Matthew: Whose Side Are You On?

Memory Verse: Matthew 12:25, 31

12:22-30 You Are With Jesus Or Against Jesus

  • 12:22-24 Jesus continues to prove that He is the Messiah by healing a person brought to Him who was possessed with a devil, blind and unable to speak (dumb). Jesus healed him in such a way that he could now speak and see—meaning he was completely healed and the devil who was probably causing the problems was cast out. All the people were amazed. This kinda of amazing power was undeniable, but where did it come from? The crowd broke into two different groups based on how they answered this question: (1) Some believed Jesus to be the Messiah, they said, “Is not this the son of David?” The term “son of David” refers to the “Messiah” and so after seeing this miracle take place, they were asking if this could really be the Messiah. Jesus wasn’t what they thought the Messiah would be like, but the miracle caused them to reconsider their assumptions about the Messiah. (2) Others, the Pharisees, believed Jesus was a servant of Satan, saying, “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” They refused to reconsider their assumptions and thus had to look for another reason why Jesus could have such power, they only other option they could think of was that Jesus’ power came from Beelzebub. They were close-minded and condemned good as evil.
  • 12:25 But Jesus knew the thoughts of the Pharisees. He knew that this type of thinking was ridiculous. He goes on to point out that if a kingdom is divided against itself then it will be destroyed. The same thing goes for every city or family—if they are divided against themselves then they will not stand. This is practical wisdom. If something big or small isn’t united, but it is divided into fractions, then it won’t succeed at accomplishing its goal as a unit. Instead, it will prevent its goal from being accomplished. Therefore, Jesus points out the facts to the Pharisees:
  • 12:26 Is Satan preventing his own goals from being accomplished? Satan would know this simple piece of wisdom, and if Jesus was casting out devils through the power of Satan, then Satan would be divided against himself and be preventing his own kingdom’s agenda from remaining or advancing in the world.
  • 12:27 Is everyone who cast out devils servants of Satan? Jesus ask the Pharisees by whom do their children cast out devils? Apparently, some of their children or students claimed to have cast out devils as well, therefore, in the Pharisees’ logic that this supernatural power could only have come from Satan, were they also saying their children’s supernatural power also came from Satan. Of course they weren’t—therefore their children would be their judges because they would ascribe this power from God.
  • 12:28 Is the Holy Spirit the source of Jesus’ power? Yes, He is. Jesus finally tells the Pharisees that if He cast out devils by the Spirit of God then it has great implications—mainly that the kingdom of God had come unto them. Satan is not defeating His own kingdom, but God by the Holy Spirit through Jesus is establishing His kingdom and defeating Satan’s kingdom. Jesus was here to establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind—His rule over the life of believers. (It also foreshadows the future eternal state when all believers will live in the eternal kingdom of God—eternal life.)
  • 12:29 Jesus continues with a parable saying that for you to spoil a strong man’s goods from his house you would first need to bind the strong man and then you could spoil his house. The “goods” are safe until the strong man is defeated. Satan is the strong man—a tyrant and Jesus came to bind him and spoil his goods—to redeem mankind from Satan’s cruel and oppressive rule. Therefore, Jesus is fighting against Satan not helping him. To say anything otherwise is blasphemy.
  • 12:30 Thus, everyone is forced to make a decision: Jesus or Satan, and refusing to make a decision puts you on the side of Satan. There is no middle ground, no neutrality, no impartiality, no indifference. You are with Jesus or against Jesus. If you are not with Him, then you are automatically against Him. If you aren’t helping Him “gather” then you are “scattering”—meaning just like a person who takes care of a flock of animals and has to gather them together when they scatter otherwise it encourages them to scatter even more, we have to make a decision if we are going to be working with Jesus to help unite His work or fight against it and try to divide it. Jesus is confronting you with a decision to make: who side are you on, His or Satan’s?

12:31-37 The Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost

  • 12:31-32 As a result of these two opposing sides, Jesus said to the crowd:  “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men”—meaning that no matter what you have done in your life or the sins that you have committed, God is willing to forgive you through repentance and faith. There is no sin that puts you beyond the grace of God except rejecting His grace. Jesus calls this “the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” and it will not be forgiven. It means that you know the claims and works of Jesus are true, but you reject them anyway. This is exactly what the Pharisees were doing—rejecting God’s grace displayed through Jesus. It wasn’t rejecting Jesus out of ignorance (although many did because they didn’t understand who He was or where He came from, but they could still be forgiven, like Paul), but this was rejecting the undeniable work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus. They rejected the obvious truth of Jesus by describing it as a work of Satan. Anyone who knows the truth (which is testified by the Holy Spirit) and rejects it will not be forgiven in this world or in the world to come—never.
    John 15:26; 16:14-15; 1 Timothy 1:13
  • 12:33-37 Who are you? A tree, wether good or corrupt, is known by its fruit, good fruit or corrupt fruit, because it can only produce that kind of fruit. The Pharisees were like vipers—deadly venomous snakes, because of their message and hard hearts could only kill. It symbolized evil and therefore they couldn’t speak or produce good. Just like the tree a person is known by his/her fruit—which is his/her speech. The speech that flows out of the heart “our inner being” reveals what we really value (treasure) wether it is good or evil, thus revealing what kind of person we are. Our speech reveals the state of our heart, even our “idle” words, those words that we speak without much forethought or consideration reveal the true nature of what we believe and thus we will give account for them in the day of judgement. Our words—those heart revealing words—will justify us or condemn us. For the Pharisees, their words of attributing the obvious works of the Holy Spirit from God through Jesus to Satan was revealing the condition of their hearts as evil. Jesus cast a devil out of a man and restored his speech and eyesight, but they didn’t value the truth, thus they blasphemed against the Holy Spirit.

Review Questions

  • What did the two groups of people believe about Jesus?
  • What was Jesus’ three rebuttals to the Pharisees?
  • What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?
  • What reveals what a person values or believes?
  • What is the decision that Jesus is confronting you with?

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