Jesus has left the scheming Pharisees behind in the town and is out in an unspecified place healing anyone brought to Him. He has been fulfilling God’s prophecy about Him in Isaiah when who should appear but MORE troublesome Pharisees.
Matthew tells us that one of the people Jesus healed while He was in this place is a man oppressed by a demon that made him both blind and mute. As expected, Jesus heals this man and he is able to both see and speak. I’m not making light of this miracle but reminding us all that Jesus healed ALL those who were brought to him. I don’t know where this man’s faith was on the “believing spectrum” because he was “brought” to Jesus. Was he brought because he couldn’t get there himself physically, or were his friends intervening in his situation on his behalf? Was he simply brought to Jesus by Jesus’ disciples after making his way to the meeting place? However he got there, Jesus met his need in full.
The people in the crowd following Jesus were amazed by this healing! I’m sure the man was overjoyed too. I was a little confused by the people’s reaction, because Jesus has been healing for a while now. Until I realized that they were now asking themselves if Jesus was actually David’s son, the prophesied Messiah. Many people were coming to Him every day knowing that He could heal them. They were accepting Him as a prophet or teacher. Now they were recognizing Him as the Messiah.
The Pharisees had to act FAST! They had to nip this idea in the bud. “Jesus is just tricking you. He is no more a Messiah than I am. He is only casting out demons through, Beelzebul, the Prince of demons himself. Don’t let Him deceive you!”
Jesus’ response is, “So how does that work? That Satan casting out Satan stuff? I think that is a bit like cutting his own head off. That would be nice, because then we wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore.” Jesus shakes His head a minute at their twisted logic. “So”, Jesus says, “if I’m casting out demons through Beelzebul, then who are you and your sons casting them out through? You can’t have it both ways.”
The leader of the Pharisees is beginning to pale at this point. Some of them are shuffling their feet in the dirt and looking down. A couple of them nearest their leader still look a bit puffed up, but none of them say a word. What could they say?
Jesus continues by asking, “So if your own sons’ testimony of their works, that God is the only one able to cast out demons, then surely the kingdom of God has come to you and is evident in my works. Let’s look at it another way”, says Jesus. “Suppose you have a heavily fortified house with a highly skilled guard watching over it. And in that house is a priceless treasure. Before you have ANY chance of getting to the goods inside that house, you first have to get that guard out of commission. There can’t be any chance of him coming after you, so you have to render him completely helpless if you have any hope of escaping with that treasure. So, Hell is the house, and Satan is the guard. Men’s souls are the treasure trapped within that house. To have any hope of rescuing them, I have to first bind up Satan and bind him good! This is a spiritual battle and I am fighting it through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Jesus scans the faces of the Pharisees and the people standing there listening. “So in this battle I’m engaged in, you are either with me or against me. You are either helping me gather men’s souls or you are scattering them out so I have to work harder. Which is it going to be?”
Jesus steps a little closer to the Pharisee group and looks their leader right in the eye. You can feel the tension in the air. Jesus addresses the leader, who was the one who said Jesus was casting out demons through Beelzebul, and says, “Any sin known to man can be forgiven, except one. You can say anything about me you want to, and even that will be forgivable. BUT, when you call God’s Holy Spirit Beelzebul, THAT won’t be forgiven. So think VERY hard right now as to Who you are saying has given me the authority to cast out demons. You will be held accountable for what you say here today before this people, and NO amount of sacrifice or ‘I didn’t know’ will be able to bring you back from this one.”
The lead Pharisee tries to inconspicuously wipe the sweat off his face. He glares at Jesus, then motions with his head for his followers to go with him. Jesus face is a mixture of sternness and sorrow. He knows their hearts. They were impacting the people with their wild accusations, so He had to deal with them immediatly. But His heart is heavy from knowing the choices the Pharisees made that day. He watches them retreat for a moment, then goes back to ministering to the people.
Father God, thank You that You do forgive us ALL our sin;, except one. I NEVER want to cross that line. Because of my love for You, I don’t believe that is a danger for me. Jesus, thank You for protecting the people from the poison of the Pharisees that day. Also, thank You for giving me a picture of Your encounter in terms that I can relate to. Thank You for rescuing ALL of us from Satan’s clutches. Without Your work on the cross we would still be trapped by Satan in Hell.