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Matthew 12

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath Day
1One Sabbath day Jesus was walking through some grainfields. His disciples were hungry, so they began to break off heads of grain and eat them. 2The Pharisees saw this and told Jesus, “Look! Your disciples are doing something that’s against the Law to do on the Sabbath day!”
3Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read about what David did when he and his men were hungry? 4He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the holy bread that only the priests were supposed to eat. 5Or haven’t you read in the Law how the priests in the temple do their regular work even on the Sabbath day, but they aren’t considered guilty? 6I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7Scripture says, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ If you knew what those words meant, you wouldn’t have accused people who were innocent. 8The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”
9Jesus went on from that place and entered a synagogue. 10A man with a weak and twisted hand was there. The Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, so they asked him, “Does the Law permit healing on the Sabbath day?”
11He answered them, “What if one of your sheep fell into a pit on the Sabbath day? Wouldn’t you grab hold of it and lift it out? 12A person is worth far more than a sheep! So the Law allows us to do good on the Sabbath day.”
13Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it became as good as new, just as strong as the other hand. 14But the Pharisees went out and started making plans to kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15Jesus knew what the Pharisees were planning, so he left that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed everyone who was sick. 16But he warned them not to tell other people about him. 17This was to make what the prophet Isaiah had said come true:
18“Here is my servant, the one I have chosen.
He’s the one I love, and I’m very pleased with him.
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he’ll announce to the nations that everything is going to be made right.
19He won’t argue or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20He won’t break a bent twig,
and he won’t snuff out a smoldering wick.
He’ll make right win over wrong,
21and the nations will put their hope in him.”
Jesus and the Prince of Demons
22Then they brought Jesus a man who was controlled by demons that kept him from speaking or seeing. Jesus healed the man so that he could speak and see. 23All the people were amazed and asked, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.”
25Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said to them, “Every kingdom that fights against itself will be destroyed. Every city or family that is divided against itself will not last. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he’s fighting against himself, so how can his kingdom last? 27You say I drive out demons by the power of Beelzebul. Then by whose power do your own people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is right here with you.
29“Or think about this. You can’t just walk into a strong man’s house and take what he owns. You have to tie him up first, and then you can rob his house.
30“Anyone who isn’t with me is against me, and anyone who doesn’t gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every kind of sin and insult can be forgiven, but saying that the Holy Spirit is evil will not be forgiven. 32Anyone 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 one to come.
33“If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good. If you make a tree bad, its fruit will be bad. You can tell a tree by its fruit. 34You nest of vipers! How can you who are bad say anything good? Whatever is in your heart comes out of your mouth. 35Good people say good things out of the good that’s stored up inside them, but bad people say bad things out of what’s stored up inside them. 36I tell you that everyone will have to account on judgment day for every word they’ve spoken that hasn’t done any good. 37You’ll be found guilty or not guilty based on your words.”
The Sign of Jonah
38Some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39He answered, “It’s a rebellious and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! But it won’t be given any except for the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as 40Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish for three days and three nights, the Son of Man will spend three days and three nights in the grave. 41The people of Nineveh will stand up on judgment day with this generation and show that it’s guilty. They turned away from their sins when Jonah preached to them, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42The Queen of the South will stand up on judgment day with this generation and show that it’s guilty. She came from far away to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43“When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it goes through the deserts looking for a place to rest, but it doesn’t find any. 44Then it says, ‘I’ll return to the house I just left.’ When it gets back, it finds the house swept clean and put in order, with no one living in it. 45Then the evil spirit goes and gets seven other spirits that are even worse than it is, and they all go live there. Then the person is worse off than they were before. That’s how it will be with this rebellious generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers came and stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and they want to speak to you.”
48Jesus replied to him, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?” 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here is my mother! Here are my brothers! 50Anyone who does what my heavenly Father wants is my brother and sister and mother.”

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