrow, spoil, and punish the rulers, princes, and spirits which pertain to the invisible and worldwide kingdom of hell (“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” -Gen. 3:5, Rom. 16:20, Heb. 2:14-15, Isa. 24:21, Lk. 10:18, Rev. 12:7-8, 17, 1 Jn. 3:8, Col. 2:15, Rev. 20:10). Note: The Spirit in which Christ came (Lk. 9:55) to Israel was not to kill the demon-possessed or the adulteress, as the letter of the justice did righteously demand (demon-possessed: Ex. 22:18, Lev. 20:6, 27, 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12; adulteress: Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:21-24)… the purpose of Christ’s coming was not to enact the curse/justice of the Law but to bear it - to absorb it and take it upon Himself! His purpose was not to bring a famine upon the Land to punish the wicked doers according to their evil deeds… no, my reader. Rather, it was to bring streams in desert places and spiritual health to a hell-bound people until the dry land becomes a pool of water (Isa. 35:5-8, 41:18). My reader, this is the thesis of Christ’s miracle ministry (see Matt. 8:14-17). Jesus Christ was expecting John to discern the same matter which was appealed to others in clear argumentation: “If I do not the works of the My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38). “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:11). “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (John 15:22-25).
By the statement, “blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me”, it is clear that John the Baptist was temporarily overtaken in offense. But what was so offensive about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, very specifically speaking? After affirming John the Baptist’s superiority over all former prophets in Matthew 11:7-15 (quoting Mal. 3:1 in Matthew 11:10 & Mal. 4:5 in Matthew 11:14), the Lord Jesus addressed the primary matter of offense which was being noised abroad (this underlying issue was hinted at before in Matthew 9:14). Think of it, my reader. John the Baptist’s disciples had more in common with the Pharisees than Jesus’ disciples did, therefore the disciples of John are compelled to ask Jesus, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not” (Matt. 9:14)? More questions could be asked in connection to this distinction of conduct, this is for sure. Jesus Christ goes straight at the matter, and said, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children” (Matt. 11:18-19). With the central issue then brought to the surface of the reader’s attention, Matthew is preparing to make a point of argument thereafter… but, as of now, let the reader understand the foremost issue of notorious offense which pervaded the Land of Israel insomuch that John the Baptist was offended: Jesus’ blatant disregard to the letter of the Law as it pertained to the Clean and the Unclean according to the Old Testament. Howbeit, my reader, what appeared to be law-breaking was actually law-fulfilling! If the Jews only knew…
11:20-30 à The Man & Relationship Upon Which Hinged All Cleanness and Uncleanness / All Who Received Jesus Became Clean & All Who Rejected Jesus Became Unclean: Shockingly, the Clean Man was received by unclean companies of people who were thereby cleansed (“publicans and sinners”-Matt.11:19), but He was expelled from the “clean people’s” Households, Cities, and Lands… so it seemed (Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum-Matt.11:20-24). Note: These are the same people who are offended that Jesus does not keep the Clean and Unclean Laws written in the Old Testament. Those people who by letter appeared to be clean were actually unclean and unconverted in truth, and those who by letter appeared to be and in truth were unclean… they were made clean! Why? Such a question could be answered by correlating arguments uttered by the Lord Jesus on other occasions:
(#1) “Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:39-41).
(#2) “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, Thy that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:11-13).
You see, my reader. These Pharisees were wise in their own conceits and supposed that they could see (discern what is righteousness and who is righteous), therefore their sin remained uncleansed! But, on the contrary, the publicans were those who were humbled/blinded from the damnable conceit of hypocritical Pharisees who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. Because of the shame of what could be easily detected as sin, the publicans and sinners were thus humbled… therefore they, relating to Christ as a blind man in need of sight, were given sight! As much as the Pharisees said in their hearts, “We see”, or in other words, “We are the righteous”, they were blinded and deafened to the identity and call of Jesus Christ which would lead them into saving repentance! According to Luke 18:9-14 the Pharisees “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others”. In denouncement of this hypocrisy (directly following the notorious controversy [Matt. 11:18-19] stirred up by the unconverted Jews), the Lord Jesus declared the truth of the matter!
While the Lord Jesus was notoriously considered to be unclean by the companionship of unclean company (Matt. 11:19) because the unbelieving Jews were blinded to the cleansing-power of faith in Christ (the unsuspected law-fulfillments of the Messiah), Jesus attempted missionary endeavors to convert the public mass which was supposedly, on the contrary, “a clean people”… but He was notoriously rejected by Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Matthew cites the consequence of this to answer the notorious controversy which well-nigh subverted John the Baptist. As a consequence of the supposed “clean people” and “clean places” rejecting Jesus, the Lord denounced them in terms of damnation via territorial uncleanness! As a declaration of what truly happened, the Lord Jesus relayed a message to express that these cities were overtaken in territorial uncleanness and thereby they rejected God’s Clean Man and Cleansing Message, thus they are worse off than Tyre and Sidon (two heathen cities lawfully and territorially unclean), doomed to be subjected to greater torments than the Land of Sodom itself (the most notorious Land of uncleanness of all time)! These are the most staggering and insulting denouncements which could have been declared to the self-righteous and hypocritical Jews of the 1st century (and in the wake of so great a false controversy they have been spreading throughout the Land of Israel!). This rebuke (in Matt. 11:20-24) is much like the rebuke delivered to Jesus’ home town in Nazareth. In Luke 4:23-27 the Lord Jesus justified the absence of the miraculous power which visited Capernaum by citing how Elijah did not visit with, abide among, provide for, or cleanse any Israelite during the years of famine. Instead, Elijah abode with a Gentile woman who was a widow in the city of Sidon, and cleansed the Gentile name Naaman, the Syrian.
Some notable and thematic conclusions which need to be made on behalf of this integral chapter in continuity to the entire argument delivered by Matthew heretofore: This notorious controversy took occasion through the easily discernible difference of conduct exhibited by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, and John was recognized by all as a true prophet before Jesus even began His ministry. These distinctions of conduct and method can be justified through understanding how, firstly, John the Baptist abode in the wilderness before the days of his ministerial appearing to escape the rampant uncleanness and widespread apostasy of 1st century Judaism, and, thus, in confirmation to this, in the hour of John’s appearing he preached a water baptism of repentance for the remission of sins through a ceremonial washing, so to speak (a typological and symbolic experience which represented the lawful and ceremonial washing/cleansing necessary to remove all the uncleanness’ of the people), and, secondarily, this is relevant to Jesus Christ in that, John said, “He that cometh after Me is mightier than I…He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 3:11). This same thing Jesus confirmed, saying, “John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 11:16). This is the radical difference between John and Jesus! Think of it, my reader: both of them were baptizers… but John’s baptism was inferior to Christ’s baptism. The former was of water and the latter of the Spirit. The former was visible but the latter invisible. Needless to say, John’s Divinely-commissioned method of cleansing uncleanness was inferior to Jesus’! John’s baptism drew men into the wilderness so that (like in the days of Moses in Exodus 33:7) everyone who sought the Lord needed to withdraw themselves from the territorial uncleanness’ which pervaded the Land and, thus, be cleansed via water baptism, but Jesus Christ was a Spiritual Fountain whereby men were baptized in the Holy Ghost! This baptism was not with mere water, oh no! This baptism was not of earthly significance in the Ceremonial Law of the Old Testament, no! This baptism originated from Heaven and its essence was GOD. This baptism so far exceeds the cleansing power of John’s water baptism like the chasm between earth and heaven! Seeing this great difference between the two men and their ministries, Jesus Christ was able to behave differently as He traversed the Lands of Uncleanness on foot. Jesus Christ invaded the Lands of uncleanness with cleansing power like floods of waters breaking forth into a desolate wilderness (Isa. 35:6-7)! Everywhere He went, everything He did, and everything He said communicated the cleansing-power of the Kingdom of God (“For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”-1Cor.4:20) so that the otherwise unclean, hopeless, and un-touch-able people were cleansed and redeemed! [Note: The Book of Acts is organized as a careful answer to the notorious controversy raised against Christ by false Judaism (Matt. 9:9-13, 11:19, Acts 10:28-29).] This glorious distinction between John and Jesus and the superior salvation which Jesus Christ performed among Israel was only observable and understandable by the elect individuals whom God gave eyes to see (Matt. 11:25-30).
12:1-8 à A Corn Gathering Sabbath-Breaker: What is so controversial about gathering corn on the Sabbath day? According to the letter of the Law there is great occasion for concern in this. If men were caught gathering anything at all which could appear to be work on the Sabbath day, the consequences were grave. Demonstrating this, a man was once put to death for “gathering sticks” on the Sabbath day (Num. 15:32-36). Seeing that the Lord and His disciples were gathering corn on the Sabbath day, an occasion for accusation was provided and taken by the merciless and blind-eyed Pharisees.
Merciless, I say, because the Lord and His disciples were poor men (“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath no where to lay His head.”-Matt.8:20). The Pharisees should have been merciful to the poor, like the Law demands (Prov. 19:17, 14:21, 28:27). The Pharisees should have been provisional for the poor, like the Law exemplified (Lev. 19:10, Deut. 24:21). If the Pharisees had mercy then they “would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matt. 12:7).
Blind-eyed, I say, because the Pharisees did not understand the potential of lawful exceptions to the letter of the Law as it was exemplified in inferior circumstances to the present situation of the Messiah, a situation that they murmured against and ferociously condemned. The Lord Jesus defended Himself and His disciple’s actions through citing David as an example – a situation where circumstances permitted the otherwise unlawful to happen without blame. In this circumstance David was on the run for his life (and in a masterful and dignified way, so was Jesus), he had no time or ability to provide for himself on the journey he was compelled to suddenly take (and in a masterful and dignified way, so was Jesus), so the High Priest gave him the holy bread to eat which was ordinarily and lawfully “only for priests” (Matt. 12:4). This circumstance for David was not altogether unrelated to the ordinary and repeated event at which “the priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless” (Matt. 12:5). Jesus Christ was making the point very clear: extraordinary circumstances do justify otherwise unlawful behavior on the Sabbath, according to scripture. We can say for sure that if anyone is commissioned and employed in a holy order of New Testament priesthood which is comparable to the Old Testament priesthood, it is Christ and the apostles! Therefore if anyone is privileged in a like-circumstance to, as some might accused according to the letter, “profane the Sabbath”, it was Jesus and His disciples.
Moreover the Lord did, in another Gospel account, clarify the reason the Sabbath existed in the first place (Mk. 2:27). We can be sure that the Sabbath did not exist  to starve mankind when preparations were not possible (Matt. 12:3-4) or  to provide occasions for harm or pain in unpredicted but presently preventable situations involving animals or humans (see Matt. 12:9-14), for God is a merciful God. Furthermore and above all other arguments of potential justification for Jesus’ and His followers’ “Sabbath-Breaking” deeds, if the Jews knew the identity of the One who walked among them they would not have dared to accuse Him (Matt. 12:6)! That which is done on every Sabbath day within the Temple is never contested because of the stature and dignity of the priesthood… the work of holy men continued on holy days even when all others rested! Speaking on this wise, Jesus Christ said, “But I say unto you, That in this place is One greater than the Temple” (Matt. 12:6)!
In each one of the circumstances over which the Pharisees stumbled, arguably in all of them, the Pharisees were misinterpreting the Law because they did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah: in other words they disagreed with the superiority and progress of His mission above the aforementioned examples. Therefore when Jesus and others were found in extraordinary circumstances which “appeared” to be in transgression to the Law, the Pharisees sought to defame and incriminate Jesus based upon appearance even though they would justify a person of inferior holiness doing the same actions in a place of inferior holiness in a time of inferior redemption than when in the 1st century… shockingly, the God-Man walked among them! My reader, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14)! Therefore the subject is settled: “the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Matt. 12:8)!
12:9-14 à A Traditional “Sabbath-Breaker” via Healing (unbiblical traditions defied and refuted): In continuation of purpose to the former verses found in Matthew chapter 12, Matthew narrates a historical event which refutes an unbiblical tradition incorporated in 1st century Jewish Sabbath Rules. Herein it is proven that the Sabbath did not exist to provide occasions for harm or pain in unpredicted but presently preventable situations involving animals or humans. With majestic power and authority Jesus broke-through the iron bars of unbiblical tradition! By way of summary, my reader, let us understand the follow:
Two Distinct Reasons for Blamelessness of Every Accusation Delivered by the Jews
(#1) Blamelessness because of the dignity, holiness, and power of Jesus to be the fulfillment of the Law in every circumstance. Note: this blamelessness exists even though the letter of what was written in the Law is apparently defied, thus Christ fulfills the Law in Kingdom realities which are unpredicted by and superior over the Old Testament Law.
(#2) Blamelessness because the seeming transgression of the Law which Jesus stands accused of is actually a man-made tradition (a misinterpretation of the letter of the Law), thus all of Jesus’ defiance of these things is justifiable!
12:15-21à A KING Who Does Not Fight, A Sword-less King / A King Who Would, by Sacrifice & Surrender to Injustice, Establish Justice & Worldwide Dominion: After Jesus Christ had seemingly and justifiably defied the letter of the Law pertaining to the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-8), and then, afterward, back-to-back (according to the argument written by Matthew), the Lord Jesus defied the unbiblical Sabbath day tradition fabricated by the Pharisees which forbade healing and doing good on the Sabbath day (Matt. 12:9-14)… Matthew emphasizes that, because of this, “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Matt. 12:14). Having defiled the idolatrous shrine created by the Pharisees – the Sabbath Day tradition – and having a seeming disregard to all the tenets of Jewish conduct theretofore (according to the demented mind of an unbelieving and blind Pharisee), the Pharisees were then, at this point, driven into the fury of murderous conspiracy (see Matt. 12:14). Upon this circumstance, ordinarily, the to-be-KING of Israel would not retreat or surrender but take-up-sword and fight! This cannot be understated, my reader! Kings were raised up for the purpose of sword-in-hand battles to overthrow every cause of injustice and establish all necessary righteousness in and among the physical nation of Israel (Ps. 18:32-50, 1 Chron. 20:1, 1 Kings 10:9, Jer. 23:5, Psalm 72). This was the common and consistent behavior of all the Kings of Israel and Judah, generally speaking, noted throughout the pages of biblical history… and yet, Jesus, the greatest KING Israel had ever seen, at the moment he “knew” how the Pharisees sought to “destroy Him” by bloodshed and murder --- He “withdrew Himself” (Matt. 12:14-15). Because this conduct is so contrary to the ordinary, biblical, and historical behavior of every righteous King in Israel or Judah, and because this conduct is contrary to the popular opinion of what the Messiah would do when and if He appeared in Israel, Matthew was compelled to make a defense.
Matthew argued that Jesus acted in fulfillment of a prophecy from Isaiah which foretold that the Messiah would not be a man of physical war or carnal brutality for the establishment of all justice and judgment in the 1st Advent (“He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break, a smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory. And in His Name shall the Gentiles trust.”-Matt.12:19-21). Rather, in the 1st Advent, the Messiah would behave in such a way in the midst of physical conflict (conflict which threatened to overthrow the future hope of the Messiah’s Kingship in Israel, so it seemed) which would lead to a worldwide dominion over the Gentiles via His betrayal and substitutionary death! But how… you wonder? According to prophecy, Christ would be betrayed for blood-money (Zech. 11:12, Matt. 26:14-15), by a “friend” (Ps. 55:12-14, 41:9, Zech. 13:6, Matt. 26:49-50), and the unsuspecting disciples which followed Him would forsake Him (Zech. 13:7, Matt. 26:56, Mk. 14:27), only then to be accused by false witnesses before an assembly of Jews (Ps. 35:11, Matt. 26:59-60), to be interrogated and condemned by the heathen ruler Pontius Pilate (“And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly”-Matt.27:14), and, thus, moreover, He would be smitten, beaten, bruised, and spat upon (Isa. 50:6, 53:5, 7, Matt. 27:12-14, 26, 29-30) --- all the while remaining silent! This is profound behavior for a KING in the thrall of injustice! Yes, and therefore Matthew was compelled to put the Jews in memory of this profound prophecy by Isaiah concerning the Messiah’s unexpected behavior. Do you remember when the Lord Jesus willingly surrendered Himself into the hands of injustice, saying to Peter, “Put again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt. 26:52)? Do you remember how Jesus said to Pilate several hours after His surrender, “My Kingdom is not of this world: if My Kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My Kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36)! This is no ordinary King or Kingdom… this is for sure.
Doubtlessly, if Jesus Christ would have opened His mouth to make a defense before the court of Jews which examined Him on that predestined night of Christ’s substitutionary condemnation, all men would have been unraveled from their mischievous cause insomuch that Jesus would have been freed and His accusers punished! Yea, but instead… “Jesus held His peace”. The High Priest could hardly believe Jesus’ behavior, and said, “Answerest thou nothing” (Matt. 26:62-63)!? If Jesus Christ would have made a defense of Himself at any time in word only, without any physical force, the multitudes of both the Jews and the Gentiles would have been undone from the spell of Satan and, finding the Man innocent, would have ushered Him away from the scourging court, out from the interrogation shackles, far yonder from the road to Calvary’s hill! We can be sure that if, at any time, Jesus would have given a verbal defense of His Person and Work… the events which would have transpired would have been just as it always was in every previous instance when He opened His mouth to speak! – the multitudes would have stood in silent admiration and astonishment (Matt. 7:28-29, 9:8, 26, 31, 33), the common people would have believed on Him (Mk. 12:37, Matt. 12:23), the Pharisees, Lawyers, and Scribes would have been unable to answer Him (Matt. 22:46, Mk. 12:34, Lk. 20:40), and the soldiers who had been sent to seize Him would have been utterly disarmed (“Never a man spake like this man”, the soldiers confessed!-John7:46) or fallen backward upon the ground (“As soon then as He had said unto them, I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground”-John18:6)! But, alas, and glory to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isa. 53:7)! Contrary to the popular opinion of 1st century Judaism, when the promised Messiah did appear it was for this a carefully detailed and foretold cause – Self-sacrifice, Self-surrender, and Silent-Endurance! Therefore in the hour of Jesus’ betrayal and in times of distress, times where Kings were expected to fight and overcome their adversaries to begin their Kingdom from thenceforth, Jesus Christ surrendered. He was not an ordinary King of Israel whose reign is temporary, whose Kingdom is of this world, whose swords were swung by arms of flesh and blood… Christ said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36)! The common Jew (the disciples included) was so estranged from the aforementioned characteristics of the Messiah’s conduct during the 1st Advent that Peter, of all people, took Jesus aside and “began to rebuke Him” when the Lord began to confide the secrets of His coming death and resurrection to His closest disciples (Matt. 16:16-28). It seemed so contrary to every former King of Israel, and it was! The Lord Jesus was about to surrender Himself to a conspiracy of injustice that former Kings would have fought against and subdued by brute force! This conduct was supported by the letter of the Law in every other circumstance except that of the coming Messiah, according to prophecy. Jesus Christ had power to reign as King in worldwide dominion over the Jews and Gentiles by the most unexpected means --- by Self-Sacrifice and Self-Surrender to the cause of criminal injustice! Unlike every other King of the Jews which went before Him, Jesus Christ could not die! If the Jews only knew this it would have given them some pause. They had a greater problem on their hands than what death could silence into forgetfulness! Glory to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, He is alive!
Before moving forward in the Book of Matthew, one further note needs to be made concerning Matthew 12:15-21. This one attribute of the Man, Jesus Christ – The touch-able-ness of Human Redemption – was so notoriously spread abroad that when the multitudes gathered around Him (accounted in Matt. 12:15-21 & Mk. 3:6-12) He asked that he might find refuge in a boat to preach to the people from a removed location. He did this, “lest they should throng Him. For He healed many insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as may as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known” (Mk. 3:9-12). Amazing! This is truly amazing. This was no ordinary Man. This was no ordinary King! “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:25-28).
12:22-45 à The Manner of the Messiah’s Coming (signified by the statement, “The Kingdom of God is come”): The Lord Jesus, having defied the Jewish expectancy of the Messiah’s conduct in full volume, theretofore becoming a spectacle of misconduct and a reproach to 1st century Judaism, and then, as a consequence, the stage was set for His murder insomuch that He was compelled to “withdraw Himself” (Matt. 12:14-15), Matthew pointed out the end-all interaction which severed Christ from Pharisaical Judaism once and for all! This end-all point of no return for the Jews was attested to by Matthew here, at this point (in Matt. 12:22-37), signifying the manifestation of utter reprobation to be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matt. 12:31-32).
Upon the event wherein the Pharisees did utterly condemn themselves, the Lord saw fit to declare the root issue which led to their demise – their lack of inward religion. The Lord Jesus conveyed the spiritual anatomy of inward religion in Matthew 12:33-37. The Pharisaical Jews were, therefore, “A generation of vipers”, and how can such men “speak good things” (Matt. 12:34)? Because they lacked inward conversion toward God, and because they were utterly bankrupt from all the necessary influences of the Spirit of God (Matt. 13:9-16, John 6:44, 63, 7:16-17, Rom. 11:7-10), the coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom was utterly indiscernible to the once-born Jews. Jesus Christ did declare the manner of His Kingdom and His Kingship, how he opposed the Kingdom of Satan, bound strong men, spoiled their possessions, and liberated their captives! By these deeds the point was proven, “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt. 12:28). The Lord Jesus was declaring the discernible fruits of the Messiah and His Kingdom which, evidently, was not of this world! This is a spectacle to be wondered at by the Jews!
If the Messiah came to defend a Kingdom which was of this world, like all the biblical and God-sent Kings of Israelite history did exemplify, the King of the Jews would have taken out his sword and fought for a physical Kingdom, and, furthermore, anytime he would have encountered a demon-possessed person he would have taken a sword in his hand and slain the cursed person, according to the letter of the Law (Ex. 22:18, Lev. 20:6, 27, 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12). The fact that the Lord Jesus battled the Kingdom of Satan from an unprecedented dimension proves the point that He is an unprecedented King of Israel! According to prophecy, the Lord Jesus had all authority to cast out and subdue devils of any sort in fulfillment of what was foretold as Christ’s express purpose to overthrow, spoil, and punish the rulers, princes, and spirits which pertain to the invisible and worldwide kingdom of hell (“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” -Gen. 3:5, Rom. 16:20, Heb. 2:14-15, Isa. 24:21, Lk. 10:18, Rev. 12:7-8, 17, 1 Jn. 3:8, Col. 2:15, Rev. 20:10). And having this authority, the Lord Jesus did not slay the demon-possessed (which was just, according to the Law) --- He forgave and liberated them! What a wonder! This is the Kingdom of the Messiah at hand, truly! The Spirit in which Christ came (Lk. 9:55) to Israel was not to kill the demon-possessed or the adulteress, as the letter of the justice did righteously demand (demon-possessed: Ex. 22:18, Lev. 20:6, 27, 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12; adulteress: Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:21-24)… the purpose of Christ’s coming was not to enact the curse/justice of the Law but to bear it - to absorb it and take it upon Himself (“the chastisement of our peace was upon Him”-Isaiah53:5)! Or, in other words, His purpose was not to bring a famine upon the Land to punish the wicked doers according to their evil deeds (Deut. 11:17, 28:23-24)… no, my reader. Rather, it was to bring streams in desert places and spiritual health to a hell-bound people until the dry land becomes a pool of water (Isa. 35:5-8, 41:18).
Jesus came down,
from Heaven up high, having been sent to every earthly kingdom to proclaim the reason
Because God looked down, hearing the sinners cry, in Satan’s misery held fast and justly doomed to die.
Jesus came forth, walking to and fro, to taste of humanities misery and all their sufferings know!
To drink of the cup of wrath, to let the sinners go, to go back to the Father and make all the world know.
God became a Man, it was a predestinated plan, to punish Satan’s pride and let the oppressed go free!
Where death abounded, and misery remained, the blind were astounded and the dumb did proclaim!
Christ The Life, did all people astound, as mercy like rivers did circle the starving people all around!
The people came and drank, the Life-giving power, every man finding relief from their sin-sick hour!
Because as sin did abound, much more grace was found, till every devil in proximity around cried out,
“MERCY!” …but none was found.
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death:
O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall
be hid from Mine eyes.” – Hosea 13:14
The Punisher came from heaven, to send forth the eleven,
to plague the grave and undo death, persecuting the devil!
Christ’s plagues blew in, they brought LIFE to everything,
till sinners round about them were compelled to SHOUT and SING!
A world-wide proclamation, heralded by healing-miracles and bread from Heaven,
the preachers of Christ’s Kingdom announced Jesus Christ’s resurrection!
So that those bound in sin, in death’s misery detained,
were all welcomed in to feast on Christ’s liberty displayed!
The fruits of Christ’s Kingdom were all in hand,
they bore them up for show before every fallen man,
gazing upon them – promises indeed – they were eaten by all who were in need,
because all who drew near to this Incarnate Man, He FREED!
a foretaste Divine, of what shall be wrought by the resurrection in time!
Because it was for us He died, He wants us to know the reason why,
to taste of the Fountain of Life and feel, we need not ever die!
Because, Jesus said, “Whosoever believeth in Me shall never die.”
12:38-42 à A Turning to the Gentiles / The Gentiles Justified & the Jews Condemned at the Balance of Divine Judgment: The Pharisees had become human-beasts of the most contemptible sort, like vipers are the abhorrence of all men, thus they saw fit to kill and remove from among all mankind the Prince of Life Himself, Jesus Christ! Their conspiring was already underway (and already introduced in the context since Matt. 12:14) and thus the Lord Jesus gave His infallible opinion on the matter that He knew was secretly in-the-making. All people who would truly believe by seeing signs and wonders (see Matt. 11:3-6), to them Christ was exceeding abundant in goodness and mercy! Yes, He shewed them many signs over and over again (“Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”-John 4:48)! But to those who would not believe even after they had personally seen and heard of many signs and wonders (Lk. 4:23), and, furthermore, after all of mankind was stirred into a frenzy over the impact of the many signs and wonders being performed in every place (John 11:48), yes, I say, after the matter was an undeniable fact which could be reasonably denied by no one (John 11:47-48, Acts 10:37-38, 26:26), then did the Pharisees make their feigned request: “Master, we would see a sign from Thee” (Matt. 12:38). To them, Christ said, “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”.
Masterfully, the Lord Jesus was alluding to His own death (the success of their secret conspiracy begun in Matthew 12:14). The Lord was not deceived by their feigned request. Instead, He relayed to them the sign which they shall soon see and know, His death, burial, and resurrection! Christ identified His own ministry to be that of contempt to Jewish pride, like the prophet Jonah’s ministry was a sacrilege to the merciless and insidious self-righteousness of the Jews in Jonah’s day - namely because Jonah was the only prophet in biblical history who was personally sent to the Gentiles to prophesy in the polluted land of the heathen, and that, with success! Consequentially Jonah was a man who was rejected by the Jews for this unprecedented deed, but, I say again --- the man was received by the Gentiles of Nineveh! The Lord was hereby conveying to the Pharisees that they are worse off and more vile than the heathen nation of Nineveh, and that Pharisees, who supposed they are superior in holiness and goodness above any Gentile Nation, would be condemned by a Gentile woman from the south in the day of Judgment (Matt. 12:41-42). Superior greatness belonged to Christ, above Jonah and Solomon, thus superior wretchedness belonged to the Jews and the Pharisees!
Though the Pharisees would succeed in their evil cause to murder the Lord Jesus, He would rise again… an event which would be heard of around the world! From thenceforth will the Pharisees know the sign of Jonah because, yet again, like in Jonah’s day, the world of Gentiles will hear from the Man who came back from the heart of the earth like Jonah came back from the great deep! Think of it, my reader! The sign of Jonah’s resurrection from his watery grave was spread throughout the heathen world by the time Jonah stepped foot in the Land of Nineveh. The ship-mates at sea with Jonah filled the countryside with their staggering report! Thus, Nineveh had heard all about the man who was cast off the ship while at sea, only to be swallowed up by a whale. They heard all about how, before this, the heathen men appealed each one to his own gods to no avail. They heard how the ship-mates discovered the man Jonah was asleep in the boat for sorrow. They heard how, at last, Jonah took the blame upon himself and gave the ship-mates instructions whereby they would save their own lives because the storm was for his sake. They heard how, at last, when all hope was lost and every other plan failed, the ship-mates casted Jonah into the sea only to find his words proven true! With the angry Deity immediately assuaged, the unrelenting storm which endangered all of their lives came to a startling halt! Therefore, at last, when the man, Jonah, was alive from the great deep (and he, having told the ship-mates about his unwillingness to obey the voice of the Lord), Nineveh heard the message from a resurrected man! Even so, at last, the world of Gentiles will hear Jesus – they will repent, believe, and be converted, to the bitter and angry jealousy of the once-born Jews! Shockingly, and seemingly contrary to the letter of the Law (Gen. 26:4, Jer. 33:19-26), the redeemed multitude of the Gentiles have become “Abraham’s seed” (Gal. 3:29) through Christ! To the Gentiles, it was spoken, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).
12:43-45 à An Unclean Nation Possessed by Unclean Spirits: Though the King and Kingdom of the Messiah was altogether indiscernible to apostate Judaism, the Lord Jesus made His presence known among them by the accompanying signs which dignified Him as King (i.e. power to overthrow and pillage the captives and possessions of the Satan’ Kingdom; Matt. 12:28). Albeit, when Jesus’ tour among them does cease and the witnesses of His resurrection, the apostles, go into all the world in Gentile-saving-power as a testimony to the God-forsaken Jews, the latter end of the Jews will be worse for them than in the beginning. Though the physical nation of Israel and the infrastructure of the Kingdom of God existing in the fleshly lineage of Abraham was so exceedingly blessed by the incarnation and touring of their long-looked-for Messiah – and though the Lord Jesus did cast out devils, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and go about Israel doing good to all men who were oppressed by the Satan (Acts 10:38)! – the latter end of national Israel (Abraham’s literal seed) will be worse for them than at the beginning! At the beginning, before the Lord did ever come and bind the strong man’s grip over their lives and people for a space of time… this was a better estate than how they shall be! Alas, this evil end! The Lord said, “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation” (Matt. 12:45)! Israel was an unclean and polluted nation which was temporarily relieved by a Fountain for Cleansing sprung up in their midst! But then, at last, after they can no longer endure the rivers of cleanliness which did meander abroad throughout the Land, they will kill the Prince of Life by hanging Him on a Cross! They will thus curse the man who came to bless! And in national Israel’s latter end Satan’s Tyranny will resume its former regiment in 7-fold greater power and wickedness than before, ending in the 70 AD annihilation of all they called life! Foretelling this event, as Jesus journeyed down the final boulevard of the murderous conspiracy preplanned by the Jews and predestinated by God, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children” (Lk. 23:28).
12:46-50 à Nationalistic & Familial Alliances Announced as Irrelevant: Now, at last, with the doom of Abraham’s literal seed prophetically declared by Jesus Christ, their soon-to-be crucified King, Matthew points the attention of all men to understand the anatomy of the Kingdom of God which shall exist thenceforth. The Kingdom of God will exist, irrespective of flesh and blood and impartial toward literal Israel, so much so that Jesus’ literal and physical Mother, brothers, and sisters, will be left outside of “The Family”, so to speak. The Family and Lineage of this Kingdom will exist otherwise, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt. 12:50), Jesus said. Upon this final answer Jesus left His mother, brothers, and sisters disrespected (in a carnal sense) and outside of the Family, so to speak, when they “stood without” desiring to speak with Him (probably thinking Jesus had gone mad; see Mk. 3:21, John 7:1-5). Jesus unashamedly gestured toward those who stood around Him to hear the word of God by faith (contrary to His carnal family), saying of them, “Behold My mother and My brethren” (Matt. 12:49)! With godly impartiality and sincerity the Lord Jesus delivered the faithful judgments of the Kingdom of God just as He had received them from God: to His greatest enemies and His closest friends, carnally speaking. Because Jesus showed no partiality toward his Mother, brothers, and sisters, neither should His followers. Today, in this generation, for the cause of Christ’s Kingdom and for the good of every Christian’s carnal family and friends, a parallel witness should be upheld! One day, my reader, not too far yonder: the entire number of individuals from every generation who became the Family of God in truth will dine together in a heavenly fellowship God’s Family Reunion, just as Christ foretold in Matthew 8:11-12, saying, “many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:11-12). Hallelujah!
13:1-52 à The Messiah’s Kingdom in its Beginning, Continual Rise, & Consummation (via seven parables which express unutterable mysteries): The Messiah’s enthronement is an unexpected and mysterious Kingdom in its beginning and how it would progress, a mystery “which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8). It was, alas, “hid” from their eyes (Lk. 19:42)! And the Gentiles shout – “Alas, and did my Savior bleed, and did the Sovereign die?!” Christ lamented at their blindness to God’s mystery, and that for this – their blindness – He said to Israel: “thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Lk. 19:44). The mystery of the Messiah and His Kingdom was revealed to a chosen remnant who were elected to believe. Christ said to them, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (Matt. 13:16-17, see also Romans 11:5-7). Beloved readers, Christ revealed these things to His disciples, a “little flock” (Lk. 12:32), while the vast and numerous Israelite nation groped in spiritual blindness, deafness, and confusion of face. Christ preached IN THEIR HEARING, the mysterious beginning and continual rise of His Kingdom, how He would be the rejected by the Jews, how this would turn and allow the engraftment of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:7-25), and how that finally, through the Gentiles, a final salvation of physical Israel would consummate the ages – a consummation which, shockingly, would usher the whole world into a regeneration of sinless bliss and paradise – somehow, a worldwide experience described as “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:12, 15), where the creation itself will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21)! Hallelujah!
Who can expound such mysteries? To so unlearned a people? In so few sentences? By open air sermons? To an impatient, unbelieving, proud, and self-confident Israel? Through parables, my reader, Christ did. Why parables, you ask? For good reason. Christ used parables to explain the untold “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 13:11) because, by using parables, He hid the meaning of the parables from the damned and revealed it to the elect. These parables would metaphorically and pictorially reveal: (Firstly) how the Kingdom would suddenly begin and rise in power – through the death of One Man, as a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32), falling into the ground and dying (John 12:23-24). This marks the beginning of the Messiah’s everlasting, unconquerable Kingdom and Throne (Dan. 2:44-45), the throne of David (Isa. 9:6-7, Zech. 14:9, Ps. 72:8-11, 110:1-7, Acts 2:22-36), and this Kingdom, (Secondarily) though it be by the smallest of beginnings, like as a pitiful mustard seed is the smallest of seeds (Matt. 13:31-32), it will one day rise from the earth in which it was buried, and it, surpassing all other trees, will extend its branches into the very heavens above. By interpretation, the Messianic Kingdom will consummate in worldwide sovereignty, thrusting earthly humans upward into heavenly citizenship, calling heaven’s otherworldly powers to come down for earthly regenerations. Its roots extending down into the earth, its branches high into the heavens, it will come to be that, in Christ, heaven is the home of clay-made humanity while they abide on earth, whereabout staggeringly, heaven cometh down to earth and earth up to heaven (Col. 2:20, 3:1-4, Matt. 6:9-10, Heb. 3:1, Rev. 21:2, 22:16-17)! Alas, and did my Savior bleed, and did the Sovereign die?! So that, for me, even for me…I see “a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” (Gen. 28:11-12)! Do you understand? Do you have ears to hear? My reader, the parables of Christ explain the mysterious beginning of Christ’s Kingdom, how that, in its continual rising, it is undetected and unconquerable in progress, to the end that an eventual and unthinkable consummation would fulfill all things. [For a comprehensive and detailed overview of Matthew Chapter 13 see Chapter 14.]
13:53-38 à From Whence Cometh This Man: The question is not, “Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?” The real question is, From whence cometh this Man? If only they knew and believed the scripture which they have grown up hearing! Even as Isaiah prophesied, saying, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall all His Name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14)! “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7). Aye, Jesus’ home town! They who could have been the most blessed became the most cursed! What a tragedy! What an ungodly familiarity they had with the God-Man! Oh, let it not be so in our day, dear Lord! This was not Joseph’s son but God’s Son! – And we His brethren… (Heb. 2:11-12). This is a mysterious Kingdom indeed! All of Israel was happy to hear that Saul was King (for, “he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward”-1 Sam.10:23). Samuel said, “See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the King” (1 Sam. 10:24). But of this Jesus, it was written, “there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Would to God that all men would desire Him! But, shockingly, He is sprung up from the most unexpected of places, to begin a Kingdom of unexpected infrastructure, to surmount all Kingdoms with unprecedented power! “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isa. 53:2-3). The devils “knew” Jesus but His hometown didn’t…