Sermon / Confronting Jesus~ Round 3 / Mathew 12:38-50

Matthew 12 is all about conflict. And in Matthew 12:38-50, we come to the final confrontation of the chapter. You could think about this section as the final battle of an epic confrontation trilogy. 

In the first confrontation, we saw the Pharisees attack Jesus directly with false accusations of breaking the law. 

In the second confrontation, we saw the Pharisees attack Jesus indirectly through slander and a smear campaign. 

Here in the third confrontation, we the Pharisees attack Jesus in a passive-aggressive way by pretending to respect him and only making a few “reasonable” demands of him.  

In this passage, we learn that often times the demands we make are not actual requests…they can be excuses or accusations. 

Join us today as we look at two key truths from this passage: 

  1. The Demands they make…the signs they get.
  2. The Danger they are in…the Spirit they need.

In today’s passage, Jesus contrasts his ministry with the ministry of Jonah. In studying this week, I found this quote from the 4th-century Greek preacher John Chrysostom quite moving. He is speaking from the perspective of Jesus, trying to get them to appreciate that One greater than Jonah is here… 

(I am not sure if I will be able to work it into the sermon, so consider this part of the director’s cut.) 

For Jonah was a servant, but I am the Master, and he came forth from the great fish, but I rose from death.

He proclaimed destruction, but I am come preaching the good tidings of the kingdom.

The Ninevites indeed believed without a sign, but I have exhibited many signs.

They heard nothing more than those words, but I have made it impossible to deny the truth.

The Ninevites came to be ministered to, but I, the very Master and Lord of all, have come not threatening, not demanding an account, but bringing pardon.

They were barbarians, but these—the faithful—have conversed with unnumbered prophets.

And of Jonah nothing had been prophesied in advance, but of me everything was foretold, and all the facts have agreed with their words. And Jonah indeed, when he was to go forth, instead ran away that he might not be ridiculed. But I, knowing that I am both to be crucified and mocked, have come nonetheless.

For one greater than Jonah is here!

Leave a Comment