Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“III. Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee, 4:12-13:52” pp. 79-363.
Due to the length of this portion, we will divide notes roughly by biblical chapter.
“Matthew 12” pp. 298-332.
“In this chapter [Matthew 12] Matthew has gathered a number of incidents that enable the reader to see the kind of opposition that was aroused [against Jesus] and something of the reason for that opposition” (Morris 1992, 298). In the start of the chapter, Jesus’ attitude about the Sabbath is unlike that of the establishment. Jesus viewed the Sabbath as a day for doing good, which is exactly what he does (Morris 1992, 300). Jesus’ comparison to David indicates that Jesus is claiming to be greater than David (Morris 1992, 302). The entire work of mercy which comes through Jesus is that which is of value before God (Morris 1992, 304). Jesus therefore shows what the Sabbath is about, in showing mercy. Jesus’ illustration leads to a general conclusion that it is always appropriate to do good (307).
Matthew’s emphasis in 12:15-21 is that Jesus is committed to avoiding retaliation (Morris 1992, 308). This, says Morris, runs counter to the common expectation of the Messiah (Morris 1992, 309).
Jesus’ healing of a man with a demon in 12:22-37 shows that the Pharisees are determined to contradict him regardless of what he does (Morris 1992, 313). The healing itself does not seem to be of as much concern to Matthew as the controversy which erupted. “The crowds” were amazed. This is the only place Matthew suggests this idea (Morris 1992, 314). If Jesus casts out demons by demonic power so does everyone else. The idea is ridiculous (Morris 1992, 316). As Jesus goes on to speak of sin and forgiveness, Morris affirms that the person who cannot be forgiven is the one who persistently continues in evil and asserts it to be good. This is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Morris 1992, 318). The theme of speech reflecting our deepest desires is clear as we bring out our treasure from our heart (Morris 1992, 321).
In verses 38-42, as the scribes ask for a sign, Jesus refuses, likely because of their desire to test him (Morris 1992, 323). Jesus identifies the questioners as “evil” and “adulterous” possibly because of their trust in a sign rather than in God (Morris 1992, 325). The repentance of people long ago is what will condemn modern people who do not repent (Morris 1992, 326). In 12:43-45 Jesus briefly shows that moral reformation and absence of evil is not adequate, but that one must be filled with positive good (Morris 1992, 329). It will be worse for those who rejected Jesus.
The chapter closes with Jesus’ reminder that loyalty to God is more important even than loyalty to family (Morris 1992, 330).