What does Matthew 12:30 mean?
ESV: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
NIV: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
NASB: The one who is not with Me is against Me; and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.
CSB: Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters.
NLT: Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
KJV: He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
NKJV: He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has rebuked the Pharisees (Matthew 12:25–28) for accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan (Matthew 12:22–24). The exact opposite is true. He said in the previous verse, in the form of an analogy, that to accomplish His work on earth, He had to first bind the "strong man," meaning Satan, so He could plunder Satan's domain (Matthew 12:29).

In other words, Jesus came to earth to gather citizens for the kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28). Those who receive Him by faith will be rescued from Satan's domain of darkness and delivered to Jesus' kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Contrary to the Pharisees' charge, Jesus is declaring to them and the listening crowds just how deeply He is working against Satan.

Now Jesus looks the Pharisees in the eyes and draws a line in the sand. Whoever is not with Him in this work He is doing is, by definition, against Him. Whoever does not help Him in His mission to gather citizens into His kingdom is guilty of scattering them. That means that the Pharisees, in their conspiracy to destroy Jesus, have put themselves against the Holy Spirit and the kingdom of God. With Satan, they stand against the work of God.

Jesus makes this absolute statement as a warning to all who hear Him. Nobody can remain neutral on the issue of Jesus (Acts 4:12). He demands full acceptance and participation in His mission from those who are with Him. Anyone who does not join Him is on the other side, no matter how much he or she may wish not to have an opinion (John 3:36).

Mark quotes Jesus as declaring that the positive version of this statement is also true. When His disciples were concerned about someone who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus even though that person wasn't one of them, Jesus told them not to stop the man. "The one who is not against us is for us," Jesus said (Mark 9:40).
Verse Context:
Matthew 12:22–32 begins with Jesus healing a demon-oppressed man who cannot see or speak. The passage ends with a controversial, troubling statement. The crowds wonder if Jesus is the Messiah. Some Pharisees say Jesus casts out demons by the power of the prince of demons. Jesus counters their argument with both logic and a harsh rebuke. The Pharisees have missed the truth: the kingdom of God has come. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—seeing such a miracle and attributing it to Satan—is a sin which will not be forgiven.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 12 features confrontations between the Pharisees and Jesus over several issues. Among these are working on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, and the source of His power to cast out demons. Jesus counters each argument and rebukes the Pharisees sharply for their obstinate unbelief. He even notes that those who maliciously ascribe His miracles to demons are unforgivable. He warns them, and the rest of their current generation, about the judgment to come. Jesus calls the Pharisees a brood of vipers and rejects their demand for another miracle. All they'll be promised is the sign of Jonah. The Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Jesus also states that all who do His Father's will are His family.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 11 depicted Jesus preaching and teaching after sending out His chosen disciples in pairs in chapter 10. Chapter 12 immediately picks up with more confrontation with the Pharisees. Jesus responds to those criticisms and rebukes their evil hearts as the source of their evil words. In the following chapter, Matthew will shift His focus onto Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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