Matthew 12:33-37 – Judgment Day!
|| Luke 6:43-45
MT12:33 “You either make the tree good and its fruitage good, or you make the tree rotten and the fruitage rotten. For a tree is known by its fruitage. MT12:34 Generation of vipers, how can you speak good when you are wicked? For out of the heart’s bounty the mouth speaks. MT12:35 Out of the good person’s heart comes a treasure of goodness; and expelled out of the wicked person’s wicked treasure comes wickedness. MT12:36 But I tell you that every fruitless word human’s speak will be held to account on Judgment Day. MT12:37 For by your words you will be declared ‘Not Guilty,’ and by your words you will be accursed.”
 You either make the tree: An awesome thought. We make the tree – either good or wicked. Jesus uses the tree as a metaphor for what a person produces. He has done it already in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:17). John the Baptists uses the idea first. See Matthew 3:10.
 Good: The Greek is KALON and is generally rendered “good” though there is another word for such – AGATHOS. There is a shade of difference in the two words. It is something like the Spanish bueno as opposed to bein. One means “good,” and the other “fine.” These are words in English with wide ranges of meaning and only the context can indicate what is being meant. In the KJV the word occurs 102 times and is generally rendered “good.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance indicates other meanings: 1) beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable; 1a) beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent; 1b) good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends; 1b1) genuine, approved.
 Fruitage: An often used idea of the Nazarene. Compare John 15:1-10. To Jesus the greatest of the fruitages are: faith and love (1 John 3:23). Fruitage is proof of one’s heart or inner motives and agenda. Fruitage which is self-centered leads to wickedness. Fruitage which is self-less leads to goodness and love.
 Or: There are only two choices.
 Generation of vipers: Or, ASV: offspring; WEY: brood. Jesus uses the condemnation again at Matthew 23:33. He has in mind the Pharisees, not the average folk. Compare John 8:44. These are the “seed” or offspring of the original serpent (Genesis 3:15).
 How can you speak good: They have just accused Jesus of being associated with Satan.
 Heart’s bounty: Or, KJV: abundance of the heart; TCNT: what fills the heart will rise to the lips; KNX: heart’s overflow. Proof of the heart’s motive is the mouth. What does one talk about? What is the general subject of conversation? How does one speak of another? Someone in this audience has just uttered the word “Beelzebubel” as an accusation against – not Jesus directly – but what he has done, by the Holy Pneuma.
 Good: The Greek is AGATHOS and generally translated “good.” The English word is one that has scores of meanings. Here it means morally excellent or virtuous kindness. Good is something positive toward another. The morality of this Nazarene teacher rises to celestial heights. Though it often means what is upright and honorable, it goes beyond mere righteousness. Righteousness is obedient to law. That is, a law-abiding person. AGATHOS goes beyond the law to do a kindness not necessarily required by the law.
 A treasure of goodness: The Greek for “treasure” is THESAUROU, or that which is saved or stored up. It is not a matter of one act of goodness – but a treasure of goodness. The good tree has been growing for years from a seedling to a mature fruit-bearer.
 Expelled out: The Greek is EKBALLEI and is related to the word from which “exorcise” comes. Or, GDSP: out of what he has accumulated that is bad, brings out things that are.
 Wicked: The Greek is PONERA (PONEROS, PONEROU) and is also rendered: KJV: evil; GDSP: bad. The English word is related to “witch” and in its extreme forms means bad moral character, evil, depraved. The Greek means hurtful or malicious, so it is rooted in what is unkind and unloving toward others. The word has some range and the Nazarene, perhaps sarcastically, even calls his disciples “wicked.” Compare Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13. Consider what is involved in wickedness and how they all violate the Golden Rule: Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed wicked thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, impiety of speech.” (Weymouth) Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, the evil reasonings do come forth, adulteries, whoredoms, murders, thefts, covetous desires, wickedness, deceit, arrogance, an evil eye, evil speaking, pride, foolishness; all these evils do come forth from within, and they defile the man.” (Young)
 Wicked treasure: As a person grows – like a tree – certain traits and characteristics are developing and evolving. Everyone has stored up something in attitudes and personality attributes. Some, however, have saved or stored up a treasure with a bent toward wickedness. Essentially wickedness is that character which is self-seeking, unloving, and without faith. It is the ego gone amuck.
 Every fruitless word: The Greek is AERGOS and rooted in ERGON (work) and means “non-working” or idle. It is a word spoken when one is relaxed, not on guard. A word revealing the true character. Or, KJV: every idle word; TCNT: every careless word; RHM: every useless expression; NEB: thoughtless word. The Greek may mean a word or a message. The word here in the context was “Beelzebul” directed against Jesus. This is not a mere slip of the lip for none are perfect in their speech (James 3:1-3; 1 John 1:8; 1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9). This is evilly motivated out of jealous hatred. Ancient Greek playwright said: “A man’s character can be known by his words.” Pythagoras offered: “Choose rather to fling a chance stone than to speak a chance word.”
“Beelzebub and them that are with him shoot arrows.” an illustration from the Henry Altemus edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, published in 1678. Illustrations by Fred Barnard (1846–1896) Blue pencil
 Held to account: Or, KJV: give account; NWT: accountable; NAS: render account. Jesus makes clear we will answer for every wicked word on Judgment Day. In the audience was someone who spoke an unforgivable word, “Beelzebul.” A name of accusation against the power behind the Nazarene. Now, surely, his error comes back upon his head to haunt him. Paul expresses something similar in 2 Corinthians 5:10; and, John does so in 1 John 2:28; 4:17. There are two outcomes for he Christian during the parousia-judgment: a clear conscience or shame and embarrassment (Daniel 12:2; 1 John 2:28).
 Judgment Day: See notes on Matthew 7:3; 11:22. Compare Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:12-14.
 Declared ‘Not Guilty’: The Greek is DIKAIOTHESE and is generally rendered “justified.” RIEU: acquitted; NWT: declared righteous. Note the basis for judgment by Jesus: it is our mouth. Surely a heart full of love will never speak wickedness against another. In the context before us the words are a horror: accusing another of being demonized or apostate (Matthew 5:22).
 Accursed: Or, KJV: condemned. It is the same word for “justified” above with the addition of the preposition: KATA-DIKASTHESE. The idea is “Guilty!”
The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries
Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love
Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment
Matthew 7:13-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #4 Matthew 7:24-27 – Conclusion
Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction
Matthew 7:15-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #2 False prophets and fruitage
Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple
Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?
Matthew 12:22-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: the Charge of Demonism
Matthew 12:31-32 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blasphemy against the Pneuma
- Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
- The giving and protecting God
- Good and bad things in this world
- Belief of the things that God has promised
- Spread love everywhere you go
- Growth in character
- Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
- Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
- Using “Theocratic Language” with Jehovah’s Witnesses
- The Love We Have
- Showing Goodness
- Fruit of Goodness
- Goodness — God is pleased with the good works of his people
- Speaking The Truth in Love
- Why Spread Beauty?
- Sin, Righteousness, Judgment
- What do righteousness, sanctification and baptism mean?