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Chuck Smith :: C2000 Series on Matthew 12

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Shall we turn to the twelfth chapter of the gospel of Matthew?

Jesus was not one to follow traditions. He's already pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount, that through their interpretation of the law, they have thoroughly disallowed the law, for the purposes that God intended it. For they were interpreting the law after a physical sense. "Thou shalt not kill," interpreting that as clubbing your enemy to death. But Jesus said, no, really if you have hatred in your heart for your brother, you're guilty. It isn't just the outward action that the law was intended to speak to, but the inner emotions that so often provoked the outward action. Sin begins in the mind, the attitudes and from the attitudes come the actions. God is not interested in our just curbing the wrong actions, God is interested in our heart, and the inner attitudes from which actions spring.

Now the result of their misinterpreting of the law was that they had developed a very great sense of self righteousness, and with it a spiritual pride, where they set themselves in sort of a spiritual élites little category. And everybody else is on common sinner level, and they look down from their perches at the common sinners with this stain. When they walked down the streets they held their robes tightly against them, because they didn't want their robe accidentally to swish out and brush against you, lest they be defiled with your filth. Very self-righteous, the attitude itself was detained by Jesus. And when we move along in Matthew, some of the heaviest words of condemnation and all I have ever heard.

You ask my little granddaughter what does grandpa do and she'll go... And now I am very self-conscious of it.

So they had sought to interpret the law. And in their endeavor to interpret the law, they had a field day with the Sabbath law, because the Sabbath law declared that they were not to bear any burdens on the Sabbath day. And so it was necessary for them to constitute what was bearing a burden. And it was decided that if you had lost your leg and had a wooden leg, that you could not use that on the Sabbath day, because that would indeed be bearing a burden. Well they went further then that. If you had false teeth, you could not wear them on the Sabbath day, because that also would be bearing a burden. As far as I know, false eyelashes weren't in at those times, but I would imagine they would have had to have ruled on that too.

Now in trying to fine-tune this law down, they lost the meaning of it entirely and Jesus cared not for their fanciful interpretations. He did not follow their traditions. In fact, He opposed their traditional interpretations, and thus He created a lot of ranker. And they were constantly getting after Jesus, because of His violation of the Sabbath law.

Now Christ is the fulfillment of the law, we are told. And one of the problems, one of the first problems that arose in the early church when there were many Gentiles who began to be converted and to become a part of the early church, the question arose, does a gentile have to become a Jew in order to be saved? In other words, if you are to be saved as a Gentile, must you be circumcised and keep the law of Moses? And there were many of the Jews in the church that took that position and some of them came down to the Gentile church in Antioch that had been established by Paul the apostle. And they began to create a division in the church in Antioch, saying that unless you are circumcised and keep the law of Moses, you can't be saved. And this was one of the first problems that arose in the church.

Paul and Barnabas came back with certain brethren to Jerusalem with these agitators in order that the church might make a ruling on this issue. And in the Acts of the apostles we read, how that it became the conclusion of the ruling body of the early church, that the law was not really intended for the Gentile believers nor was it essential to their salvation, that it was possible for God's Spirit to work in the heart of a man apart from the law. And so they were told to just keep themselves from idols and things strange, and if you do this you do well. God bless you.

In determining what relationship the Gentile church should have to the law, there was no declaration were you've got to keep the Sabbath, and no laying on then all of the aspects of the Sabbath law. But we are told rather in Hebrews that Christ is our rest. The Sabbath was for rest. Now really God intended you to stay in bed all day, that you just flake out for one day a week. Don't do anything just kick back and rest. And surely our body needs a day of complete rest. But it was made for man, because man needs rest.

So here in chapter twelve, the beginning, we find Jesus in one of His controversies with the religious rulers, once again the issues over the Sabbath day.

And at that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn, [that is the corn of wheat, they called the little ripened wheat, the corn], and the disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat them. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day. And he said unto them, Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priest (Mat 12:1-4)?

Now when David was fleeing from Saul he came to the Tabernacle of God. He went in to the priest, and he took the showbread, which only the priest were to eat, but David and his men were hungry. And so David took it, and he fed his men. Now that was not lawful for David to do; however, God has established the law, true, that only the priests were to eat the showbread, but here is a man who is in physical need, and there is a higher law of God that ministers to men's physical needs. If a man is starving, if a man is hungry, then there are those higher laws that deal with the preservation of life.

Have you not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profaned the Sabbath and are blameless? (Mat 12:5)

I probably work harder on Sunday then any other day of the week, yet blameless. In other words, if a person wants to be technical on those things, the priests worked on the Sabbath days, but yet they were blameless. So they bore burdens, they bore the sacrifices and all.

But I say unto you, That in this place there is one who is greater than the temple [referring to Himself] (Mat 12:6).

And if the priest could labor in the temple and not be guilty of violating the Sabbath, surely His disciples could labor with Him on the Sabbath day.

But if you had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless (Mat 12:7).

Now this is the second time Jesus has quoted this scripture. "I will have mercy and not sacrifice." God would much rather be, show mercy, and be merciful, then to offer sacrifices to Him.

You remember when Saul came back, having disobeyed the commandment of God to utterly wipe out the Amalekites, and he greeted Samuel and said," I've done all that the Lord has commanded." Samuel said," if you've done all the Lord has commanded, how come I hear the cattle and the sheep?" And he said," Oh well, they were so nice I decided to bring them back to sacrifice to the Lord." And he said," to obey is better then to sacrifice, and to harken then the fat of lambs" (1 Samuel 15:22).

God came to the place were He was sick of their sacrifices, because they had began to really do their evil with sort of the concept, well, we can always go offer a sacrifice and be forgiven. And God says, "to obey is better then to sacrifice". God said, "I would rather that you would have mercy then offer sacrifices." God finally said, look I am sick of your sacrifices; I don't want to smell them anymore. I am tired of them. You don't show mercy. You don't show the traits.

I would have you to show, and yet, you're coming and sacrificing. I care not for your sacrifices. God says, "they are an abomination on to me. So I will have mercy and not sacrifice." God would rather your heart be right before Him, than you be constantly be making sacrifices. "And if you'd understood this," Jesus said, "then you wouldn't be here condemning the guiltless." He doesn't say they are guilty at all of violating the law of God.

For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day (Mat 12:8).

So He puts Himself above the Sabbath, but He is indeed the rest for us. He is our Sabbath. We've entered into Christ. We've entered into our rest. For He is the Sabbath, really to the believer.

Now he left the fields and they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day: And there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? In order that they might accuse him (Mat 12:9-10),

Because according to their law, you could not, and their interpreting of the law, you could not heal on the Sabbath day.

Now if a person had been injured and was bleeding to death, you could apply a tourniquet, and you could take what measures were necessary to save his life, but you could take no measures at all towards the healing of the injuries. You had to wait till the Sabbath day was over, until you applied the gauze and the bandages and so forth, for the healing aspects. But you could take preventive measures to keep him from dying, but that's all, nothing towards healing. And that was specified in their laws.

So here it was the Sabbath day, and here is a man in need. And isn't it interesting how that they instinctively seem to know that Jesus would want to help this man, even though it was the Sabbath day. That Jesus could never face human plight without wanting to do something about it. Jesus couldn't be satisfied, just observing human plight, but He would have, and they knew, that He would have this desire to help this man. So they beat Him to the trigger. Using their interpretation of the law they said, "is it lawful to heal of the Sabbath day?" and they were hoping to trap Him. Yes, it's lawful, ho ho, that's not what Rabbi Gamaliel says, and so they were planning to trap Him on this one.

And he said unto them, [rather then answering directly] if one of you have, one of your sheep, and if it would fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, wouldn't you lift it out? (Mat 12:11)

Well, of course. Well in reality if you would lift your sheep out of the pit on the Sabbath day, you are violating the Sabbath; you are bearing a burden. But yet they made those kinds of allowances.

And Jesus said,

Isn't a man better then a sheep? (Mat 12:12)

To help someone in need is more important then helping an animal in need.

Wherefore [He said] is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days (Mat 12:12).

Well, of course it would be. You couldn't say that it was not lawful to do good on the Sabbath days.

So He said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, just like the other. And the Pharisees went out, and they held council against him, how they might destroy him (Mat 12:13-14).

This is too much. He is violating our traditions. He is putting us down. At this rate all of our righteous acts are gonna be wiped out; and so, their council is to destroy Him.

But when Jesus knew it, [rather than a confrontation at this time] he withdrew himself (Mat 12:15)

Jesus deliberately avoided confrontation until the time came, when He was to be crucified and so He withdrew.

and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all. And he commanded that they should not make Him known. In order that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, who said, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he will show judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear is voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he sends forth judgement unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust (Mat 12:15-21).

So here was the prophesy of Isaiah who was proclaiming, actually that the Gospel is gonna be declared ultimately to the Gentiles, and Israel, the bruised reed, the smoking flax. The Lord is not going to face them with a direct confrontation, just to withdraw Himself. He is not there to destroy the bruised reed, but He is there to minister to those who will harken.

Then there was brought unto him one who was possessed with the devil, he was blind, he was dumb: and Jesus healed him, insomuch that the blind and the dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and they said, Is not this the son of David? (Mat 12:22-23)

That is prophetically, where God promised unto David that of his seed should the Messiah come. "Is not this the Messiah, the son of David?" The title used for the Messiah.

But when the Pharisees heard, they said, This fellow doeth not cast out devils, but by [the lord of the flies] Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and he said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house that is divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided against himself; and how then shall his kingdom stand? (Mat 12:24-26)

So their whole philosophy was shut down by just a few words of logic. Satan couldn't be casting out Satan, otherwise he's divided his kingdom and he's gonna fall.

And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else who can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me is scattering abroad (Mat 12:27-30).

So Jesus in the answer in response to the accusation of the Pharisees, that He by the power of Satan is casting out Satan, declares to them, that this is inconsistent, that he is binding the strong man of the house, in order that He might spoil it. But then He declares, look, there is no neutral ground. And I think this is important that we note. "He that is not with me is against me." You see He doesn't leave any neutral ground for you to stand on.

What think ye of Christ, whose Son is He? That's basically the question. He doesn't leave you some little neutral corner here in which to stand, well, I really don't know that I have made a firm decision. Well, no decision is a decision. No decision is a "no" decision. "He that is not for me," He said, "is against me." You can't be neutral concerning Christ. He is too radical. He doesn't allow you any neutrality. You are for Him, or you are against Him. If you are not for Him, you are against Him. You cannot take a place of neutrality in regards to Jesus Christ; if you're not gathering, than your scattering.

Now because they had accused Him of doing His works by the power of Satan, He warns them against the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Because by this accusation they are showing evidences that they are approaching that horrible sin for which there is no forgiveness.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven men. If you speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come (Mat 12:31-32).

Two weeks ago on Sunday morning we took the Sunday morning with this lesson on the sin against the Holy Spirit and what it is. And if you weren't here, I would recommend that you get that tape, because we went into a full exposition of what constitutes the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Basically, it is the refusal to harken to the work of the Spirit within your life. For Jesus said, "when the Spirit comes He is not going to testify of Himself, He is gonna testify of me" (John 15:26). "And He is going to reproof the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement." And then He said, "of sin, because they do not believe on me" (John 16:8-9).

The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict men of sin, by revealing to man the answer for his sin, even Jesus Christ. God has made only one provision for your forgiveness. Only one provision for the putting away of your sin and your guilt, and that provision is in and through His only begotten Son. And the Spirit of God comes to bear witness to us of this fact. That there is only one way you can have forgiveness of your sin, and that is by the receiving of the Son of God, Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

Now if you continually refuse that work of the Holy Spirit in your heart revealing Jesus Christ to you, reproving you of your sin, because you do not believe in Him; if you continue in that mode, there is no forgiveness, because God has provided no other way for men to be saved.

As Peter said, "neither is there Salvation in any other, for there is no other name given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

So for you to reject God's provision for your sins through the death of His Son, leaves God no alternative. There is no forgiveness for you, not in this world or in the world to come. Because God has made only one provision for men's sin; the Holy Spirit bears witness to your heart of that truth. To refuse to believe, to refuse to accept the witness of the Spirit, is ultimately to blaspheme against the Spirit.

Now as you are progressing in this position against Jesus Christ, ultimately as you are faced with indisputable evidence that Jesus is indeed all that He said He is, by the power of His name, and of His life and you're faced with evidence that you can not deny, because you have continued this rejection mode so long; you've got to somehow now rationalize or explain this obvious evidence for the fact that He is indeed the Son of David, the Messiah.

And the Pharisees having adopted this mode of rejection of Jesus, were coming close to the place of no return. When they said, "He is doing those works by the power of the devil", now they're beginning to deny obvious evidence. And when a person comes to that place in his rejection of Jesus Christ, where he begins to deny this obvious evidence that God puts in his path, and begins to try to explain away the evidence that God is placing before him, that person is coming close to that place testified in John 12:38, where the Pharisees finally came; therefore, they could not believe.

He comes to that place where it's impossible for him to change, to believe, to turn around the mode he has established, and he's gone to far down the road, and there is no turning back and the denial of obvious evidence, which was when they began to attribute the works of Jesus Christ to Satan. Because how are you gonna explain the fact that this demon-possessed man is now talking, he is now seeing; whereas before he was dumb and he was blind? Evidence that they cannot deny. He is standing there before them talking. And so they have to give some explanation. Denying the evidence before them, you're getting close.

Now Jesus said,

Either make the tree good, or his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that man shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgement. So by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, and they said, Master, we would like you to show us a sign (Mat 12:33-38).

Now here they had just denied the sign that they had just seen. When the man was brought to Jesus possessed with the devil, blind and dumb, they had seen that. They had seen the man with the withered hand; they'd watched him stretch it forth. And now they have the audacity to say to Jesus, "why don't you show us a sign, proof that you're the Messiah."

And he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; but there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah 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. And the men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation, and will condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater then Jonah is here (Mat 12:39-41).

Now in this short little answer of Jesus to the Pharisees, He affirms three biblical facts that are often denied by those who refer to themselves as higher critics. Those who have presumed to have the authority to tell you what parts of the Bible you can believe, and what parts you cannot believe. Which parts are genuine, which parts are spurious. Which parts are inspired, which parts are uninspired, which is truth, and which is myth.

And one of the stories in the Bible that has received some of the greatest criticism by these higher critics, is the story of Jonah. But as I've said the only problem that a person has with Jonah is not the fact that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, but their problem is deeper than that, their problem is their concept of God. If you have a right concept of God, you have no problem with the story of Jonah. Even if it said, God prepared a minnow to swallow it, rather than a great fish, for God can do anything. And so it is your concept of God that is your problem, not the story of Jonah.

And one of the basic problems of man is his concept of God. And that problem exists because man has a tendency of creating his own god. And when a man creates his own god, he creates his god as a projection of himself to immensity. And there is always that, if I were God, this is how I would have done it, this is how I would have managed it. This is how I would have worked it out, if I were God. And there are many people who have difficulty with the revelation that God has given of Himself. Because there are aspects of that revelation that differ with their own ideas and concepts of how they would judge, or how they would govern the universe. Or how they would create men, how they would deal with free moral agency, how they would deal with choice. How they would deal with all of these aspects that God is--had to deal with when He created us.

And so there are many who reject God's revelation of Himself, preferring their own concepts, preferring really to worship themselves. As we told you a couple of weeks ago, there are only two burdens that men have, and one is to do the will of God, and the other is to do the will of himself.

Jesus said, "my yoke is easy, my burden is light" (Mat 11:30). What was His burden? To do the will of the Father. What's your burden? To do your own will. Heavy, isn't it? He said," come onto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I'll give you rest" (Mat 11:28).

Now David observed how that the men had made their own gods. He said, "they've taken the little pieces of wood, and they've carved them out." And of course you've all seen pictures of the gods that have been created by the pagans, grotesque little creatures that they carve out of wood. Or they sometimes will mold, using gold or other metals, and they make their little god. And they set it up, and they put the candles around it, and they burn their incense to it, and they bow before it, and often their prayers and so forth, and that's their god. But as David observed the gods that they made, and he said, "eyes they have, but they cannot see. Ears they have, but they cannot hear. Feet they have, but they cannot walk. Mouth the have, but they cannot speak."

You see David observes that man has made a god like himself. Why do you put eyes in your god? Because you've got eyes. Why do you put ears in your god? Because you've got ears and make your god like yourself, but less then yourself, because the little wooden image here that you've made and you're worshiping. Though you've put ears on it, those ears can't hear. Though you put a mouth on it, it can't talk. So you made it less then yourself.

But David made one further observation. They that have made them have become like the gods that they made. If you make a dumb little god, you become dumb. If your god is insensate, you become like your god, you soon become insensate to the voice of God. You no longer hear the voice of God. You no longer see the work of God. You no longer sense the presence of God. You've become insensate, because you've been worshiping an insensate god. Some person says, well, I've never seen God. You're insensate. I've never felt the presence of God because your god is insensate, and you've become insensate.

It's a horrible curse that a man becomes like his god, if his god is false. It's a tremendous blessing that a man becomes like his God, if his God is true. Beloved now are we the sons of God, it doesn't yet appear what we are gonna be, but we know when He appears we're gonna be like Him. Why? Because man becomes like his God. They that have made them, have become like the gods that that they have made. A man becomes like his god.

And we with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory into the same image, as we are being conformed by the Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ, becoming like our God. And we should becoming more like Him every day. And if we are truly worshiping Him and serving Him, that will be the case in our lives.

Jesus here affirms the authenticity of the story of Jonah, as a historic fact. If you have the right concept of God, you'll have no problems. If you don't have the right concept of God, your problems are just starting.

The second thing Jesus affirms is His resurrection, after three days and three nights. This is another thing that has been the target of the higher critics of the Bible, the denial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And yet He affirms it. The third thing He affirms is the final resurrection of everyone, small, and great to stand before the judgement bar of God. All men of all ages will one day stand before God, no escaping.

The men of Nineveh will rise with this generation (Mat 12:41).

There will be that general resurrection from the dead that Daniel tells us about in the twelfth chapter of the book of Daniel, where he there declares, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake. Some to everlasting life, some to shame, and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2).

And of course in Revelation John gives us a very graphic description of this resurrection. "And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; for there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things, which were written in the books according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every men according to their works" (Revelation 20:11-13).

So the day of Judgement, the resurrection, and Jesus again affirms that, declaring that the men of Nineveh will rise with this generation, and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah.

Jonah was a bitter prophet. Jonah was filled with hatred. He had no love for the people that he was ministering to, but he had a deep resentment and hatred for them, and resented deeply his being there ministering to them. He had done his best to escape this job. He was coerced. Now someone said, God will not force you to go against your will, but He is able to make you willing to go, and such was the case of Jonah. I mean after three days and three nights in that hot humid whale, he had it. Seaweed wrapped around his head, the waves, he said, sloshing over him. In a mammal it would be 98:6 degrees, humidity is tremendous. He said, I've had it, I'll go. Now the Lord really didn't force him to go against his will, but He sure had a way of making him willing to go.

But much like the little kid whose dad said sit down, and the little kid just stood there. And he said, "I told you sit down." And the little kid still stood there, and he finally started toward him as he is pulling off his belt, and he said, "I said sit down," and the little kid sat down. And he said, "I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am still standing on the inside."

He was still reluctant. He still didn't want to go. And he preached one monotonous message, forty days, and comes destruction. And the king called for a general fast. He put on sackcloth and ashes. They prayed, they said, "who can tell the Lord may be merciful." And they repented at the preaching of Jonah, a miracle. And here these people with Jesus coming with love and compassion, rejecting Him. Oh yes, you bet the men of Nineveh will point a finger of accusation, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and that generation was refusing the message of Jesus.

The queen of the south [the queen of Sheba] shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, [general resurrection from the dead] and she will 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 (Mat 12:42).

There is absolutely no excuse for the rejecting of Jesus Christ. No excuse. He is God's provision for your sin and if you reject Him, men from every generation will rise to condemn you, in that day of judgement.

Now Jesus talks about exorcism.

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none. He says, I will return to the house from where I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept and garnished. Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits that are more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worst then the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation (Mat 12:43-45).

So Jesus is talking about the casting forth of evil spirits. It is certainly important that we not go around just seeking to expel evil spirits because you can actually be harming a person rather then helping a person, by just casting forth evil spirits. If something doesn't move into that vacuum, if something doesn't come in its place, the spirit will return finding the house all swept, clean. He'll go out and get seven other spirits more wicked, and really, you've done a great disservice to the person.

I believe in the expelling force of the higher power. I believe the best way to drive out darkness is to turn on the light, not to go around and flail at the darkness, scream at it, and yell at it, and try to drive it out, just turn on the light and the darkness automatically flees.

Light and darkness cannot co-exist. And when Jesus Christ comes into a person's life, when his heart and life is open to receive, then whatever force of darkness may be there is expelled by the power of the stronger force, the expelling force of the stronger power and a man is saved. He doesn't have to worry about a reoccurrence of the problem even in a worse degree. Better, that you bring the light to men, better that you bring them Jesus Christ, that their hearts and lives might be filled with Him and with His love, and through His power the forces of darkness will automatically be dispelled.

Now,

While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, and they desired to talk with him. Then someone said to him, Behold, your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to talk with you. And he answered and said unto the one that had told him that, Who is my mother? and who are my brothers? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and he said, Behold, my mother and my brothers. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, my sister, and my mother (Mat 12:46-50).

Now for those who are putting so much dependency upon the intercession of Mary, this scripture would give me a lot of problems. For when they said, "Hey, your mother is outside, she wants to talk to you." He said, "Who is my mother?" I mean He didn't drop everything and run and say, "Oh Mary, mother of God, blessed art thou among woman, blessed is the fruit of thy womb." He said, "Who is my mother?" Nowhere in the scripture are we encouraged to seek Mary, to seek favors for us from her son. There is not one indication or inkling in the scriptures that Mary can do you any good.

Jesus said, "Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, I'll do it." He didn't say, whatever you ask Mary, I'll give special consideration to, because every son gives special consideration to his mother. Nor did He say, you really shouldn't bother me, or talk to me about these things, talk to my mother and she filters them out, she'll tell me what I need to know.

I would hate to be depending upon Mary, when Jesus took this attitude towards her while He was here on earth. "Who is my mother, who is my brother?" and then looking around at His disciples He said, "hey, whoever does the will of God, they are my brothers, they are my sister, they are my mother."

Now Jesus, as we get to the end of chapter thirteen, we discover had earthly brothers and sisters inasmuch as they were sons of Mary and Joseph. Jesus of course was the Son of God. Mary being a virgin when the Holy Spirit came upon her and she conceived and bore Jesus Christ. But the teaching of the perpetual virginity of Mary is not scripturally based; in fact it's contrary to the scripture. For verse 55, they said, "is not this the carpenter's son and His mother is called Mary, and His brothers, James, and Joseph and Simon, and Judas, and his sisters, are they not with us?"

Now there is indication that those natural half-brothers of Jesus did not really believe on Him. You remember He said, "a prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own family" (Mat 13:57). He knew what it was to have the personal rejection of His family. And His brothers at one time, were going to rescue Him, they said, "He's gone crazy, he is beside Himself." And that's talking about a person who has sort of a schizophrenia that he begins to talk to himself. And so you're beside yourself, you're holding on a conversation with yourself.

Now it is true, that those who have a bond in Christ, those who are related by Jesus Christ, have a closer relationship then actual brothers and sisters who are not bound in Christ. In other words, you will have a closer relationship to those in the family of God than to those of your own family, if your own family is not also a part of the family of God. And many of you have no doubt experienced this. Your accepting of Jesus Christ has created an alienation between some of the members of your own family, blood family. But you've come into a new family, of which ties are deeper and greater, and the bond is tighter. And so with Jesus, His brothers, and all, not believing in Him at that point, said, "who is my brother? Look, this fellow here, whoever does the will of God, the same is my mother my sister, my brother.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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