Daybreak: Matthew 12:22-37
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” (Matthew 12:33)
What kind of spiritual “fruit” would be produced by this religious movement? Not any of value, if you listened to what its detractors had to say. When the Pentecostal outpouring began in Los Angeles, newspapers described the building on Azusa Street where the services were held as a “tumble-down shack” and called the leader “an old colored exhorter, blind in one eye.” The Los Angeles Daily Times published a front-page story with the heading, “New Sect of Fanatics is Breaking Loose.” After the Apostolic Faith headquarters was established in Portland, crowds gathered at times around the buildings where believers were meeting and raised a commotion, claiming the worshipers were under some kind of hypnotic spell. Among other things, the interracial mixing of nationalities in the services was frowned upon. Hoodlums sought to disrupt the meetings and at times, the building was pelted with bottles and stones, and the windows broken out.
Accusations and ridicule were common in the early days of the Pentecostal movement. However, as our key verse brings out, the nature of a man or doctrine or movement can be rightly evaluated only when the results have had time to develop.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Azusa Street began in 1906. Florence Crawford arrived in Portland, Oregon, in late December of 1906, when the first church services were held in an old converted blacksmith shop. That is long enough ago to evaluate the “fruit” of the Pentecostal movement and the Apostolic Faith Church. From a simple beginning among hungry hearts eager to serve God, a worldwide work sprang up. Today, Apostolic Faith churches have been established around the world. A literature ministry has covered the globe with Gospel publications produced and mailed out free of charge in more than seventy different languages. No historian will ever calculate the impact of the thousands who have been saved, sanctified, and baptized by the power of the Holy Ghost, and then scattered, through the efforts of this work, to the ends of the earth. Lives have been transformed, broken homes reunited, and alcoholics, gamblers, and drug users delivered instantly from the bondage of addiction. Clearly, the “fruit” has been good fruit.
Today, pause and thank God for a spiritual heritage that has stood the test of time!
The Pharisees were envious of Jesus, and this passage reveals their carnal hearts by their crass and cruel opposition. They knew He was doing great things, but they could not explain His miracles, so they accused Him of working through the power of Satan rather than the power of God. They did not want Jesus’ fame to become any greater, possibly fearing their positions would be taken from them or that the Jews would look to Jesus instead of them.
Jesus refuted their illogical accusation by pointing out that if a kingdom is divided, it cannot stand. If Satan were to do away with his own demonic helpers, he would be destroying his own kingdom. The defeat of Satan had to be accomplished by One who was against Satan, and that was the Son of God. Jesus drew a further picture, saying that no one could enter a strong man’s house and spoil (carry off) his goods without first restraining the strong man. Again, the logic was irrefutable. Satan was a conquered foe, or Jesus could not be “seizing” his property.
In verses 31-32, Jesus spoke of what has been termed the “unpardonable sin.” Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is persisting to reject the very One who convicts of sin. The person who does this rejects the only One that can draw him to repentance, and thus loses any opportunity to be pardoned.
Jesus went on to point out that one can know a tree by the fruit it bears. So it is with mankind: what a person says and does shows his character. The connection to the preceding verses is clear, for the Pharisees had just revealed what was in their hearts by the blasphemous words they had spoken.
In verses 36-37, Jesus put forth another solemn warning: people at the judgment will be required to give an account for idle words. The word idle means “lazy, useless, or barren.” Jesus’ warning against careless speech is tied to the fact that one’s conversation reveals the condition of his heart.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The opposition to the King
A. The commencement of the King’s rejection
2. The actual opposition by the religious leaders
c. Controversy over the healing of a demoniac (12:22-37)
(1) The miracle by Christ (12:22)
(2) The reaction of the multitude (12:23)
(3) The rejection by the Pharisees of Christ (12:24)
(4) The defense by Christ (12:25-30)
(a) Satan is not divided (12:25-28)
(b) Christ is stronger than Satan (12:29-30)
(5) The rejection by Christ of the religious leaders (12:31-37)
A Closer Look
- What event precipitated the Pharisees’ accusation of Jesus?
- What answer did Jesus give the Pharisees when they said He cast out devils by Beelzebub?
- What behaviors might be the “fruit” of our lives by which other people will evaluate our profession of Christianity? What steps can we take to ensure that the fruit we produce is good fruit?
People will evaluate our Christianity by our words and actions, whether good or bad. Let us be sure that when people watch our lives, the “fruit” they observe is truly Christlike.
- Matthew Introduction
- Matthew Complete Amplified Outline
- A Traditional View of Passion Week
- Daybreak Unit PDF (Matthew, Hebrews, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians)
- Discovery Unit PDF (Matthew, Hebrews, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians)
- Discovery Teacher’s Guide Unit PDF (Matthew, Hebrews, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians)
- Unit Binder Cover