In the Fulness of Time/Part 80

By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2007
In previous articles, we discussed Matthew 12:1-13 which concerned Jewish Opposition Concerning the Sabbath. We continue with 12:14-37 in which they oppose Him Concerning the Holy Spirit.

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Opposition Concerning the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:14-37

The Prophecy: The Holy Spirit will be Upon Him. Matthew 12: 14-21

The Official Council against Christ: Its Conclusion. Matthew 12:14

Mt. 12:14 “Then the Pharisees went out and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”The record in Mark 3:6 adds the Herodians to the council along with the Pharisees. Ordinarily these two groups were at opposite poles religiously and politically, since the Herodians were favorable to the Roman government of Herod Antipas. The aorist, sumboulon elabon, “held a council,” means that they had already come to a conclusion and decided to destroy Christ. As someone has said, ironically, it was unlawful to heal on their Sabbath, but for them to plot a murder was perfectly lawful!

The Physical Cures by Christ and His Charge. Matthew 12:15-16

Mt. 12:15-16 “But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from there; and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all, And charged them that they should not make him known.”

On other occasions Jesus withdrew Himself. In Luke 3:29-30 the Jews were “filled with wrath” and wanted to cast Him over a cliff, “But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.” In John 8:59, “Then they took up stones to cast at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” In John 10:39, “they sought again to take him; but he escaped out of their hands.” One of the basic reasons which prompted Him to do this was stated in this way: “Then they sought to take him, but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (John 7:30). So, here in Matthew 12 it is evident that His task was not yet completed; when Jesus “knew” (gnous) that the conspiracy to destroy Him was decided, He avoided being taken by withdrawing to another place. He cured all those in that great multitude who needed healing; His motive in the charge not to make Him known was no doubt related to the threat to destroy Him.

The Prophetic Claim about Christ and its Clarification. Matthew 12:17-21

Mt. 12:17-21 “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying, Behold, my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased; I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall show justice to the Gentiles. He shall not strive nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth justice unto victory, And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”The connection of 12:17-21 with the previous verses is obvious; the events following the council to destroy Jesus happened that Isaiah 42:1 and following might be fulfilled. Matthew’s modified quotation emphasizes rather than detracts from the messianic fulfillment. It is clear from the Servant passage in Isaiah 49:1-6 that the Servant is not Israel, nor Jacob, but One Who will raise up Jacob and restore Israel. It is also certain that both Servant prophecies include an immediate ministry to Gentiles as well as a final reaching of all nations of the earth (Cf. Isa. 42:4; 49:6). Indeed, this may well be the reason why Matthew does not include the first part of Isaiah 42:4 since it was not fulfilled at the first advent of Christ, but will be fulfilled at His return to the earth. Note, however, that He did minister to the Gentiles in connection with the events of Matthew 12:14-21.

The first things mentioned as the Person and power of Messiah as fulfilled in Christ; He is the Servant, the Chosen One of God: “Took upon him the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7); Who “came not to be ministered unto but to minister to” (Matt. 20:28). He is the “Beloved” in Whom God’s “soul is well pleased” (Matt. 3:17; 17:5). To accomplish this, Jehovah says: “I will put my Spirit upon him” (Matt. 3:16, “And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him”). From the birth of Christ in 1:18, through His baptism in 3:16, His temptation in 4:1, His miracles in 12:28, and even His death (Heb. 9:14) and resurrection (Rom. 8:11), the Holy Spirit ministered to and through Christ.

Parallels can be traced between Isaiah 42:1-4 and Matthew 12:14-21:

Matthew 12:14-15: Opposition and withdrawal to the Gentiles; 12:18b: “He shall show justice to the Gentiles.” When Mark 3:8 enumerates the people who followed Him at that time, it included multitudes from Idumea, Tyre, and Sidon, three Gentile areas.

Matthew 12:15b-16: Healing and the charge not to make Him known; compare 12:19-20 where He deliberately kept away from conflict in the streets with His enemies, and He graciously and tenderly healed all who were weak and needy. At the same time He presented the need for righteousness in truth. Not only will Jews trust in Him; “in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (12:20).

The complete fulfillment of Isaiah 42:4 will come “in the fulness of time” when He “shall have set justice in the earth” when Jehovah’s desire of Isaiah 49:6 is fulfilled: “That thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

Read Part 81

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