1At that particular time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. 2But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” 3He said to them, “Have you not read [in the Scriptures] what David did when he was hungry, he and those who accompanied him— 4how he went into the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests only? 5Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break [the sanctity of] the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7And if you had only known what this statement means, ‘I desire compassion [for those in distress], and not [animal] sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
Lord of the Sabbath
8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9Leaving there, He went into their synagogue. 10A man was there whose hand was withered. And they asked Jesus, “Is it lawful and permissible to heal on the Sabbath?”—they asked this so that they might accuse Him and bring charges into court. 11But He said to them, “What man is there among you who, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and permissible to do good on the Sabbath.” 13Then He said to the man, “Reach out your hand!” The man reached out and it was restored, as normal and healthy as the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, discussing how they could destroy Him.
15Being aware of this, Jesus left there. Many followed Him, and He healed all of them [who were sick], 16and warned them not to tell [publicly] who He was. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18“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 will proclaim justice to the nations.
19He will not quarrel, nor cry out loudly;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20A battered reed He will not break,
And a smoldering wick He will not extinguish,
Until He leads justice to victory.
21And in His name the Gentiles (all the nations of the world) will hope [with confidence].”
The Pharisees Rebuked
22Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man both spoke and saw. 23All the people wondered in amazement, and said, “Could this be the Son of David (the Messiah)?” 24But the Pharisees heard it and said, “This man casts out demons only by [the help of] Beelzebul (Satan) the prince of the demons.”
25Knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom that is divided against itself is being laid waste; and no city or house divided against itself will [continue to] stand. 26If Satan casts out Satan [that is, his demons], he has become divided against himself and disunited; how then will his kingdom stand? 27If I cast out the demons by [the help of] Beelzebul (Satan), by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you [before you expected it]. 29Or how can anyone go into a strong man’s house and steal his property unless he first overpowers and ties up the strong man? Then he will ransack and rob his house.
The Unpardonable Sin
30He who is not with Me [once and for all on My side] is against Me; and he who does not [unequivocally] gather with Me scatters.
31“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy [every evil, abusive, injurious speaking, or indignity against sacred things] will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit [by attributing the miracles done by Me to Satan] will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Words Reveal Character
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is recognized and judged by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35The good man, from his [inner] good treasure, brings out good things; and the evil man, from his [inner] evil treasure, brings out evil things. 36But I tell you, on the day of judgment people will have to give an accounting for every careless or useless word they speak. 37For by your words [reflecting your spiritual condition] you will be justified and acquitted of the guilt of sin; and by your words [rejecting Me] you will be condemned and sentenced.”
The Desire for Signs
38Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign (attesting miracle) from You [proving that You are what You claim to be].” 39But He replied and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation [that is morally unfaithful to God] craves and demands a [miraculous] sign; but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah; 40for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh will stand up [as witnesses] at the judgment against this generation, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now, something greater than Jonah is here. 42The Queen of the South (Sheba) will stand up [as a witness] at the judgment against this generation, and will condemn it because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon; and now, something greater than Solomon is here.
43“Now when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through waterless (dry, arid) places in search of rest, but it does not find it. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So will it also be with this wicked generation.”
46While He was still talking to the crowds, it happened that His mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to Him. 47Someone said to Him, “Look! Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside asking to speak to You.” 48But Jesus replied to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49And stretching out His hand toward His disciples [and all His other followers], He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven [by believing in Me, and following Me] is My brother and sister and mother.”