Having demonstrated his authority over disease and death, Jesus now makes it clear that he is Lord of all religious matters. All authority means all. How sad that the Pharisees (self-appointed interpreters of the Law) chose to accuse Jesus and his disciples of breaking the Sabbath law. The Law was never intended to rule against basic human needs. Corners of grain fields and grain dropped on the ground had always been left for the needy and poor. The heartless Pharisees cared more about their legalistic interpretation of the Law than they did about people. Jesus used their model of interpretation against them, reminding them that the priests carried out necessary activity on the Sabbath. He also referenced the story of David eating the consecrated bread in the tabernacle as he was on the run from heartless enemies. Jesus is Lord of all, including the Sabbath law. By the way, this law was abolished with the onset of the New Covenant.
Moving on, the Pharisees thought they had Jesus cornered when they asked him if it would be lawful to heal on the Sabbath. How wise and insightful was Jesus’ reply. They would pull an animal out of a ditch on the Sabbath without thought. Why would it be wrong to heal the sick or feed the hungry? The Sabbath day was designed to be helpful, not hurtful to man. The Law of God is always on the side of grace, generosity, and mercy. Having been outdone, the Pharisees began their plan to kill Jesus. How religious of them! Legalists take note.
As Jesus continued his ministry of helpfulness and healing, many came to him. He healed all the sick, but did so quietly. His ministry fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said that the Messiah would “not quarrel or cry out.” He was not a troublemaker, but one who did good quietly. The Gospel of good news is spread by kindness, not by bad behavior.
When Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, the Pharisees accused him of working by the power of “the prince of demons.” In this context, Jesus made the statement that “anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Though many are troubled about this pronouncement, it does not seem to slow their resistance to God, His Son, and his Spirit. Good people, the sin was that of attributing Jesus’ power to the devil. If you serve God through Jesus Christ and welcome the work of His Spirit, you have no reason to worry about the so-called “unpardonable sin.” That being said, let us take great care to honor the members of the Godhead (2 Cor. 13:14).
Although Jesus had done many miracles, the Pharisees and teachers clamored for more proof. Jesus said the sign of Jonah would be given. As Jonah survived the great fish, so would Jesus rise from the dead after three days and three nights. The proof of the resurrection (Acts 17:31).
Jesus loved and respected his physical family. It seems only his mother and siblings survived by this time. Do you remember their names? Look at the end of chapter 13. Jesus’ spiritual family includes all those who do the will of the Father. Are you in the family of God?
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.