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Reading through the Gospels

Mark 3:20-30; Matthew 12:22-45; Luke 11:14-26

Mark 3:2-30; Matthew 12:22-45; Luke 11:14-26 JESUS AND BEELZEBUB; BLASPHEMY AGAINST HOLY SPIRIT

In Matthew 22, 23 and Luke 11:14 we see the reason the scribes and Pharisees accused Jesus of being possessed because Jesus heals a demon-oppressed mute man and the people begin to wonder toward belief that Jesus is the Son of David as foretold by the prophets. Of course, the scribes and Pharisees want to jump on anything to squelch any lean toward belief in Jesus.


Scribes of the Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Capernaum and accused Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebul, a prince of demons, satan himself, that casts out demons. Once again Jesus is rejected and tormented with people's words. The scribes and Pharisees wanted people to think Jesus was possessed.


Jesus replied with a parable to teach his words, "How can Satan cast out Satan?" Jesus gives an overview of the 3 parables he is about to tell. If Jesus works for satan, then why would He be casting out satan's demons (i.e. unclean spirits) from people? Why would He work against His own side of good and evil? Why would He work against Himself? In Luke 11:20, there is a reference to the "finger of God" and I can visualize God pointing His finger and unclean spirits immediately obeying without a word.


Parable 1: "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." Division of our government will not result in stability. In our country, we have voting rights to help people come together. There has to be unity. When our country is not unified, it will fall when other countries utilize the cracks.


Parable 2: "And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end." If a house is cut in two, it will not be as stable and will eventually collapse. Anyone who has ever played with blocks may know this engineering rule. God has also engineered and created what is inside our house to stand together. Division of our home will not result in stability. This also applies to divisions in marriage, church, and work. We sometimes fight against ourselves because we have to have the last word or the better idea instead of working it out for the better. I pray that God help me consider the opinions of others and not just my own way. A "win" is a house standing together. Lord, keep me from being the cause of any division in a relationship.


Parable 3: "But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house." In this parable, satan is the "strong man" who is plundering for souls. The "goods" in satan's house are the people that follow him /do not follow Jesus. When Jesus was resurrected, satan was bound, but for a little while will be unbound. One day satan will be bound forever as read in Revelations 20:10. There is one stronger than satan, thank God!


Matthew 12:30 adds, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." This is similar to the "sitting on the fence" theme in other Bible verses. We cannot be lukewarm.  We cannot be neutral. We must choose a side either with Jesus or against Jesus.


Jesus gives examples of how to know whether or not one is with Him or against Him: blasphemy of Holy Spirit, what is produces, fruit; what comes out of the mouth; what comes out of the treasures we keep; right words.


Jesus continues, "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin." I am a child of God, so all my sins are forgiven. Those who are not children of God utter blasphemes against the Holy Spirit and will not be forgiven and will be eternally guilty (damnation).  A "deadly" sin.  An unpardonable sin. An unforgiveable sin. Scary stuff! To blaspheme the Holy Spirit would be to say things against God, to be a rival against God. Another definition is merely to be irreverent and that is scary and makes me wonder how many times I have talked about God without enough reverence. Being irreverent insults God. I think it is important to allow scripture to interpret scripture in this case and to know that any inadvertent insults by not being reverent enough are forgivable because Jesus knows my heart. He also knows the hearts of those who intentionally curse Him, such as the scribes and the Pharisees in this story. I think Matthew 12:30 is a preface to this sentence, reading in context, that it matters which side a person has chosen.


In Matthew (not Mark), Jesus continues,  "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit." Bad fruit does not fall from good trees and bad trees do not produce good fruit. This is an indication of what side of the fence a person falls.  If good fruit (fruits of the spirit) come forth from a person, then the person must be a child of God.


Matthew 12:34, "You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Another factor that is telling of which side of the fence we sit on is what comes out of our mouths. If good is in my heart, good will come out of my mouth and vice versa. A clean mouth is first cleaned up in the heart.


Matthew 12:35, "The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil." Yet another factor that is telling of which side of the fence we sit on is what comes out of the treasures we keep. Do we keep around bad treasures such as alcohol and drugs? Is there anything in my house that is not good and pure and should not be in my home?


Matthew 12:36: "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." I am so drawn to the red letters of Jesus's words in my Bible. Each one seems so good that I have to stop and take time to really ponder. Jesus's word here that jumps out to me and convicts me is "careless." It seems to be the story of my life that I say things unintentionally that are taken different than I mean them, thereby offending someone. I often feel as if I should just never speak. By my words I will be justified.  Okay, then I want all my words to speak of God and his glory and all that He is! Then I want all my words to be covered by requests for forgiveness! If my words are not covered by the forgiveness of Jesus, then my words will condemn me.  Please Lord, Jesus, forgive my words! May my heart be right so that my words are right!


Then the scribes and Pharisees said that they wished to see a sign from Jesus that He is who He says He is. They sure do think they are better than Jesus to be able to talk to Him like that. I sometimes want to see a sign from Jesus, but more so a sign of what I am to do that follows His will, not a sign of who He is because I already know that.


Jesus answers them in Matthew 12:39-45, calling Jonah a profit and comparing Himself to Jonah with 3 days in the fish's belly to 3 days in the tomb. This seems the first time He has begun to teach more specifically about his death and resurrection, in a parable. The scribes and Pharisees are just as vile as the people of Nineveh and in need of a Savior. The voice of Jonah warned of judgment and Jesus warns of Judgment. "Condemn it" is "condemn this generation." Nineveh turned from their ways, but "this generation" will be condemned for not turning from its ways. Nineveh reverted within one generation to its old pagan ways (Nahum 3:7-8).  Nineveh turned on the warning of Jonah, but Jesus is far greater than Jonah. The queen of Sheba traveled far to listen to Solomon's wisdom (1 Kings 10:1). The queen came to Solomon who had less wisdom than Jesus. 


In Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus teaches a person who cleans up their life is still empty for satan to come in unless it is filled up with God.  If the unclean spirits return, they will bring more with them (7 is mentioned as in the 7 of Mary Magdalene in Luke 8:1-3 which is preceding story chronologically). This sounds like Nineveh who returned to old ways.


Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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