Jesus is at it again, healing the people.
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
- Dumb meaning he couldn’t talk, he was a mute. But Jesus heals him so that he can now see and talk!
But look at how the people react.
- Matthew 12:23-24
23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
- Most of the people were amazed and said what? Is not this the son of David?
What did it mean for the Jews to call Jesus the son of David?
- John 7:42
Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
- You see that word Christ? They weren’t referring to Jesus Christ in that Jesus was His first name and Christ His surname/last name. The word Christ means the Messiah! The Messiah is prophesied to come from the seed of David!
- They were declaring that they believed that He was the Messiah! It would be through the genealogy of King David that the Messiah would come.
- However, the Pharisees reacted in quite a different way. They said that he cast out the devil by the prince of the devils – Beelzebub. It was one thing not to accept what Jesus was doing, but when the man that was clearly possessed now could talk and see and was not harassed or possessed by the evil spirit anymore and was healed, it was clear that a power more than human was present. However, they refused to accept that Jesus was divine, refused to accept Him as the Messiah. So the only other option for them to conclude was that Jesus was in league with the devil – they were treading on dangerous ground.
You know it’s one thing to have a personal bias or grudge against someone. But when their fruits are so clear, let’s make sure we judge by the fruits and not about our own personal opinion of what we think of them.
It’s so interesting that it was the common people that accepted Christ as the Messiah and yet those religious leaders, the ones that were meant to be studying their Bibles and knowing prophecy were the ones that ended up condemning Him.
So how does Jesus respond?
- Matthew 12:25-27
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
- Jesus replied by saying that it didn’t make sense for Satan to use his own power against himself! Beelzebub is just another name in reference to Satan. But look, even common sense, and common logic could have figured that out. And if Jesus casts out devils with the power of darkness, then how about others who cast out evil spirits as well? Were they using the powers of darkness as well? How come they weren’t being condemned or using the power of Satan?
- Jesus was exposing the clear envy, jealousy and hatred that the Pharisees had against Him. And in their hatred, they were blind to the dangerous path they were walking.
- You know, envy and jealousy blinds us so easily. It distorts our view of other people. It makes us think outrageous thoughts that were wouldn’t normally think. It makes us unreasonable. And in the case of the Pharisees, it would ultimately lead them to crucify Jesus.
I want you to consider a case in the Old Testament.
- Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They came against Moses and Aaron with the accusation that the whole camp of Israel was holy, and it was Moses and Aaron – they themselves personally that had exalted themselves over everyone to be their leader.
- Numbers 16:3
And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
- In their envy and pride and jealously of the position that Moses and Aaron had, they accused them that it wasn’t God who put them in that position but they themselves. They forgot the miracles that God did through them in Egypt. They forgot about the parting of the red sea. They became blind and unreasonable.
- We must be careful that we check, and re-check ourselves. That our actions are not borne of jealously, envy or hatred.
Now coming back to Jesus’ Encounter in Matthew 12 you can see very quickly that the main encounter here really isn’t about the blind dumb man who was possessed with an evil spirit. It’s turning out to be a teaching lesson from Christ to the Pharisees.
Jesus is not done yet though. Let’s continue.
- Matthew 12:28-30
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
- Jesus gives a possible alternative to their accusation. But if, just by any chance, that I do cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you! The possibility is that God’s Spirit is working through Him and not the devil’s power.
- Of course, we know it is the Spirit of God. Jesus already established that it makes no sense for Satan to fight against himself!
- And then He gives an illustration. How can someone enter into a strong man’s house and steal his good unless you first bind the strong man?
- Jesus has just bound that strong man and cast him out – the man that was possessed with a demon. There was someone stronger that came in – the Spirit of God!
- And then He says what? If you’re not with me, you’re against me. If you don’t gather with you, you are scattering abroad. What is He trying to say by this?
- Who was with Jesus? It was the Holy Spirit! He cast out of this man a demon by the Spirit of God, by the Holy Spirit. And if they weren’t on His side, then they were on the opposite side – which is the side of Satan. They, the pharisees, were doing the devil’s work! Jesus turned that on its head really quick!
- We got to be so careful that in our envy, our jealousy, our hatred of someone that we don’t end up on the wrong side and work the works of Satan. We don’t realise that if God ordains someone and we start speaking against them, we are speaking against God!
- Even king David, when he had been anointed by Samuel already and was running for his life against Saul, he refused to lift up his hand against Saul – calling him God’s anointed. He was so careful that he didn’t allow his hurt feelings get the better of him and possibly kill someone that God didn’t want killed yet at that point in time!
- Matthew 12:31-32
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
- Jesus continues to talk about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. They were treading on dangerous ground – the unpardonable sin.
- We won’t be looking at the details of the unpardonable sin, but Jesus warned them that they needed to be careful that they did not attribute the power of God to the power of Satan. Calling the power of the Holy Spirit a devilish power is treading on dangerous ground.
- Matthew 12:33-37
33 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. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
- We need to be careful about what we say. We are known by our fruits. Jesus was telling those Pharisees to look at His fruit. He was working the works of God. He was healing a person that was possessed with an evil spirit. And instead of condemning, they needed to be praising God.
- They needed to be demonstrating greater faith in Christ as the Messiah instead of accusing Jesus that He was using the power of Satan! They needed to be careful with their words!
You know, I have a quick tongue. I’m like Peter, Jesus’ disciple. Quick to speak. Speak without thinking. There is nothing wrong with a quick tongue. The problem is the condition of the heart.
- If you have a quick tongue with a good heart, blessings will come out from what you say. Nothing wrong with that! But if you have a quick tongue with an evil heart, well then you better just learn to be quiet as much as possible!
- Peter said much as a disciple of Christ while Christ was alive that was not in accordance with God’s will. There was a time that Jesus told the disciples that He was going to be crucified, but that after 3 days He would be resurrected. Peter said – be it far from thee! No way Jesus, that will not happen! He disagreed with what Jesus was saying to them! He didn’t believe Him! Quick to respond!!
- What did Jesus say to Peter in response?
- Matthew 16:23
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
- Peter – always talking first without thinking. At this time, his heart was not right yet.
- There was another time when the people asked Peter why Jesus did not pay tribute money. Peter responded without asking Jesus – simply saying Yes! Thinking without speaking! And Jesus and to show him that his response was wrong and asked him to go fish the money out of the fishes mouth. Always ready to speak, the ever ready, outspoken Peter.
- But look, there’s nothing wrong with a quick mouth if the source from where it comes from is good. The problem is that too often I identify with Peter before his conversion. Jesus even told Peter before He died that he was not converted!
- Luke 22:31-32
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
- That’s why Peter was always speaking these foolish words!
- But after his conversion, was Peter still quick to speak? Absolutely! The problem is not speaking quickly. The problem is the stream from which is flows from.
- In Acts 2, Peter stood up to justify the 120 that were in the upper room when they began to speak with tongues and the people began to say that they were all drunk! He stood up, probably this time prompted by the Spirit of God, but also from his own personality as well. And he preached a powerful sermon! To the extent that 3000 were baptized at the conclusion of his sermon.
- Once again I say, the problem is not being quick to speak. But what sort of words do you say? Are you witty and sarcastic all the time? Are you always condemnatory? Are you always speaking bitter and angry words? Are you cursing a lot? Are you speaking words that are not true about other people? Lying and gossiping?
- Jesus saw the problem of the Pharisees. The reason why they attributed the works of Christ to the power of the devil and not to the Spirit of God, was the hatred that they held in their heart for Him. They were not converted. They were blinded by their own prejudice and so even though Jesus demonstrated such clear evidence that God was with Him, they still went and said such ridiculous statements like Jesus was healing with the power of Satan.
- And so for that, Jesus did not excuse what they said and warned them to be careful. Not be careful because He was the Son of God. But because by what they were saying, they were about to offend the Holy Spirit and would commit a sin that would not be forgiven!
- But the ultimate problem was what? It was their heart?
James spends a whole chapter talking about our words, our tongue.
- James 3:6-10
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
- Our tongue can’t be tamed! Many bless God with their tongue and yet at the same time they curse men. James concludes, this should not be the case!
- James 3:11-12
11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
- It’s not possible for a fountain to have both sweet and bitter water. It’s IMPOSSIBLE for a fig tree to bear olives And a vine to bear figs. It’s not possible for a righteous person to say such evil words.
- And so Christ is trying to show the Pharisees, they can’t possibly think they are saved and say such hateful, envious and wicked words! Words that would grieve away the Holy Spirit and put them in a position where it’s impossible for God to forgive them! They needed to be born again. They needed to be converted.
And I’m afraid that many amongst us need to be converted again today. Christ is not dealing today with the manner of our life – how we live out lives, but something more personal. It’s our words. What we say. Try as you might, unless the heart is totally transformed, our words will always be sweet and bitter. We will always be a hypocrite with our words unless God helps us.
How? By His Spirit! We need the Spirit of God more than ever even today.
We can’t possibly think that we are heaven bound whilst our tongues still utter profanities. Whilst we continue to gossip about others. Whilst we lie about people and try to condemn others simply because we are envious or jealous of them.
James says this!
- James 1:26
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
- The only person we deceive is ourselves.
So Jesus ends with this analogy:
- Matthew 12:43
43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
- It’s not enough to just have an evil spirit cast out of our hearts. We need to fill it with the Spirit of God! The problem with this man is that after he was clean, he didn’t fill it with something better. Neglected to fill that empty space.
- The Pharisees, maybe as they stood there, they were thinking to themselves that they weren’t as bad off as this man who had been possessed only moments before.
- But Jesus makes it very clear. Unless you are filled with the Spirit of God, your heart is empty. And if your heart is empty, it will always be filled with something more wicked and evil! The devil doesn’t need to be invited in. He will make his habitation there if we leave it empty.
Today, we need to ask for God’s sweet Spirit. He needs to fill us. And He is the only One that can change our hearts, and change our tongues and change our words. Let’s be praying ever more for His Spirit today!