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Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

Matthew 12:9-21 – Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

|| Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11

MT12:9 Leaving there Jesus went into their synagogue. MT12:10 And, look! a human with a dried-up hand![1] So, they asked Jesus, “Is it permissible to cure on the Sabbath?”[2] (They asked so they might accuse him.) MT12:11 Jesus told them, “Which human among you who has a single sheep[3] – fallen into a pit on the Sabbath – and will not grab it and pull it out? MT12:12 So, how much more different[4] is a human from a sheep. Thus, it is permissible to do good[5] on Sabbaths.” MT12:13 Then Jesus spoke to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”[6] And as he did his hand was restored, as sound as the other. MT12:14 But the Pharisees[7] had turned out and they conferred against him how they might destroy Jesus. MT12:15 However, realizing this, Jesus withdrew[8] from there. And many followed him and he cured them all. MT12:16 Jesus cautioned them[9] not to make him manifest MT12:17 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah[10] might be fulfilled,[11] MT12:18 “Look! My[12] servant-boy[13] whom I chose, My beloved[14] in whom My soul delights! Upon him I will place My Pneuma.[15] He will announce justice[16] to the nations. MT12:19 He will not quarrel,[17] nor yell,[18] nor will any hear his [raised] voice in public streets.[19] MT12:20 He will not crush a bruised reed,[20] nor smother a flickering [candle] wick[21] – until he sends forth victorious justice.[22] MT12:21 And in his name nations will hope.”[23] [Isaiah 42:1-4]

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withered_hand_1

Jesus healing the withered hand

[1] Dried-up hand: KJV: withered; WEY: shriveled; TAY: deformed.

[2] Is it permissible to cure on the Sabbath: Or, allowable, lawful. This issue becomes a point of contention with the Pharisees. At the root of it is law versus human kindness and charity. There are those religious persons who would pile rules upon rules but are not characterized by kindness and charity.

[3] Sheep: Sheep are Jesus’ favorite animal. They occur 35 times in the Gospels mainly in Matthew (11) and John (20). Most of the great men of the Bible were somehow associated with sheep in one way or another. Abel possibly sacrificed one. Noah saved their whole kind. Abraham herded them and one replaced his son. Moses went searching for a lost sheep and found Yehowah. Jesus saves all the sheep to everlasting life.

[4] How much more different: Jesus has used a similar comparison before – between sparrows and his disciples (Matthew 10:31).

[5] Permissible to do good: We can only imagine the tone in his voice, the look in his eyes, the warm slight smile, as he said this to those in the synagogue. It is always lawful to do good. Paul is to echo the same idea at Galatians 5:22, 23.

[6] Stretch out your hand: This alone is an act of faith and we see on the man’s face expectant confidence. There is a similar story in the apocryphal book Gospel to the Hebrews. There the man explains himself: “I was a stone mason, seeking my living with my hands. I pray you, Jesus, to give me back my health, so that I shall not need to beg for food in shame.”

[7] The Pharisees: The evil plot begins which is to be fulfilled a year later. “Destroy” is also rendered: GDSP: to put him to death; PME: get rid of him altogether. See notes on Matthew 3:7.

[8] Jesus withdrew: The Nazarene follows his own counsel to his apostles (Matthew 10:16, 23).

[9] Jesus cautioned them: This is something Jesus does often usually with the result that the news spreads even more.

[10] Isaiah: The quotation is from Isaiah 42:1-4. The work by Archer and Chirichigno, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: a Complete Survey, observes: “This is a classic case of the independence of the LXX on Matthew’s part.” (pages 112-3)

[11] So that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: The quotation explains Jesus’ caution not to tell others.

[12] My: Yehowah.

[13] Servant-boy: See notes on Matthew 8:6. Yehowah refers to His Son as His “boy” or servant. Compare Acts 4:27 (PAIDA) and Acts 4:29 (DOULOIS = slaves).

[14] My beloved: The original context deals with the Persia king Cyrus, the instrument of Yehowah in delivering the Jews from Babylon. He is a Messiah-type for Jesus as Matthew’s inspired application shows.

[15] Upon him I will place My Pneuma: It is Yehowah who “places” or puts His spirit upon His servant-boy. On Pneuma see Matthew 1:18. PNEUMA means breath or wind in Greek – an invisible pressure. Paul compares pneuma to the “mind of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:16; Isaiah 40:13)

[16] Announce justice: Or, TCNT: announce a time of judgment; MOF: proclaim religion to the Non-Jews; LAM: preach justice to the people.

[17] He will not quarrel: Or, KJV: not strive; MOF: not wrangle.

[18] Nor yell: Or, MOF: shout; ASV: cry aloud. The Messiah quietly goes about his work and let this be the means of conviction – not emotional Hitlerian oratory. William Barclay puts it: “In Jesus there is the quiet, strong serenity of one who seeks to conquer by love, and not by strife of words.” (page 24, Volume 2, The Gospel of Matthew)

[19] Voice in public streets: The screaming street-corner evangelist was not the Nazarene’s method, nor that of any of his disciples.

[20] Crush a bruised reed: Or, WEY: crush reed; GDSP: bent reed. Compare notes on Matthew 11:7. The Messiah is gentle and will do nothing to further injure a faith so weak. It is possible the “bruised reed” was the man in the synagogue with the withered hand. A hardened reed could be used as a measuring rod or a whipping stick.

[21] Smother a flickering [candle] wick: Or, KJV: smoking flax shall not quench; NEB: nor snuff out the smouldering wick; MON: the dimly burning wick. Rather, the Lord holds his palms around the meager light to protect it from wind.

[22] Until he sends forth victorious justice: Or, KJV: send forth judgment unto victory; RHM: urge on Justice to victory; TCNT: brought the judgment to a victorious issue; WEY: led on justice to victory; BAS: made righteousness overcome all; KNX: until the time he crowns his judgment with victory. Old Testament Quotations suggests: “Conceivably the establishment of God’s perfect justice on earth is to be understood as involving a conquest or subduing of mankind in order to render them obedient to the Lord’s judgment.” (page 115)

[23] In his name nations will hope: This idea would have been thought a miracle – that one day the nations or Non-Jews would hope in Jesus’ name. If Pilate had been told that in three centuries the official religion of Rome would be Christianity and that Caesar would be a Christian himself – it would have been laughable. As we approach the year 2,000 every nation on earth – every land, every island, every language among mankind – has believers and disciples who hope in the name Jesus. The truth of this prophecy is realized first with Cornelius (Acts chapter 10).

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Preceding

Matthew 11:7-15 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 3 John the Baptist and the Kingdom Goal

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing

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Related

  1. Did You Know?
  2. Matthew 12丨John Calvin
  3. ‘to do good’ ….. mentioned in the Holy Bible (KJV)
  4. “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” (Minor Myers Jr.)

Matthew 8:5-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Servant of Army Officer Healed

Matthew 8:5-13 – Servant of Army Officer Healed

|| Luke 7:1-10; John 4:46-53

MT8:5 Entering Capernaum a centurion[1] approached Jesus begging him MT8:6 saying, “Sir, my servant-boy[2] is house-bound, a paralytic, in terrible agony.” MT8:7 Jesus told him, “When I arrive I shall[3] cure him.” MT8:8 But the centurion replied: “I am unfit[4] to have you enter under my roof; but only say the word and my servant-boy will be healed. MT8:9 For I am a man in a position of authority with many soldiers under me. And I tell this one, ‘Get up and go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes. And to my own slave,[5] ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” MT8:10 Hearing this Jesus marveled and told those following him, “I tell you this truth,[6] I tell you, I have never discovered such faith[7] in all of Israel![8] MT8:11 But, I tell you that many from sunrise to sunset[9] will come and recline with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob[10] in the Realm of the Heavens, MT8:12 but the sons of the kingdom[11] will be cast out into the outer darkness, and there they will weep and grind their teeth.”[12] MT8:13 And then Jesus spoke to the centurion, “Be on your way: just as you believed,[13] let it happen to you.” And the servant-boy was healed in that very hour.

[1] Centurion: The word occurs ten times in the Christian Bible between Matthew and Acts. This Roman army officer was in charge of one hundred soldiers. Roman legions, despite the number of troops were divided into 60 centuries under the command of a centurion. This is an occupying soldier often disliked by the Jews. However, some Roman soldiers became quite favorable to the Jews, giving charitable gifts, and at least in one known case, built a synagogue. Compare a later centurion, Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 (Note John the Baptist’s suggestions to such soldiers at Luke 3:14).

[2] Servant-boy: The Greek is PAIS meaning “boy.” “Boy” is an old English word for a male slave or servant. “Girl” designated a female slave. “Boy” in certain racial contexts is derogatory in many cultures today. Some women object to “girl” because of its historical roots in slavery.

[3] I shall: Note our Lord’s confident faith.

[4] I am unfit: Actually Jews had little to do with Non-Jews and the “religious” among them had no dealings at all.

[5] Slave: This is a different Greek word than PAIS above – DOULO meaning a slave or servant. The word group “slave” occurs 400 times in the Bible, most often in the Christian Bible in Matthew and Luke. The first occurrence is Genesis 9:25 following the Flood. In Paul’s epistles the word “slave” is often applied as a designation for a disciple of the Nazarene. One of Paul’s letters, Philemon (verse 16), was written to a Christian slave owner.

[6] I tell you this truth: The literal Greek word is AMEN and is variously rendered: verily, solemnly, truly. The word usually precedes a sober statement.

[7] Faith: This is the second occurrence of the word “faith” in Matthew. The first was in the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 6:30. The Greek is PISTIN and is usually translated by the Latin biased word “faith” or the old English bias word “belief.” Paul defines “faith” in Hebrews 11:1. The words “faith” and “believe” occur over 700 times in the Bible. The first occurrence is Genesis 15:6 in the case of the father of all the faithful, Abraham. The word occurs most often in the Letter to the Romans. The last occurrence deals with those lacking faith (Revelation 21:8).

[8] Such faith in all of Israel: This must have struck his disciples hard! Observers may already have been questioning the propriety of such contact with a Gentile, let alone an occupying soldier. And, then to be told this Roman centurion’s faith was so outstanding. How much basis did the centurion have to place his faith and trust in this carpenter from Nazareth? Surely the humble solider serves as an example two thousand years later?

[9] Sunrise to sunset: Or, east and west; orient and occident.

[10] Abraham and Isaac and Jacob: This verse has been very controversial with a variety of opinions. Some view it as evidence these ancient patriarchs would attain to heavenly life. Jesus repeats something similar in another context at Luke 13:29 where he amplifies the compass directions. Judging from Matthew 11:11, 12 these honorable forefathers would only equal John the Baptist who would not be a member of the Kingdom Realm of heaven. So, what may this verse mean? Judging from the context of Luke 13:29 it may be understood in this manner: The phrase “kingdom of the heavens” likely refers to the Realm of Profession (Christendom) over which the Lord Messiah reigns, that is, the Christian Church. The three patriarchs possibly stand as a symbol for the Jewish roots of those first members of Christ’s church/kingdom. As in that “root of fatness” which comprises the Olive Tree of Romans chapter 11. In the year 36 the first Gentile convert to Christianity joined the Church along with his family. This was the first to come to the spiritual table within that Realm of Christian Profession. Meanwhile the religious hypocrites found themselves outside in the darkness. Near the end of his ministry when Greeks wish to speak to them, Jesus assured that following his ascension he “would draw all kinds of men.” (John 12:20-32) The names of the patriarchs are used as synonyms for the nation of Israel [Abraham – Isaiah 29:22; Isaac, Amos 7:9; Jeremiah 33:26; Psalm 105:9. Jacob in particular is a cryptic for Israel – Psalms 14:7; 44:4; 47:4; 53:6; 59:13; 78:5, 21, 71; 79:7; 85:1; 87:2; 99:4; 105:10; 135:4; 147:19; Rachel is also used for all of Israel, Jeremiah 31:15]

[11] Sons of the kingdom: That is the Jews who were promised such a “kingdom of priests” upon their obedience to God’s covenant (Exodus 19:5, 6). Jesus uses the phrase only one other time in Matthew 13:38 as he applies it to the wheat class of Christians within “the kingdom of the heavens.” This kingdom is that of the Son, in which there prove to be the lawless. It contrasts with the Father’s Kingdom where the Saints will shine like the sun in glory (Matthew 13:41-43; Daniel 12:3).

[12] Grind their teeth: Note how this begins at Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 7:54, 57).

[13] Believed: Or, conviction, trust, faith. The Greek is EPISTEUSAS.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 8:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus a Miracle-working Son of God

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Further reading

  1. Are We a Kingdom of Priests?
  2. Israel will be a kingdom of priests “if” & decline in true church in USA
  3. “Assembling His Kingdom of Priest”
  4. You Were Chosen For A Divine Purpose
  5. How to Find Healing In a Sick World
  6. Healing Christ
  7. Prayer- Jesus, only speak the word (Matthew 8.5-11)

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