The Gospel according to Matthew

12:1In those days Jesus went through some grain fields on a Sabbath with his disciples, who were hungry and started to pick heads of grain to eat.12:2But the Pharisees saw it and said to him, “Hey! Your disciples are doing what is forbidden on the Sabbath!”

12:3But Jesus said, “Haven’t you ever read1 what David did when he and those with him were hungry?12:4He went into the house of God and they ate the bread that had been presented in offering, which was not legal for them to do, but only for the priests.12:5And haven’t you read that according to the law, the priests violate every Sabbath but are not guilty?

12:6“But I say to you that there is someone here who is greater than the temple!12:7And if you had known what this means, ‘I want compassion rather than sacrifice’, you would not condemn the innocent.12:8For the Human is Master of the Sabbath.”

12:9Moving on from there, he went into their synagogue.12:10Suddenly there was someone there with a shriveled hand, and they asked Jesus whether it was permissible to heal on the Sabbath, so they could have some reason to accuse him.12:11But he said to them, “If you had a sheep that fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, which of you would not grab it and pull it out?12:12And how much more important is a person than a sheep? So then, it is permissible to do good on the Sabbath.”12:13So he turned to the person and said, “Hold out your hand.” The person did so and it was immediately restored to complete health, just like the other hand.

12:14The Pharisees’ response was to go out and convene a council to plot how to kill Jesus.12:15But he knew this and went away from there. Crowds followed him, and he healed them all.12:16But he sternly warned them not to reveal his identity,12:17in order to fulfill what was written by the prophet Isaiah:

12:18

“Look at my chosen child, the one I love and am pleased with! I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim righteousness to the non-Judeans.12:19He will not fight or shout; his voice will not be heard in the streets.12:20He will not even step on a reed and break it, nor snuff out a smoldering wick, until his victory brings justice12:21and the non-Judeans put confidence in his name.”

12:22Someone with a demon causing blindness and deafness was brought to Jesus. He healed him so that he could immediately see and talk.12:23All the people were beside themselves and said, “Could this be the Descendant of David?”12:24But when the Pharisees heard this they said, “It is by the power of Beelzeboul, ruler of the demons, that he throws them out!”

12:25Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will self-destruct, and every city or house divided against itself cannot stand.12:26So if the Adversary is throwing himself out, how can his kingdom stand, since it’s divided?12:27And if I’m throwing out demons by the power of Beelzeboul, then by whose power are your own people throwing them out? So it is they who will judge you!12:28Yet if I throw them out by the Spirit of God, it follows that the kingdom of God is certainly here.

12:29“How would anyone be able to break into a strong person’s house and pilfer all their belongings, unless they first tied up the strong person? Only then could they make off with all the loot.12:30So whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me is scattering.12:31What I’m saying in all this is that people will be forgiven for every fault and slander, except slander against the Spirit.12:32You will be forgiven for speaking against the Human, but not for speaking against the Holy Spirit— not now or ever.

12:33“If you plant a good tree you get good fruit, but if you plant a bad tree you get bad fruit. So a tree is known by the fruit it makes.12:34You pit of poisonous snakes! How can good speech come from evil people? The mouth speaks whatever comes from the mind,12:35so a good person expresses the good stored inside of them, and an evil person expresses the evil stored inside of them.12:36And on Judgment Day, people will have to account for every little remark they made.12:37You will either be acquitted or condemned by your own words.”

12:38Then some of the scripture scholars and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want you to perform a miraculous sign for us.”12:39But he replied, “An evil and adulterous generation looks for a sign! But none will be given except that of the prophet Jonah.12:40For just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so also the Human will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

12:41“The people of Ninevah will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it. They changed their minds in response to Jonah’s proclamation, but here in front of you is someone more important than Jonah.12:42The Queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it. She came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but here in front of you is someone more important than Solomon.

12:43“Whenever an unclean spirit goes out from a person, it passes through arid places looking for rest, but it finds none.12:44So it says to itself, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ Then it goes and finds the place vacated, swept clean, and put in order,12:45so it gets seven other spirits more evil than itself and re-enters the house. That person was much worse off in the end than they were at first. This is what will happen to this evil generation!”

12:46While he was still speaking to the crowd, suddenly his mother and siblings were standing outside, wanting to talk to him.12:47And someone said, “Look, your mother and siblings are standing outside, wanting to talk to you.”12:48But he replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my siblings?”12:49Then he pointed toward his disciples and said, “See, these are my mother and siblings!12:50For whoever does the will of my Father in the heavens is my brother and sister and mother.”

  1. 1Jesus’ asking the Pharisees “haven’t you read” was quite insulting, since the Pharisees prided themselves on their knowledge.