Matthew 12:22-50 | Luke 11
Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. 30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Sign of Jonah
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Jesus and Beelzebul
14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of Godand obey it.”
The Sign of Jonah
29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.
The Lamp of the Body
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy,[g] your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy,[h] your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law
37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.
Read through the Bible in 2023
This year we will "Read Through the Bible" from the Old Testament and New Testament each day and take them in the order we have in our Bibles. Average reading time is 15 minutes per day.
A NOTE FROM MICHELE
Reading the Scriptures is as old as the Scriptures themselves (obviously, right?). They impart words of life. They show us the path to salvation. They teach us how to receive forgiveness of sins and point us to eternal life. They draw us ever closer to a loving God. They grow us in the grace and knowledge of His Son. In short, they change us!
Ten Reasons to Read Every Day
So, I have ten reasons that I believe make Bible reading, Bible understanding, Bible memory essential to the Christian life. Resist feelings of self-sufficiency that say, “I don’t need the Scripture every day.” Here are my ten reasons.
1. Scripture saves.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16
“God saves us daily by Scripture.” Salvation has happened to God’s people, salvation is — at this moment — happening to God’s people, and salvation will happen completely at the resurrection of God’s people, and it is happening now by means. Paul says to hold fast to the teaching and thereby save yourself. God saves us daily by Scripture.
2. Scripture frees from Satan.
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
And the context is that Jesus is showing the Jewish leaders that, though they think they are not slaves, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44). Satan is your enemy, young Christian. He is a thousand times stronger than you are. So, John writes to the young believers,
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14
This is our only hope for defeating a supernatural enemy. Every time Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13), he struck back with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and he had it memorized, so he didn’t have to carry a book in the wilderness.
3. Scripture imparts grace and peace.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2
Knowledge of God gained through Scripture is not identical with grace, but Peter says it is a means of grace. If we want to be made peaceful and powerful through divine grace, Peter says, it happens “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” That knowledge is found in one place: Scripture.
4. Scripture sanctifies.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
“We’re all assigned in some measure to handle the word of God.” Sanctification is the process of becoming holy — that is, becoming more like Christ and like God, who is perfectly holy. This is not optional. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive . . . for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
We don’t become perfect in this life, but we do become holy. God sanctifies his people. And Jesus prays to his Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” It couldn’t be more plain, or more important.
5. Scripture gives joy.
You received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:6
His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
Life without joy is unbearable. The Christian life is a life of many afflictions. But in them all, God sustains joy, and he does it by the Scriptures.
6. Scripture protects us from destructive error.
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God . . . so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4:13–14
How do young Christians stop being leaves blown around by cultural and theological winds and opinions? Answer: “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” — knowledge that they experience not as the opinion of man, but as the word of God. That’s found in one place: the Scriptures.
7. Scripture is the hope of heaven.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
The knowledge of God — all the fullness that a created being can properly comprehend and enjoy — will not be withheld from us indefinitely. The frustrations of our present limitations of understanding and enjoyment will be removed. How fitting it is, then, that we be ever growing now in what will be our final joy in the age to come.
8. Scripture will be resisted by some.
The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. 2 Timothy 4:3
In other words, we need to know the Scriptures so that we’re not taken off guard or knocked off balance or led away by false teachers. We need to receive the Scriptures regularly to be ready to meet those who refuse to receive the Scriptures.
9. The right handling of Scripture is approved by God.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
It is a precious thing to be assigned to do a very important task, and then to find the master worker approving of what he’s asked you to do. We’re all assigned in some measure to handle the word of God. And what a wonderful opportunity to be pleasing to the Lord.
10. Scripture gives and sustains life.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Spiritual life — eternal life — just like physical life, must be fed, not by bread, but by the word of God.