Matthew 12 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Jesus Is Lord Over the Sabbath Day
12 About that same time, Jesus was walking through the fields of grain on a Sabbath day. His followers were with him, and they were hungry. So they began to pick the grain and eat it. 2 The Pharisees saw this. They said to Jesus, “Look! Your followers are doing something that is against the law to do on the Sabbath day.”
3 Jesus said to them, “You have read what David did when he and those with him were hungry. 4 David went into God’s house. He and those with him ate the bread that was offered to God. It was against the law for David or those with him to eat that bread. Only the priests were allowed to eat it. 5 And you have read in the Law of Moses that on every Sabbath day the priests at the Temple break the law about the Sabbath day. But they are not wrong for doing that. 6 I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the Temple. 7 The Scriptures say, ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’[a] You don’t really know what that means. If you understood it, you would not judge those who have done nothing wrong.
8 “The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath day.”
Jesus Heals a Man on the Sabbath Day
9 Jesus went from there to their synagogue. 10 In the synagogue there was a man with a crippled hand. Some Jews there were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus of doing wrong. So they asked him, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath day?”[b]
11 Jesus answered, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a ditch on the Sabbath day, you will take the sheep and help it out of the ditch. 12 Surely a man is more important than a sheep. So it is right to do good on the Sabbath day.”
13 Then Jesus said to the man with the crippled hand, “Hold out your hand.” The man held out his hand, and it became well again, the same as the other hand. 14 But the Pharisees left and made plans to kill Jesus.
Jesus Is God’s Chosen Servant
15 Jesus knew what the Pharisees were planning. So he left that place, and many people followed him. He healed all who were sick, 16 but he warned them not to tell others who he was. 17 This was to give full meaning to what Isaiah the prophet said when he spoke for God:
18 “Here is my servant,
Jesus’ Power Is From God
22 Then some people brought a man to Jesus. This man was blind and could not talk, because he had a demon inside him. Jesus healed the man, and he could talk and see. 23 All the people were amazed at what Jesus did. They said, “Maybe he is the promised Son of David!”
24 When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man uses the power of Satan[d] to force demons out of people. Satan is the ruler of demons.”
25 Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking. So he said to them, “Every kingdom that fights against itself will be destroyed. And every city or family that is divided against itself will not survive. 26 So if Satan forces out his own demons,[e] then he is fighting against himself, and his kingdom will not survive. 27 You say that I use the power of Satan to force out demons. If that is true, then what power do your people use when they force out demons? So your own people will prove that you are wrong. 28 But I use the power of God’s Spirit to force out demons, and this shows that God’s kingdom has come to you. 29 Whoever wants to enter a strong man’s house and steal his things must first tie him up. Then they can steal the things from his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me. And anyone who does not work with me is working against me.
31 “So I tell you, people can be forgiven for every sinful thing they do and for every bad thing they say against God. But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 You can even speak against the Son of Man and be forgiven. But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven—not now or in the future.
What You Do Shows What You Are
33 “If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good. If your tree is not good, it will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it produces. 34 You snakes! You are so evil. How can you say anything good? What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts. 35 Those who are good have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil. 36 I tell you that everyone will have to answer for all the careless things they have said. This will happen on the day of judgment. 37 Your words will be used to judge you. What you have said will show whether you are right or whether you are guilty.”
Some People Doubt Jesus’ Authority
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law answered Jesus. They said, “Teacher, we want to see you do a miracle as a sign from God.”
39 Jesus answered, “Evil and sinful people are the ones who want to see a miracle as a sign. But no miracle will be done to prove anything to them. The only sign will be the miracle that happened to the prophet Jonah.[f] 40 Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights. 41 On the judgment day, you people who live now will be compared with the people from Nineveh,[g] and they will be witnesses who show how guilty you are. Why do I say this? Because when Jonah preached to those people, they changed their lives. And you are listening to someone greater than Jonah, but you refuse to change!
42 “On the judgment day, you people who live now will also be compared with the queen of the South,[h] and she will be a witness who shows how guilty you are. I say this because she traveled from far, far away to listen to Solomon’s wise teaching. And I tell you that someone greater than Solomon is right here, but you won’t listen!
The Danger of Emptiness
43 “When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it travels through dry places looking for a place to rest, but it finds none. 44 So it says, ‘I will go back to the home I left.’ When it comes back, it finds that home still empty. It is all neat and clean. 45 Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself. They all go and live there, and that person has even more trouble than before. It is the same way with the evil people who live today.”
Jesus’ Followers Are His True Family
46 While Jesus was talking to the people, his mother and brothers stood outside. They wanted to talk to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are waiting for you outside. They want to talk to you.”
48 Jesus answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his followers and said, “See! These people are my mother and my brothers. 50 Yes, anyone who does what my Father in heaven wants is my true brother and sister and mother.”