September 23, 2013
Morning – Psalm 20, 23, I Kings 12:12-20, 2 Thes. 1
Evening – Psalm 11, 12 Job 4, Mt. 12:14-30
Commentary, Matthew 12:14-30
Our Lord had warned the disciples that His followers would face persecution and danger. But it is enough for the servant to be as his Lord, and in Matthew 12 14 we see opposition rising against Jesus. Nor is this the beginning of opposition. The Pharisees murmured against Him in the early verses of chapter 12, and verses 10-13 show them in a deliberate attempt to make Him heal a man so they could accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath (12:10).
Opposition to Jesus is also seen in the imprisonment of John the Baptist, for he was the forerunner sent to prepare the way of Christ. Going back to chapter 10, our Lord warned the disciples that they would be scourged, hated and delivered up to death for His sake. When He said “It is enough for the disciple to be as his master” He was hinting at His own rejection and crucifixion and telling the disciples to expect the same treatment.
In 12:14 the opposition to Christ moves from murmuring and verbal traps to an actual plan to destroy Him. This verse shows the vicious cruelty of the opposition, for the Pharisees intend to see His teaching and influence disgraced, and Him executed and consigned to eternal hell. That is their hope for Jesus, and it is all summarized in the word, “destroy.” In Greek it is the same word used in 1 Corinthians 10:10, which refers back to the way the Hebrews murmured against Moses in the wilderness and were not allowed into the Promised Land, but died in the wilderness. It also recalls the rebellion of Korah and the way the earth opened and took the dissenters alive into hell (Num 16:32). They were destroyed by the destroyer, and we know who that is. We see him identified in Revelation 9:11, the angel of the bottomless pit “whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Apollyon is a derivative of the Greek word used in Matthew 12:14, apolesosin. It means they wanted Christ to burn in hell.
The healing of the multitudes is another opportunity for Matthew to identify Christ as the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Verses 17-19 refer to Isaiah 11, 61, and 40. The Pharisees respond by accusing Christ of casting out demons by the power of the prince of demons. Christ replies that he is not of Satan’s house, else that house would be divided and fall. Instead, He is the One who enters the house of Satan and spoils his goods (12:29). Christ is saying Satan is like a strong man with much wealth, but He, Jesus, has broken into Satan’s house and taken his goods. The goods are the souls of people once in slavery to Satan, but now free in Christ.