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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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  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 10:16-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Forth as Sheep among Wolves

Matthew 10:16-23 – Sent Forth as Sheep among Wolves

|| Luke 10:3

MT10:16 “Look! I am sending you forth[1] as sheep[2] among wolves,[3] so be cautious as serpents[4] and innocent as doves.[5] MT10:17 Be alert among humans[6] for they will hand you over[7] to courts and in their synagogues[8] they will scourge[9] you. MT10:18 You will be brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them[10] as well as the Non-Jews. MT10:19 But, when they hand you over do not be overly concerned how or what you will say, for what you should speak[11] will be given to you in that hour. MT10:20 Because it is not you who speaks but your Father’s Pneuma[12] speaking in you. MT10:21 Even brother will betray brother[13] – and a father his child – to death. Children will take their stand against parents causing their deaths. MT10:22 You will be hated by everyone because of my name.[14] But, the one who endures completely[15] will be saved.[16] MT10:23 When they persecute you in this town, flee to another.[17] I tell you this truth: You will never complete the cities of Israel[18] before the Ascension[19] of the Son of Humankind.

[1] Sending you forth: The Greek is APOSTELLO, a form of “apostle.” An apostle is a representative.

[2] Sheep: The Greek is PROBATA and occurs over 216 times in the whole Bible. Usually used as a metaphor for believers the word occurs: Matthew, 11; Mark, 2; Luke, 2; John, 20; and only five times in the rest of the Christian Bible. Sheep are not adversarial predators and are very gregarious as a flock. They are among the earliest animals named in the Bible (Genesis 24:35; 26:14). They are helpless without a shepherd and easy prey for enemies (Numbers 27:16, 17; Jeremiah 23:4; Ezekiel 34:5, 6, 8; Micah 5:8). It is a metaphor for those defenseless and innocent (2Samuel 24:17; Psalm 44:11, 22; 95:7; 119:176; Matthew 10:6, 16; John 21:16, 17; Romans 8:36). Note Luke 10:3 uses “lambs.”

[3] Wolves: The word group wolf/wolves occurs in Moses and the Prophets, all as pictured by Jesus. See Matthew 7:15 and John 10:2. (Genesis 49:27; Jeremiah 5:6; Ezekiel 22:27; Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3) Under the Messianic rule the wolf changes its disposition (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25) Paul predicts wolves will work their way into the Christian flock (Acts 20:29).

[4] Cautious as serpents: The idea finds its roots right at the beginning of human creation (Genesis 3:1).The serpent (snake) occurs over 70 times in the Bible. The phrase “cautious as serpents” is also rendered: KJV: wise as serpents; NASB: shrewd as. Though the Friend of the Nazarene is guileless in Christian character, Jesus counsels PHRONIMOI a wise caution when among the enemy.

[5] Innocent as doves: The gentle bird occurs 35 times in the Bible. The bird Noah sent forth from the Ark (Genesis 8:8-12). It is sometimes associated with being blameless or without flaw (Canticles 5:2, 12; 6:9). Hosea 7:11 associates the dove with a simple-minded heart without a motive. The bird occurs nine times in the Gospels (Matthew 3:16; 10:16; 21:12; Mark 1:10; 11:15; Luke 3:22; John 1:32; 2:14, 16). The word “innocent” is also rendered: KJV: harmless; MOF: guileless. The name of the prophet Jonah means “Dove.” (See also pidgin or turtledove). Compare Psalm 55:6; Isaiah 60:8.

[6] Be alert among humans: Others render this phrase: KJV: beware of men; TCNT: be on your guard; KNX: do not put your trust in men; RIEU: mankind. Giving this counsel, we must think that our Lord followed his own advice. Compare Philippians 3:2.

[7] Hand you over: Or, KJV: they will deliver you up; TCNT: betray you.

[8] Synagogues: Jesus is talking to Jewish disciples. What he says is not meant as specific directives for all future Friends of the Nazarene. Compare Jesus’ prediction at Mark 13:9 (Compare Matthew 23:34). Note the fulfillment at Acts 5:40.

[9] Scourge: Or, BECK: whip; WEY: flog (Acts 5:40ff).

[10] A testimony to them: See the Acts of the Apostles chapter 4, 5, 7 and others for the actual fulfillment.

[11] What you should speak: This is spoken to the apostles and may not necessarily be applied to all Christians. Note the cases of Peter (Acts 5), Stephen (Acts 7), and Paul (Acts 17), inspired speeches preserved in the Christian Bible.

[12] Your Father’s Pneuma: Or, the spirit of your Father. The Greek is PNEUMA which may also mean breath or wind. The Pneuma is God’s Mind exerting mental pressure to accomplish his will. So we find Peter, for example, speaking by the Pneuma (Acts 5:3, 4).

[13] Brother will betray brother: Compare Matthew 24:10.

[14] Hated by everyone because of my name: The name “Christian” in history becomes a terrible stigma leading to an enormous number of deaths. Note Jesus does not say His Father’s Name, Jehovah, but his own, “Jesus Christ.” WEY: objects of universal hatred; WMS: because you bear my name; NEB: for your allegiance to me.

[15] The one who endures completely: The Greek TELOS is without the article and thus “an end” with regard to each individual’s endurance, often in martyrdom. Compare Matthew 24:13. The word group “endurance” occurs over 30 times in the Christian Bible. Compare (Matthew 5:10-12; 10:16-22; 24:9, 10, 39; Mark 13:9, 12, 13; Luke 21:19; Romans 2:7; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 3:10-12; Hebrews 10:36; James 5:10, 11; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 14:12) The English word “endurance” is drawn from the root dru that is the oak tree and those “druids” as well as “trust.”

[16] Saved: There are two states in the procession of salvation: a) the initial by escape from the judgment on the world; and, b) the final by endurance unto death. See a concordance on the word group “save(d)” and “salvation.” It may be compared to being saved by a lifeguard which does not ensure a future drowning. Compare Matthew 19:25; 24:13, 22; Luke 8:2; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:40, 47; 4:12; 11:14; 15:11; 16:30, 31; Romans 5:9, 10; 8:24; 10:9.

[17] Flee to another: The Nazarene’s disciples are not to remain and battle with opposers but move into a more fruitful territory. This advice is seen in the Book of Acts (Acts 8:1, 2).

[18] Never complete the cities of Israel: Jesus has sent out his 12 apostles, and later the 70 disciples, and he tells them they will never preach to all the land of Israel before the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13.

[19] Before the Ascension: This rendering will receive considerable judgment. The Greek is ELTHE a word taken from Daniel 7:13 where the same phrase occurs in the Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX). Judging from the context and reading of Daniel 7:13 the prophet sees the ascension of a human being to the very Throne-room of the Most High. The Greek word ELTHE and the related word ERCHOMENOM is generally rendered “coming.” However, the word also means “to go” or “leave.” The English word “ascend” means “to go up.” It has been generally misunderstood that this word infers a “coming” in the direction of those disciples on earth, when, in fact, it means the arrival in heaven to become King. Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 are often combined by Jesus in a conflate or paraphrase. Compare Matthew 22:44; 26:64; Mark 14:62; 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33, 34; 5:31; 7:55-57; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Hebrews 10:12, 13. It is possible that Jesus actually used the Hebrew/Aramaic word athah which means to arrive and be present at a certain location.

 

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Preceding

Matthew 10:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Twelve Given Authority

Matthew 10:1-4 – Calling of the apostles – by Calvin

Matthew 10:5-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus’ Orders: Territory, Theme, Trust

Matthew 10:11-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for the Sheep

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