January 18

Matthew 12:22-50


The Pharisees heard the crowd refer to Jesus as the Son of David, another term for the Messiah. Hearing the people believe in Jesus, the Pharisees say that Jesus could only cast out a demon because He did so with the power of the ruler of the demons. 


Jesus did not hear the Pharisees talk, but He knew their thoughts by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave Jesus a word of knowledge. He spoke to them, telling them that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. It didn’t make any sense that Jesus would be working with a devil to cast out a devil. 


For more information on the unpardonable sin, go to growchurches.com and read my article “What Does It Mean to Blaspheme the Holy Spirit?” Find it under Bible Answers in the Faith Downloads under Resources. 


In verses 33-37, Jesus teaches that the words a person speaks will reveal the nature of the heart. Similar to the way an apple will reveal the nature of an apple tree, our words show our heart. Our words will either justify or condemn us. 


In verses 38-42, the Scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign, or proof, that He is the Messiah. Jesus answered that Jonah was their sign. He prophesied His own death and resurrection by comparing it to Jonah’s three days and nights in the belly of the big fish. Even Jonah’s experience was a foretelling of Christ. 


In verses 43-45 we see the need for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. A Christian cannot be possessed by a devil and the Spirit of God. 


In verses 46-50, Jesus does not disclaim his family, but He states that those who are surrendered and obedient to the Father are all brothers and sisters. There is a spiritual family, a bond, that takes place in the hearts of men and women. 


Genesis 43-45


Jacob (Israel) had determined not to return to Egypt, fearing for loss of life, grieving the loss from the imprisoning Simeon. However, they ran out of grain and had no other option except to return to Egypt to get more food. The brothers recall Joseph’s demands to bring their younger brother. Jacob asked why they would even mention Benjamin. We read that Joseph specifically asked if their father was still alive and if they had another brother, obviously, asking about his own father, Jacob, and his own brother, Benjamin. Jacob reluctantly lets the brothers return with Benjamin, a gift, and double the money to make up for the money returned in their sacks. Jacob had not other choice – if they didn’t get food, they would starve.


Joseph saw the brothers return with Benjamin. He ordered the steward of his house to bring the men into his personal home. They told their story, and they bowed down to Joseph again, as in the second dream of Joseph. It had been some time, so Joseph asked them if the father was still alive. Then he saw Benjamin, his full brother through Rachel and Jacob, and he had to leave to compose himself, overcome with emotion. He was able to come back to share a meal with the brothers. The brothers did wonder if something was happening, noticing that he sat them by their birth order. 


Joseph was still hiding his identity, allowing the men to leave, but had his servant put his silver cup and money in Benjamin’s sack of grain. It seems Joseph wanted to maintain the upper hand with his brothers, not wanting to completely let them go. Then Joseph sends after the men, pretending to find the cup as if it was stolen. Of course, it was found in Benjamin’s sack, an attempt for Joseph to keep his brother near him. Perhaps Joseph feared if he revealed his identity that the brothers would not reunite Joseph with his father to cover their previous wrong. 


Judah pleads with Joseph for Benjamin’s life, stating the Jacob’s life is bound up in the life of Benjamin. If the son did not return, Jacob would die. In chapter 45, Joseph could not restrain himself any longer. This was emotional for Joseph. He sent everyone out so he could be alone with the Hebrew brothers. He cried loudly. Others in the house could hear his cries. Then Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers. 


Joseph tells his brothers that he was sent there by God to preserve life. He does not blame them, not wanting them to continue to keep distance. Instead, he asks them to hurry and get Jacob. He invites them to live in Goshen. He makes sure they are not only provided for, but that they also have the best Egypt as to offer. 


God took what was meant for evil and turned it for His good! Let’s trust Him. 


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