Turning Point Of The Ministry Of Jesus
Turning Point Of The Ministry Of Jesus
Until this time, the leading Pharisees were extremely anxious about Jesus because He obviously did not fit into their preconceived ideas of a political-messiah. He frequently challenged their theological and doctrinal arguments which they constantly lost and made them to look foolish to bystanders. If the trend continued, they knew it would be only a matter of time until their honor, social status, and affluent lifestyle would be lost. They probably wondered if He planned to take over one of their positions in the synagogues and temple. Furthermore, since He performed so many miracles, He had immense popularity and obviously the power to do whatever He wanted to do. Therefore, they observed every move He made to determine how they could best eliminate Him.
09.01.02 Mk. 3:20; Mt. 12:22-24 (See also Lk. 11:14-23) Capernaum
IS JESUS A DEMON OR SON OF DAVID?
Mk. 20 Then He went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat.
Mt. 22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to Him. He healed him, so that the man could both speak and see. 23
And all the crowds were astounded and said, “Could this be the Son of David!” 24 When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “The man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”
Just as there are many denominations in Christianity today, so likewise there was a variety of sects in first century Judaism. Among the Pharisees there was a charismatic group known as the Hasidim, meaning, the godly people, who performed healings, and exorcisms (see Jn. 12:27; Ac. 19:13). Today, some scholars believe the Hasidim were the closest to biblical Judaism of all the religious sects. It is believed that they used a variety of chants and verbal formulas that were amazingly similar to chants and verbal formulas of neighboring pagan cultures. They had the gift of exorcism and they cast out demons “in the name of Yahweh” (Heb. “God”), or more commonly “in the Name of Yahweh, and the seal of Solomon.”
The Jewish people believed there were three unusually powerful demons, each known as chief or prince of devils. They were:
Jesus demonstrated He had superior power over all other powers, an act that, no doubt, that challenged the Hasidim. He demonstrated life over death, health over sickness, and peace over confusion and anarchy.
“Blind and unable to speak.” Jewish exorcists were able to deliver an oppressed person from demonic control by first requiring the demon to identify itself and then demanding the evil spirit to leave. However, if that person was unable to speak, they were unable to perform the exorcism. So the rabbis told the people that when the messiah comes, he will be able to perform this kind of deliverance. Therefore, this miraculous exorcism, known as a “messianic miracle,” proved that Jesus was indeed the messiah. For more information, see “messianic miracles” as well as “binding and loosening.” The audience was stunned, because in various Inter-Testamental writings, the advent of the Messiah meant that evil would be defeated.
“Could this be the Son of David?” They had just witnessed a messianic miracle. Therefore, they were asking if He could be the expected son of David, because if He was, then he would be their messiah. Jesus repeatedly demonstrated, as recorded by the gospel writers, that He was the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.
But they had a serious problem: As previously stated, their expectation of the coming Son of David was as a military victor who would lead them to political independence and economic prosperity, and establish an international superpower, as King David had done a thousand years earlier. This was the description they read in the Psalms of Solomon, a recent first century B.C. book. But when the people saw Jesus heal the demon-possessed man, they realized this was not anything King David had done. In fact, the terms Son of Man, or Bar Enosh in Aramaic, and Son of David became synonyms for Messiah by the first century. The expectations were that this “Son” would excel David’s triumphs. So they questioned if He really was from the house of David. It obviously was not the mission of Jesus at this time to rebuild the Davidic Empire, but to bring deliverance and salvation to every soul afflicted by sin and, thereby, usher in the Kingdom of God into their life.
But a few leading Pharisees (not the Hasidim) believed that, if this kind of a demon had been cast out of a person, this could have been done only by a more powerful demon. More specifically, it could only have been accomplished by Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Satan) who ordered one of his subjects out of this man. They concluded that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebub, and therefore, had to die. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, turned the issue around so they would have to realize that if He cast out the demon by the Spirit of God (and He did), then they had a problem of how to deal with the Kingdom of God which was now confronting them. But this conversation caused another problem: They either overlooked or refused to recognize how Jesus could have known their thoughts unless He was a prophet of God? Demons do not have this gift.
“Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” This phrase was well known and appears in the Testament of Solomon. Jewish writings had numerous references to Satan such as this one:
I am Beelzebul, the ruler of demons.
Testament of Solomon 3:6
Some believed that the Philistine god Beelzebul (2 Kg. 1:2-6), was the chief demon who lived in the Abyss located at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. His name meant Lord of the heavenly dwelling, or Lord of the royal palace, in the ancient Philistine law. However, by a slight alteration of letters, the Jews changed the name to mean the god of dung, or the god of flies. In Syria, it meant Lord of the manure pile. Word plays like this were common and it clearly reflects their offensive attitude toward their Gentile neighbors. Baal-Zubub was also a god of the Phoenicians that Jesus identified as Satan when He said, “If Satan drives out Satan” (Mt. 12:26; next section) Satan was believed to have his evil work accomplished by subordinate demons. The name Baal, in its various forms, appears 84 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. This indicates that there was a long historical encounter with this god in Jewish history.
Many rabbis believed that King Solomon prescribed the directives on how to perform an exorcism. In fact, Josephus quoted some of Solomon’s directives that were being used by Jewish exorcists of his time.
. Beelzebul is also known as Beelzebub, Baal-Zebul, Baal-Zubub, or Baal-Zebub.
. Bruce, New Testament History. 65-67.
. Safrai, “The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the Frist Century.” 180.
. See Ex. 7:22; 8:7; Mt. 24:24; Jn. 12:27; Ac. 19:13.
. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:114-16.
. The book of Tobit was written in the Inter-Testamental Period. Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of this book were found in 1952 among several Dead Sea Scrolls in Cave 4. See 02.02.03. It is in a class of books known as the Apocrypha.
. Research on the “Messianic Miracles” is credited to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a Messianic scholar and director of Ariel Ministries in San Antonio, TX, formerly of Tustin, CA. For more information, see http://ariel.org/. Retrieved September 26, 2013. See also 06.03.08.V (Video), 06.01.03 and the comparison of Dead Sea Scroll fragments 4Q278 and 4Q521 with Luke 4:16-30 at 06.02.02; See also Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Miracles. 4; Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 10, Session 2.
. For further study on binding and loosening see 08.06.03; 11.02.08; 10.01.29; 12.01.03; See also Foster and King, Binding and Loosening: Exercising Authority over Dark Powers.
. 1 Enoch 55:4; Jubilees 23:29; Testament of Simeon 6:6; Testament of Judah 25:3; Testament of Moses 10:1, and the Testament of Solomon 20:16-17.
. It must be noted that the Jewish people did not believe that their messiah was deity, therefore, in their thinking messiah is spelled with a lower case letter “m.” In terms of Jesus as Him functioning in His role, Messiah is spelled with an upper case letter “M.”
. The messianic title Son of David appears in the following three groups of passages in the gospels where it is always reflective of the Davidic Covenant: 1) In various healings by Jesus – Mt. 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; Mk. 10:47-48; Lk. 18:38-39. 2) In connection of the harassment the religious leaders gave Jesus – Mt. 22:42-43, 45; Mk. 12:35, 37; Lk. 20:41, 44, and 3) The praise the crowds gave Jesus at His entry into Jerusalem – Mt. 21:9, 15; Mk. 11:10. See Rogers, “The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels,” Bibliotheca Sacra. Part 1 of 2. 158-78.
. The phrase Son of Man in the Book of Enoch is a figure, who is waiting in heaven until God sends him to earth where he would establish his kingdom and rule over it. This book was common knowledge to the Jewish people, so when Jesus used the phrase about Himself, He was clearly claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah. See Bruce, New Testament History. 167; Tenney, The Gospel of John. 105.
. Wijngaards, Handbook to the Gospels. 44.
. Richardson, “David.” 59-60.
. Psalm of Solomon 17; ben Sirach 47:11; 1 Macc. 2:57; See also Farrar, The Life of Christ. 245-47.
. Quoted by Evans, “Exorcisms and the Kingdom.” 168 n38.
. A/k/a Baal-Zebul, Baal-Zubub, or Baal-Zebub.
. Or any sea, John. 2:2-3.
. Gilbrant, “Luke.” 353; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 140; Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:114-16; Geikie, The Life and Works of Christ. 2:141-43.
. Major, Manson, and Wright, The Mission and Message of Jesus. 64.
. Vine, “Baal, Master.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 1:12.
. Josephus, Antiquities 8.2.5; See also 09/01/05 and 10.01.06.
09.01.03 Mt. 12:25-28; Lk. 11:20; Mt. 12:29-32 (Mk 3:28-30)
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN
Mt. 25 Knowing their thoughts, He told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, who is it your sons drive them out by? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
Lk. 20 If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
Mt. 29 How can someone enter a strong man’s house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30 Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters.
31 Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come.
In this narrative Jesus identifies Beelzubel as Satan. This was common knowledge and is also found in the Jewish writings of Testament of Solomon 2.8-35 and 6.1-11. Therefore, Jesus did not introduce new knowledge into this discussion, but quickly got to the point of identifying Himself as the One who introduced the Kingdom of God to them by the performance of miracles. Therefore, it was the Kingdom of God and not Satan that performed the powerful miracle. Obviously, this idea was not accepted very well.
When the Jews accused Jesus of being demonically possessed, and that He performed miracles by the power of Beelzebub (Satan), they not only committed blasphemy but also the unpardonable sin. The leading Pharisees did not deny that Jesus performed mighty miracles; rather, they concluded that He was using demonic powers. Therefore, He offered them four proofs to verify that His identity was not of a demonic nature:
“If Satan drives out Satan.” Today there is a controversy by some theologians concerning the ability of non-Christians and non-Jews who performed exorcisms: How did they accomplish it without the power of Christ? Is it possible to cast out demons with an authority other than the power of Jesus? This is a theological issue that is beyond the scope of this writing. However, a brief response is that some non-believers think they have the power to cast out demonic forces. It has been suggested that in some cases, demons are not cast out, but they simply relocate or remain quiet, thereby giving the illusion of having been removed. Evil men giving the appearance of casting out demons will be among the “great signs and wonders” of Matthew 24:24. It is only by the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that one can effectively and permanently deal with demonic forces. On the other hand, at the three temptations, Jesus had victory over Satan by citing only Old Testament Scriptures. The question then is why were some Jewish exorcists not successful in casting out demons using only the name of God? The answer is unknown, but what is known is that some apparently were successful in performing exorcisms.
“Who is it your sons drive them out by?” This question clearly indicates that Jesus knew the Pharisees were successful in their exorcisms. Likewise, Luke gave them credit for successful exorcisms (Acts 19:13) as did other writers. The procedure was to:
However, the source of power the Jews used is questionable. Jesus suggests that it was by the power of Beelzebul. Satanic miracles and healings were possible and led many astray (Ex. 7:22; 8:7; Mt. 24:24). It should be noted that among the Jewish people, there were those who had a reputation of healing and casting out demons. Two examples are these: 
Jesus never denied that these men performed miracles; He did not even question their source of power. Jesus did, however, question the source of the power your sons, meaning, your students, of the Pharisees used. Amazingly, the Pharisees accused Jesus of performing exorcisms by using demonic powers. However, they believed that the ability to perform exorcisms was a gift of God – a direct violation of their accusations against Jesus.
“Finger of God.” The same phrase was used by Matthew in the parallel verse as “the Spirit of God” (cf. Mt. 12:28). Everyone was aware how weak a single finger (Gk. daktulos 1147)  is, and Luke used this figure of speech to demonstrate the incredible strength of God that is visible to man. He stated that God is so powerful that demons were expelled by His finger and, furthermore, the Kingdom of God was now in their presence meaning the Hebrew prophecies of the Messiah were being fulfilled in their presence.
However, there is another aspect to this passage. The fact that Jesus referred to the finger of God also is reflective of the hardness of heart the Pharaoh had at the time of the Exodus. The Jewish leaders would have clearly understood that Jesus was connecting the Pharaoh’s attitude with theirs. Little wonder then, that they grew increasingly angry at Him.
“Kingdom of God.” This phrase is synonymous with “Kingdom of Heaven,” and both terms have three elements of definition.
The phrase “Kingdom of God” had come into common usage in the two centuries preceding Jesus as is evident in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. However, the popular Jewish understanding of this kingdom was different from Jesus’ idea, as the people and their rabbis believed the following,
The “Kingdom of God” issue was the most important teaching of Jesus, with an emphasis much greater in the gospels than in the Old Testament, extra-biblical books, or in the balance of the New Testament. The kingdom is often the subject of parables because Jesus not only had to teach what the kingdom was about, but He also had to teach what it wasn’t. He had to change their concept of His kingdom because He certainly was not going to overthrow the Roman Empire at His first coming. This paradigmatic shift was accomplished, in part, by His demonstration of miracles, teaching, and explicit fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Add to the theological chaotic mix the ideas promoted by those with a nationalistic passion, and the challenges Jesus faced become clearer. The revolutionary Zealots followed the Maccabean tradition and believed that the kingdom would come through their heroic endeavors and military might. They expected God to fight for them as He did during the Maccabean Revolt. They believed at some point during this freedom fight against Rome, the messiah would appear and lead them to victory. On the other hand, there were the apocalyptists who believed the present age was about to end, they taught that the kingdom would come in accordance with God’s timing, and the Romans would be destroyed by thousands of angels and archangels (i.e. book of Enoch). The Pharisees, Essenes, and Apocalyptic writers held to this position. Ironically, they did not believe the kingdom would be won by human intervention, but by the son of man, that is, a “son of man” according to their definition of the phrase.
09.01.03.A. A PEACEFUL SEA OF GALILEE AT SUNSET. The natural lake was a major source for fish and fresh water throughout history. To ancient pagans it was also a mystical body of water because of the sudden storms. They believed that (1) only the gods could control the winds and waves, (2) that demons lived in its depths, and (3) the bottom of the lake was one of the three entrances to hell. Photograph by the author.
“How can someone enter a strong man’s house?” This phrase is problematic to today’s readers because it suggests that Jesus approves the entering of someone’s home for the purpose of theft. He specifically said that one must overcome and tie up the owner, meaning the strong man, and only then can the theft be successful as stated in the next sentence.
However, the context of this statement is that the owner, or “strong man,” is none other than Satan himself. All that the evil one has was stolen from others. Therefore, Jesus said that in spiritual warfare, one must “bind up” up Satan and then the stolen goods can be returned to their rightful owners.
At this point it is good to have a brief understanding of houses. They had essentially three areas, one of which was the bedroom where everyone slept on a mat, usually over a bed of hay. The husband/father of the family slept by the door, so if anyone entered, they would have to struggle with him first before doing any harm to the family. This is further explained by Majd Shufani in the video filmed at the reconstructed Nazareth Village (see 04.07.01.V1 and V2):
“Anyone who is not with Me is against Me.” With Jesus, there is no middle ground. One must decide whether to follow Him. In the mind of Jesus, either one is totally committed to Him, or one is against Him, but there is no room for indifference to His message. Here Jesus called upon His listeners to make a decision to be either for or against Him. Those who rejected Him and chose to side with the Pharisees eventually suffered horrible consequences. They never changed their minds as to where Jesus obtained His power to cast out demons. They believed He was demonically possessed and, therefore, they rejected of the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. They said Satan was responsible for the miracles performed by Jesus!
The English word blasphemy or blaspheme is from the Greek term blasphemia, meaning to insult. But it also suggests that the one who blasphemes has placed himself in the place of God and thereby, degrades Him. That includes insulting Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well. Hence, it is an incredibly serious charge.
“But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit.” The warning about speaking against the Holy Spirit is emphasized by the repeated theme in Matthew 12:32-33. Often the significance of an idea is repeated in poetic parallelism, but this case is an exeption. The example of one who blasphemed is the Egyptian Pharaoh who deliberately hardened his heart and would not listen to God (Ex. 8:19). He was eventually destroyed because of his continuous opposition to God. Those who blaspheme against God do what the Pharaoh did – continually harden their hearts against the voice of God, and the results do not change. Man makes the choices, but the consequences have been established by God from the foundations of the earth. Therefore, decisions determine destiny.
In the New Testament era, the term Holy Spirit, is derived from the Greek Paraclete, and Parakletos means someone who stands by to help. This is a classic example of where the passage must be understood in the Jewish cultural context, and not with a Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit (which is much broader).
Therefore, the reason Jesus was condemning the leading Pharisees and their co-conspirators, is that they clearly recognized and understood Him, His ministry, and His message. The Holy Spirit enlightened them, yet they rejected Him and the Kingdom of God.
As stated previously, the Pharisees willfully decided that Jesus was demonically possessed and, therefore, they rejected of the work of the Holy Spirit. That was their unpardonable sin. However, generally speaking, throughout history all men and women have spoken out against God at some point in their lives. Yet God, in His divine grace and mercy, is patient with His human subjects until repentance comes by the call of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who constantly reject that call and the day finally comes when God decides that they had sufficient opportunity to accept Jesus and that door of opportunity is closed. That final rejection is also known as the “unpardonable sin.” It is the sin of refusing the gift of salvation so frequently that it is no longer offered.
Sometimes people ponder if they are guilty of the unpardonable sin. The answer lies in the simple fact if there is a concern for having committed this sin, it is inherent proof that it was not committed. Once the Holy Spirit has been grieved numerous times and no longer invites one to salvation, all concern of committing sin is gone and the truly reprobate person feels no remorse. Those who desire forgiveness from God will always find it. However, for those who reject the final calling of the Holy Spirit to come to Christ, there will be no forgiveness. They are the ones who have no concern for any kind of sin and God, who is gracious, will give them what they want – a life of sin – but the final consequence will be theirs as well.
09.01.03.Q1 What was the significance of the Beelzebub discussion (Mt. 12:25-32)?
At this point the religious leaders clearly recognized that Jesus had supernatural powers, and they attributed His miracles to the demonic forces of Beelzebub – and that was the point of their official rejection of Jesus. It was the proverbial “line in the sand,” a turning point in His ministry of how He would respond to various individuals. The trials and crucifixion that came later would be the consequence of this rejection. Note the differences in the chart below.
Their accusation was clearly a rejection of their Messiah which was a major turning point in the ministry of Jesus. After this rejection He healed only individuals, not groups or multitudes, and only on the basis of faith. Furthermore, when He healed someone, if that person was a Jew He told him not to tell anyone, but if he was a Gentile this command was not given.
Before His Rejection After His Rejection
Persons & groups Only individuals
Not needed Required
Purpose of miracles (signs)
Reveal Jesus to Israel Train future apostles
To tell others of the Miracle
Go tell everyone Jews told not to tell anyone
Plain instruction Taught with parables
09.01.03.B CHART OF COMPARATIVE ACCEPTANCE – REJECTION ATTITUDES OF JEWISH LEADERSHIP TOWARD JESUS
It must be noted that if this eBook was written in a chronological order, it would be easier to discern the time of His rejection.
Finally, the matter of miracles in the name of Beelzebub, or Beelzebul, would come up again during the trials of Jesus. It was the most damning accusation they leveled at Jesus. Furthermore, witchcraft was not appreciated by the Romans any more than it was by the Jews. In fact, Emperor Tiberias had a hundred and thirty sorcerers and sorceresses executed in the years A.D. 16 and 17. That was about a decade before Jesus began His ministry. So the accusation of Jesus of being Beelzebub or using Beelzebub’s power was just as damaging politically as it was spiritually.
. Tobit 8:1-5; Josephus, War 7.6.3 (185) and Antiquities 8.2.5 (45-49; see quotation 09.01.05.X2).
. Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 9, Session 1.
. Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 121.
. Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 121.
. Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 121.
. Vine, “Finger.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:239.
. Gilbrant, “Luke.” 357.
. Evans, “Exorcisms and the Kingdom.” 171-73.
. Ladd, “Kingdom of God.” 9:1123-24.
. Quotations from the Apocrypha are from the New Revised Standard Version, Bruce M. Metzger, ed. Quotations from the Pseudepigrapha, James A. Charlesworth, ed.
. Saucy, “Miracles and Jesus Proclamation of the Kingdom of God.” 285.
. It appears that the term “Son of Man,” was believed to be a heavenly being of some kind, but not necessarily a being associated with Deity. Therefore, the phrase is not capitalized.
. See additional comments on 10.01.29 “Bind on earth … loose on earth” and 11.02.09 on “Binding and Loosing.”
. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 259.
. Barclay, A New Testament Wordbook. 51; See Appendix 26.
. Barclay, “Luke.” 162.
. Isa. 45:22; Mt. 11:28; Jn. 3:16.
. Jenney, “The Holy Spirit and Sanctification.” 413; Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 207.
. Adapted from Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 10, page 17.
. Adapted from Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 10, pages 16-17 and Class 12, page 8.
. Welch, “Miracles, Maleficium, and Maiestas in the Trial of Jesus.” 373. See also 16.01.05.
09.01.04 Mt. 12:33-37; Mk. 3:20-21
WORDS REFLECT THE HEART
Mt. 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. 35 A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. 36 I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Mk. 20 Then He went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. 21 When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, “He’s out of His mind.”
The condition of a person’s heart can be recognized by the words he speaks. That was clearly evident in this case and Jesus recognized it. The accusation of blasphemy arose by the Pharisees, and it consists of the following:
These three points were the accusations against Jesus. While the religious leaders were passing judgment on Jesus, in reality, judgment was passing on to them. The term can also mean reviling and evil-speaking in general (Mk. 7:22), but in the context of this passage it refers only to Deity.
“Every careless word they speak.” Jesus was speaking of the careless words spoken against God (and the Holy Spirit) as well as degrading words pointed to other people. The Hebrew word lashshaw means to uselessness or to no good purpose. This does not include common humor, unless that humor is intended to injure someone. To speak in this manner about another person is one matter, but to direct such comments toward God is a grave error although both are serious. In the Middle Eastern culture as well as the Bible, there is a huge emphasis on affirming the character of others, so degrading someone as in a character assassination, is a major issue of concern before God.
“He’s out of His mind.” Simply said, the blood relatives – His half-brothers and half-sisters – thought He was crazy; suffering from a mental illness of some kind.
. Archer, “Crimes and Punishment.” 1:1032.
. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:203.
. Archer, “Crimes and Punishment.” 1:1032; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 150.
09.01.05 Mt. 12:38-42; (See also Lk. 11:29-32)
THE SIGN OF JONAH; REFLECTIONS UPON KING MANASSEH AND KADESH-BARNEA
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
39 But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation; and look — something greater than Jonah is here! 42 The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look — something greater than Solomon is here!
It is interesting that Jesus made a reference to Jonah because this prophet was a weak, stubborn, and disobedient individual who experienced a profound theological and attitudinal adjustment. With a new God-given outlook on life, he completed the calling to bring repentance to the Assyrian royal court in Nineveh. Furthermore, Jonah is symbolic of the resurrection and his book sets forth the entire story of salvation because it prophetically foreshadows God’s relationship with man, from the first advent of Jesus to His return. That may be why he is the only prophet with whom Jesus directly compares Himself.
09.01.05.Q1 What was the sign of Jonah?
Jesus mentioned the sign of Jonah, but did not say what it was. He didn’t need to, because everyone understood what He was speaking about; it related to both time and resurrection. In fact, there are four features or aspects to the sign:
But the leading Pharisees demanded that “we want to see a sign from You.” According to the Jewish Bible, a sign is “an outward compelling proof of divine authority.” This was an incredible request since Jesus had already performed so many miracles, including the messianic miracles. However, by stating that they were a wicked and adulterous generation that was looking for a sign, He did not mean everyone. That statement was directed only to those who had seen Him perform signs and wonders and still refused to believe. Now they had the audacity to make this request. What would another miracle prove? It was a point of rejection.
The religious leaders represented “national Israel.” When they rejected Jesus, in effect, “national Israel” rejected Him, and in response Jesus was going to reject national Israel. As such, He began a new phase of His ministry focused solely on those who put their faith in Him. In addition to His instruction about the purpose of the Torah, as it is applied to life, Jesus performed three messianic miracles plus one.
However, in the course of time, the Sadducees and Pharisees responded by presenting three signs that they rejected the “sign of Jonah.”
Since Jonah is symbolic of a resurrected life, the rejection of the “sign of Jonah,” is therefore, the rejection of the message of salvation. That rejection of Jesus was a national decision and the nation would suffer the consequences of it. As previously stated, decisions determine destiny.
“An evil and adulterous generation.” The word adulterous (Gk. moichalis, 3428) means one who has unlawful intercourse with the spouse of another, which, in this case, also means apostate. Since God desires a close relationship with His people that is both a covenant and mirrors a marriage covenant, departure from faith and obedience is seen as adultery and apostasy.
In this passage, Jesus did not refer to the entire generation of all Jews, but only to the generation of religious leaders who were demanding that hardworking, honest Jewish people keep laws never endorsed by God. The Sadducees and the leading Pharisees had broken the covenant (marriage tie) between Jehovah God and His people. The term adultery was also frequently used by the prophets to describe the spiritual prostitution of Israel’s leaders. With this phrase, Jesus applied all the words of condemnation spoken by the prophets to the religious elite. They were fully aware of His power and did not need to see another sign, but needed to repent. They had become so arrogant, that, in their thinking, they could do no wrong if they followed their own moral religious code. However, God intended them to be a chosen people to serve Him, a mission in which they failed miserably. Both Jesus and Jonah were delivered from death. The reason why the men of Nineveh will someday stand in judgment against unrepentant Israel is because Nineveh repented, but national Israel did not.
The phrase greatly angered them because it connected them to horrific events in their history; several periods of cultural and spiritual decadence when their forefathers were an “evil and adulterous generation.” Two examples are:
Manasseh was one of the most wicked monarchs in Israel’s history, yet at the end of his life, he repented and returned to the Lord. However, the Jewish people at the time of Jesus considered the generation of this king as “a wicked and adulterous generation.” But the implications of the phrase did not end with Manasseh.
A Lesson in First Century Hermeneutics:
09.01.05.X1 Figures Of Speech. Figures of speech are not to be taken literally, but have a meaning that is culturally understood. The difficulty is, of course, that those who read figures of speech centuries later may not understand the meaning, or conclude the writer was in error. The assumption that figures of speech are to be interpreted literally has given fuel to critics, such as posed in the following question:
09.01.05.Q2 Is the phrase “three days and three nights” to be interpreted literally or is it a figure of speech (Mt. 12:40)? Likewise, was Jesus buried for three literal days and three literal nights (Mt. 27:57-28:6)?
This has been and continues to be a subject of debate among Christians. This question is an excellent example as to why it is important to understand the cultural issues of the first century Jewish people. The answer is “yes,” but only in Jewish thinking. The phrase “three days and three nights,” is not a literal phrase but a Hebraism for saying, “in three days…” The modern method of reckoning the time from Friday evening to Sunday is certainly not three days. The ancient Hebrews counted a part of a day as a whole. Therefore, any time before sunset was considered a day. A new day began at sunset, generally at 6:00 p.m., or when the first three stars were visible in the sky. Friday afternoon when Jesus died is counted as the first day, Saturday is the second until sunset, and Saturday night is the beginning of the third day. Time was reckoned likewise for Sunday morning, and hence, with Saturday, they counted three days.
For further detail, consider this: This phrase has been used by critics to illustrate errors in the Bible. However, an examination of the Hebraic use of the term clarifies the mystery. At issue is this phrase: “For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights.” While this passage is a reference to the time period that Jonah and Jesus would be entombed, Hebraic scholars say that the focus is not on the number of days in the entombment (Jon. 1:3, 17), but on the resurrection that followed. Below are four examples of the phrase “three days and three nights,” used as a figure of speech.
The emphasis should not be on the number three, but on the resurrection since that is the main point of the comparison. The problem arises when modern students read that Matthew also said that Jesus was raised to life “on the third day” (Mt. 16:21, 17:23, 20:19) and “after three days” (27:63). Furthermore, Matthew 12:39-40 stated that Jesus will rise after three days and three nights. It is difficult to believe that Matthew, who was at one time employed as a tax collector and skilled tax accountant, would make such an error in counting days and nights. As previously stated, the term “three days and three nights,” regardless of the “on,” “after,” or “and,” the term was an idiom for any time touching three days. Scholars today almost universally agree that the three day formula is a figure of speech that never intended to have any literal interpretation.
There is also another point to be considered: In the Jewish tradition, a day and a night was known as an Onah, and a full 24-hour Onah or part of an Onah was considered a whole unit. Likewise, parts of three days and three nights are treated as a whole, even if it was only 36 hours (the time from death to resurrection). In modern Western thinking, readers separate the day from the night and count them separately. But this was not so in biblical times.
Since the life and death of Jesus was reflected in Hebrew typology, His death occurred when lambs were slain on Friday in the temple and His resurrection when the high priest stood in the temple and waived the grain offering (of barley) before our Lord on Sunday morning declaring “Blessed are you O Lord, who brings forth the bread of life from the earth.” The time of the events strongly suggests that it was then that Jesus walked out of the tomb. The period of “three days and three nights” was understood to fit within these two sacrificial events in the temple.
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A Lesson in First Century Hermeneutics:
09.01.05.X2 Clarification Of Old Testament Passages
At times a New Testament passage brings clarification to a passage in the Old Testament. An example is this: “The men of Nineveh … the queen of the South.” When Jonah went to the Assyrian city to preach the message of repentance, the Gentile men of Nineveh recognized him as a prophet of God, accepted his message, and repented. Likewise, the Queen of Sheba, also a Gentile, recognized that the divine wisdom possessed by Solomon was of God.
Jesus was now before the Jewish leaders and the proud descendants of Abraham were assured of their religious knowledge, but failed to recognize Who was standing before them. Jesus, in essence, said that the Queen of the South traveled a great distance to hear Solomon but the Pharisees were not at all interested in hearing anything of the Kingdom of God. In the first century the Kingdom of Sheba no longer existed and, therefore, Jesus used the Hebrew word for “south” (teman). This word is the origin of the name of modern country of Yemen located in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Jesus continually interpreted and clarified Scripture. All sages and rabbis did this, and the student of biblical history must be aware of this hermeneutic. This method of first century clarification explains some of the so-called errors that critics identify in Scripture.
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“Something greater than Solomon is here.” A better translation is “One greater than Solomon is here,” because Jesus was referring to Himself. This was a profound statement. Solomon had immeasurable wisdom, power, and wealth, but what Jesus said of Himself surpassed that of the former king. The historical context of this passage is that first century Jews relied upon Solomon’s wisdom for the discernment needed concerning demons, as well as his power to cast them out. There is nothing in Scripture that indicates that Solomon ever cast out demons. However, since he was deemed to be the most brilliant man who ever lived, first century Jews believed that he knew how to cast out demons and had the power to do so. Whether Solomon was able to do that is not the issue, the issue is that the Jews believed that he had that power and ability. Jesus did not argue the point. He simply stated that Someone, meaning Himself, was present who was greater than Solomon.
It is quite significant that wisdom was not considered a miraculous sign. When Jesus was twelve years old He sat on the temple steps and dumbfounded the priests with His superior wisdom and knowledge, yet this was not considered a miracle. His first miracle occurred later when He turned the water into wine in Cana. He repeatedly awed the audience with His insights, knowledge, and wisdom, and at no time were any of these conversations considered miracles.
When the Pharisees requested a miraculous sign, they did not want to hear another comment about His wisdom. Every time they attempted to trap Him with a trick question, He turned their question around and made them look foolish. They wanted a “sign,” meaning a miracle such as a healing or exorcism, but not wisdom in insight. Therefore, most certainly one who had received such divine blessing of wisdom would know how to successfully cast out demons. Jesus had just healed a demon-possessed man (Mt. 12:22-30) and the conversation continued in that particular theme. Therefore, the discussion of One who is greater than Solomon is actually built upon the discussion of exorcism, and ancient writers preserved abundant clues to enhance modern understanding. Among these writers, Josephus not only preserved the extra-biblical evidence of historical exorcism, but also recorded that he personally witnessed a successful exorcism by one called Eleazar using the name of Solomon as his source of power. The historian’s understanding of Solomon explains why Eleazar and others called upon the name of Solomon for wisdom and power to cast out demons.
He also composed books of odes and songs – a thousand and five; of parables and similitudes – three thousand; for he spoke a parable upon every sort of tree from the hyssop to the cedar; and in like manner also about beasts, about all sorts of living creatures, whether upon the earth, or in the air; for he was not unacquainted with their natures, nor omitted inquiries about them, but described them all like a philosopher, and demonstrated he had exquisite knowledge of their several properties.
God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative (healing) to men. He composed such incarnations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms by which they drive away demons so that they never return and the method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of soldiers. The manner of cure was this: He put a ring that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he adjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incarnations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it and thereby let the spectators know that he had left the man. And when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown manifestly; for which reason it is, that all men may know that vastness of Solomon’s abilities and how he was beloved of God, and that extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun; for this reason, I say, it is that we proceed to speak so largely of these matters.
Josephus, Antiquities 8.2.5 (44-49)
However, what the first century exorcists did not realize is that, if Solomon did cast out demons, he truly would have had divine wisdom and would not have used first century rabbinic incantations and methods. Nonetheless, Josephus clearly believed that:
His wide range of wisdom and expertise was connected with every known science and philosophy by the second century B.C. Furthermore, Josephus linked the creation of effective casting rituals and incarnations to Solomon. The historian did not believe this activity was a form of mythology, but a serious event in one’s life.
The unknown author of the extra-biblical book titled, Wisdom of Solomon, also described the reflections and a functional knowledge of Solomon’s wisdom. This book, written in the first century B.C., reveals the popularity of Solomon as related to the exorcisms of demonic spirits in chapter 8. In the passage below, note the phrase in Hebraic poetry “the violent force of spirits,” and that it is associated with the “reasoning of men.”  This book is in a class of writings that comprise the Apocrypha, and was written in the first person.
For both we and our words are in his hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts. For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists,
To know the structure of the world
and the activity of the elements;
The beginning and end
and middle of times,
The alterations of the solstices
and the changes of the seasons,
The cycles of the year
and the constellations of the stars,
That natures of animals
and the tempers of wild beasts,
The powers of spirits
and reasonings of men,
The varieties of plants
and the virtues of roots;
I learned both what is secret
and that is manifest,
For wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
Wisdom of Solomon, 8:17-22
When reading the Wisdom of Solomon, the reader may conclude that the author enhanced the image of the ancient king. Yet, Scripture precisely indicates that King Solomon was, in fact, the wisest man upon the earth and no other would ever be like him (1 Kg. 3:12). Therefore, is it possible that modern scholars have failed to consider that Solomon may have had the knowledge to expel demons? There is a growing body of scholars who, after reading ancient documents, believe that Solomon was frequently referred to as a powerful authority in exorcisms and incantations. It has been suggested that the writer of the Wisdom of Solomon exaggerated the activities of famous king, but many Jews of the first century fully believed this book to be historically accurate.
Another source is the Testament of Solomon which is in a class of books known as the Pseudepigrapha and was written sometime between the first and third centuries A.D. It is literary evidence of how much Greek paganism influenced Judaism. While this book is of late date, it reflects the thinking common during the life of Christ as well as that of the Essene community, as noted in their Dead Sea Scrolls. The Testament is a folktale about Solomon’s building activity concerning the temple, as well as ancient lore concerning magic, demonology, and primitive medicine. Below is a quotation concerning exorcism. It is noteworthy that the source of spiritual power and authority is God followed by the secondary source, Solomon. When Jesus said He was greater than Solomon, He was placing Himself equal with God.
Testament of Solomon, Son of David, who reigned in Jerusalem and subdued all the spirits (demons) of the air, of the earth, and under the earth; through them he also accomplished all the magnificent works of the temple; what their authorities are against men, and by what angels these demons are thwarted.
Blessed are you, Lord God, who has given this authority to Solomon. Glory and power to you forever. . .
Testament of Solomon, Prologue
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, powers to manipulate demonic spirits and create spells are first credited to God, then to Solomon. This priority of authorized power and authority (i.e., God first) is also found in a magical papyrus document dated between second century B.C. and A.D. 70. It is similar to the portion of a much later date found in the Apocryphal Psalms. Note the following reading:
Of David. Concerning the words of the spell in the name of YHWH…of Solomon, and he will invoke the name of YHWH to set him free from every affliction of the spirits, of the devils, Liliths, owls and jackals. These are the devils, and the pri[nce of enm]ity is Belial, who rules over the abyss. [Text missing] to [text missing] and to magnify the God of wonders [text missing] … the sons of his people have completed the cure, … [those who]… have relied on your name. Invoke … guarding of Israel. Lean on YHWH, the God of gods, he who made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, who separated light from darkness….
Dead Sea Scroll, Apocryphal Psalm of Exorcism (11Q11[11QPsApa]), 2:2-12
09.01.05.A. THE ANCIENT SEAL OF SOLOMON CARVED IN STONE. RIGHT: The Seal of Solomon (early 4th century A.D.) is an encircled 5-pointed star, like this one at Capernaum. It is believed by some scholars to have originated in Greek art and became known as the Star of Solomon. Photograph by the author.
This is clear evidence that exorcism was common in the days of Jesus, and the spiritual power was attributed to YHWH (God) and the ancient king. Now Jesus stood before them and boldly stated that, “Something (or One) greater than Solomon is here.” This had a profound effect as He had cast out demons without any special incantations, root or herbal remedies, or references to Solomon, but simply by the authority of His spoken word. Therefore, Jesus demonstrated that He was greater than Solomon.
. See the use of this figure of speech in 09.01.05.Q2 below.
. Garr, Restoring Our Lost Legacy. 59-60.
. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 224-25; Ex. 4:8-9; Deut. 13:1; Isa. 7:10-17, 38:7.
. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 208-10.
. For more information on the messianic miracles, see 06.03.08.Q2.
. Vine, “Adulterer (-ess), Adulterous, Adultery.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:14.
. Barclay, “Matthew.” 2:49.
. cf. Isa 57:3ff; 62:5; Ezek. 23:27; James 4:4; Isa. 50:1; 57:3; Jer. 3:8; 13:27; 31:32; Ezek. 16:15, 32, 35-42; Hos 2:1-7, 3:1, et. al.
. Carson, “Matthew.” 8:297.
. Bivin, “How Long was Jesus in the Tomb?” Yavo Digest. 2:4, 1, 3.
. Typical Old Testament references include passages such as Isaiah 53. However, for an interesting study on ten examples of resurrection typology, including third day typology in the book of Genesis, see Nicholas P. Lunn, “’Raised on the Third Day According to the Scriptures’: Resurrection Typology in the Genesis Creation Narrative.” 523-35.
. Pickup, “’On the Third Day’: The Time Frame of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.” 514 n14.
. Lunn, “Raised on the Third Day According to the Scriptures.” 526.
. Jeffrey, Unveiling Mysteries of the Bible. 181-84.
. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 25, page 21.
. Pickup. “‘On the Third Day’: The Time Frame of Jesus’ Death and resurrection.” 514.
. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 2:210.
. See also 17.02.02.Q8.
. Typical Old Testament references include passages such as Isaiah 53. However, for an interesting study on ten examples of resurrection typology in the book of Genesis, see Nicholas P. Lunn, “’Raised on the Third Day According to the Scriptures’: Resurrection Typology in the Genesis Creation Narrative.” 523-35.
. Garr, Restoring Our Lost Legacy. 145.
. 1 Kg. 10:1-13 = 2 Chron. 9:1-12; Josephus, Antiquities 8.6.5-6 (165-175); Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 260-61.
. Bivin, “The Queen of Teman.” Yavo Digest. 2:3, 19.
. Perkins, “Greater than Solomon.” 207-17.
. The Wisdom of Solomon was written in the first century B.C. See Appendix 22 for more information on “Major Prophecies Of The Last Days And The Second Coming Of Jesus.”
 See 02.02.01.V for more information on this subject.
. The reader is reminded that quotations from non-biblical sources are not to be understood as being of equal authority with the biblical narratives. See 01.02.04 and 02.02.01.V.
. Cited by Metzger, The Apocrypha of the Old Testament. 110. The Wisdom of Solomon belongs to a classification of extra-biblical books known as the Apocrypha. See 02.02.03 “Apocrypha;” 08.04.07.Q2 “Why did Jesus teach with parables?” and “Apocalyptic Literature” in Appendix 26 for more information.
. Perkins, “Greater than Solomon.” 211.
. Cited by Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 1:960.
 See 02.02.01.V for more information on this subject. THe book of Tobit illustrates how Jewish people in the Inter-Testamental Period understood demons, the importance of prayer, fasting, and giving alms. This is especially important relative to Matthew 6.
. 2:2-12 = Column 2, lines 2-12; Martinez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated. 376.
. Today, some have claimed that the 5-pointed star originated with the occult and other pagan religions. However, it is because Solomon was said to have had mystical powers, that his symbol was eventually used in cultic rituals. Other scholars say that the Seal of Solomon, like the 6-pointed Star of David, did not originate in the first century, but were developed in later centuries.
. Neither Solomon nor Moses left any writings on how to deal with demonically possessed individuals. Beliefs and superstitions related to Solomon appear to have originated with Inter-Testamental rabbis, not the famous king.
09.01.06 Mt. 12:43-45; Lk. 11:27-28
NEED FOR MORAL REFORM
Mt. 43 “When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it roams through waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. 44 Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ And returning, it finds the house vacant, swept, and put in order. 45 Then off it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that man’s last condition is worse than the first. That’s how it will also be with this evil generation.”
Lk. 27 As He was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “The womb that bore You and the one who nursed You are blessed!”
28 He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”
In this narrative Jesus spoke with dual imagery. While a literal reading of “a man” is correct, there is also the national imagery where the “house” is Israel. The Jewish people were removed from their land because they had failed to observe the Sabbath (2 Chron. 36:21), which is why the religious leaders were so incredibly adamant about observing the Sabbath. They did not want to be removed from their land again. Many scholars have also noted that when they returned from Babylon, there were no idols among them. The exile experience not only removed their interest in idols, but they also observed the Sabbaths.
However, with the advent of the Greeks and advancing Hellenism, paganism without idols entered the land. This was especially true under the reign of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Idols and all other evidence of idolatries were removed from the Holy City after the Maccabean Revolt, but the countryside was not cleansed very well. And while Jerusalem itself remained free of spiritual pollution, even from the time of Jesus, archaeologists have uncovered various idols outside the city walls, such as a statue of Asclepius found by the Pool of Bethesda (see 07.01.04). Many commentators have said that when the Jews returned from Babylon, they no longer served idols. That is true for orthodox Jews, but there were many aristocrats and Hellenized Jews who enjoyed the Greek culture. Herod the Great promoted his statues of the Roman gods and all forms of Hellenism. Add to the spiritual mix, the legalism of the religious leaders, and one can recognize the theological chaos that existed. A growing number of scholars now believe that Gentiles, living in and around Jerusalem, had idols in their homes. This would be expected since Jerusalem was a cosmopolitan city where many foreign merchants and businessmen resided.
“Seven other spirits.” In all probability Jesus did not mean seven literal spirits. The number seven had a meaning of “perfection” and “completeness” in issues that related to both God and Satan throughout all ancient Near Eastern cultures. God gives perfect and complete peace, comfort, and joy while Satan gives perfect and complete deception and death. Those involved in demonic worship also use the phrase. For example, in Calcutta, India, is the statue of Kali that depicts the goddess of death who has seven arms and with each hand she is holding a human head. Worshipers of this goddess beg with utter fear for mercy from death. Jesus probably referred to seven spirits because of the complete control they had over this man, which would have been a worse situation than he previously had experienced.
“This evil generation.” The generation that rejected Jesus was given forty years to repent. They not only refused, but instead, they persecuted the church. Consequently, forty years later Jerusalem, the Sadducees, and the temple were destroyed.
. Idols are not mentioned in the gospels because these statues to pagan deities were not permitted within Jewish communities. They were, however, prominent in Gentile communities within the Jewish regions and are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. Vine, “Idols.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:317.
. See 03.04.17-21.
09.01.07 Mt. 12:46-50 (See also Mk. 3:31-35; Lk. 8:19-21)
JESUS TELLS TRUE KINSHIP
46 He was still speaking to the crowds when suddenly His mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.”
48 But He replied to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, that person is My brother and sister and mother.”
“Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” This statement would almost imply that Jesus spitefully broke the commandments concerning compassion and honor due His parents, not to mention His apparent loss of respect for His half-brothers. Nevertheless, such was not the case; He was very respectful. He was not speaking of His earthly family but of the larger family of God. He identified Himself with His “family of believers;” those who do the will of His Father in heaven are His “mother and brothers.” This eliminates those who say they are believers but their lives do not reflect any desire to live according to biblical principles.
. Concerning the number of brothers and sisters Jesus had, see 10.01.02, “and the brother of James, Joses…”
Turning Point Of The Ministry Of Jesus
Jesus Announces Woes; Leaders Attempt Entrapment
09.02.00.A. JESUS DISCUSSES THE LAW WITH THE PHARISEES. Artwork by William Hole of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art, 1876. Jesus challenges the religious leaders on the issues of their Oral Law and their hypocrisy. Such discourses were usually in a public forum, which added to the humiliation of the leaders.