Matthew 12 Common English Bible (CEB)
Working on the Sabbath
12 At that time Jesus went through the wheat fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry so they were picking heads of wheat and eating them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are breaking the Sabbath law.”
3 But he said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those with him were hungry? 4 He went into God’s house and broke the law by eating the bread of the presence, which only the priests were allowed to eat. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple treat the Sabbath as any other day and are still innocent? 6 But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what this means, I want mercy and not sacrifice,[a] you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent. 8 The Human One[b] is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Healing on the Sabbath
9 Jesus left that place and went into their synagogue. 10 A man with a withered hand was there. Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they asked, “Does the Law allow a person to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 Jesus replied, “Who among you has a sheep that falls into a pit on the Sabbath and will not take hold of it and pull it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! So the Law allows a person to do what is good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did and it was made healthy, just like the other one. 14 The Pharisees went out and met in order to find a way to destroy Jesus.
Healing the crowd
15 Jesus knew what they intended to do, so he went away from there. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them all. 16 But he ordered them not to spread the word about him, 17 so that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:
18 Look, my Servant whom I chose,
22 They brought to Jesus a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak. Jesus healed him so that he could both speak and see. 23 All the crowds were amazed and said, “This man couldn’t be the Son of David, could he?”
24 When the Pharisees heard, they said, “This man throws out demons only by the authority of Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”
25 Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he replied, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland. Every city or house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 26 If Satan throws out Satan, he is at war with himself. How then can his kingdom endure? 27 And if I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul, then by whose authority do your followers throw them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 28 But if I throw out demons by the power of God’s Spirit, then God’s kingdom has already overtaken you. 29 Can people go into a house that belongs to a strong man and steal his possessions, unless they first tie up the strong man? Then they can rob his house. 30 Whoever isn’t with me is against me, and whoever doesn’t gather with me scatters.
Insulting the Holy Spirit
31 “Therefore, I tell you that people will be forgiven for every sin and insult to God. But insulting the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Human One[d] will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven, not in this age or in the age that is coming.
Trees and fruits
33 “Either consider the tree good and its fruit good, or consider the tree rotten and its fruit rotten. A tree is known by its fruit. 34 Children of snakes! How can you speak good things while you are evil? What fills the heart comes out of the mouth. 35 Good people bring out good things from their good treasure. But evil people bring out evil things from their evil treasure. 36 I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for every useless word they speak. 37 By your words you will be either judged innocent or condemned as guilty.”
Request for a sign
38 At that time some of the legal experts and the Pharisees requested of Jesus, “Teacher, we would like to see a sign from you.”
39 But he replied, “An evil and unfaithful generation searches for a sign, but it won’t receive any sign except Jonah’s sign. 40 Just as Jonah was in the whale’s belly for three days and three nights,[e] so the Human One[f] will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The citizens of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it as guilty, because they changed their hearts and lives in response to Jonah’s preaching. And look, someone greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will be raised up by God at the judgment with this generation and condemn it because she came from a distant land to hear Solomon’s wisdom. And look, someone greater than Solomon is here.
Unclean spirit seeking a home
43 “When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find any. 44 Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the place vacant, cleaned up, and decorated. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning. This is the way it will be also for this evil generation.”
46 While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers stood outside trying to speak with him. 47 Someone said to him, “Look, your mother and brothers are outside wanting to speak with you.”
48 Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 He stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. 50 Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.”
Matthew 12 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.
30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone 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 age to come.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Sign of Jonah
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”