A House Divided Cannot Stand!
General Idea: This is one of the most controversial passages in Matthew. So many fights occur and people get hurt over whether we may accidentally commit the unpardonable sin and lose our salvation. But, when we have our faith rooted in what our Lord has done for us, we need not fear, for our salvation is secured. Jesus combats the pious, fraud religious leaders, who elevate their zealous traditions over the care of the people, which is what they are primarily called to. In spite of all Jesus did to prove who He was, they still attacked Him, now accusing Him of being a demon, but not just any demon, but the prince of them all! In actuality, they were the ones who were in league with the demons, sharing in their propensity to deceive and to destroy!
Jesus is the Strong Man who invaded Satan's house, and stole his power and the opportunities to do us in. We are given freedom and victory, and we are given the power to overcome Satan, to prosper in His grace. But, we still need to operate within Christ's parameters using His armor and weapons. If we do not, we will fail; we do not have the strength of the Strong Man, only God does!
1. He healed him; Jesus is the One who heals our broken lives (John 4:4-42)!
a. The healings that that Jesus and the Apostles did were real and exceptional displays of God's love and power. Withered and non-working eyes were magically regenerated; ears that could not hear were opened; mouths that could not utter words became instruments of praise (Isa. 35:5).
b. Amazed. The Jewish expectation of a Messiah was not for someone who would heal, rather, someone who would be militaristic. So, the crowds would wonder, What is this? What is going on? Could Jesus be the One? Since what the Scriptures foretold and their expectations were in conflict, so was the practice of their faith and their judgments of Jesus.
c. The Son of David, Son of David. This was a one of the more popular Jewish titles for the Messiah (; ; ; ; 21:9; -45).
d. David was the only person to exorcize a demon, recorded in the OT in 1 Sam 16:23.
e. Pagans who exorcised demons used spells and incantations, so they identified Jesus with these pagan witchdoctors. However, Jesus used the authority of God--not any spell.
2. The Pharisees were like bully children in a park. They were not holding back at calling Him every name in the book, from this fellow, a demeaning term, to an actual demon, and accusing Him of all of the most heinous sins.
a. Beelzebul is a derivative of Beelzebub (Greek Beelzboul) meaning "lord of the house" or "lord of the flies" (2 Kings 1:2-3; Matt. ; ,27; Mark ): The exact meaning of this term is not known. It is suggested that it refers to Satan's authority over other demons. It is also a name for a heathen god of Ekron, Baal-zebub (2 Kings 1:2) and called Belial by Paul (2 Cor. ). He is also called the prince of demons (Matt. ; -27), which implies he is lord over hell--the chief CEO of hell. This was a heinous accusation to make about Jesus!
b. Divided against itself. You are either on one side or the other. You cannot be at two places at once, just as you cannot be half pregnant. Either you are for Christ or you are not. There is no "fence sitting" in the
i. Your sons refers to people in "your" group, as in a clan or a family. Jesus calls their bluff, and reminds them that they are casting out demons with spells--in violation of Scripture. This was as the pagans did, not as David did.
ii. Jesus does not say others cannot exorcise demons, but, when it is done secularly, it just mixes them up, like the game "fruit basket upset." They are still here; they have just exchanged places with one another. The difference is Jesus actually defeats demons, rather than just moving them around (Matt. -42)!
c. Strongman. This passage gives us a picture of Satan as the ultimate thief who steals our goods and keeps us hostage. Jesus goes into his house, taking back everything we lost as well as taking his stuff and giving it to us (Eph. -23; Col. 2:15)! If the police did this, I bet crime would go down significantly! Sorcery was a capital crime (Ex. ), and was another avenue to seek to take down our Lord. Satan could not prevent the coming of the Kingdom (Matt. 4:2; Rev. 20:2)!
3. Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven: The Unpardonable Sin is to willfully speak against the work of the Spirit to regenerate our life (Matt. 12:33-37; Mark 12:28-30; Luke 12:10; Heb. 3:12-13; 6:4-6; -29; 1 John 5:16-17)! This means to reject Jesus' offer of His saving grace, and refuse His salvation. It can also refer to refusing to repent--a sure sign a person is not saved (John 16:8;
a. Judaism in Jesus time debated whether or not one's sins could be cleansed in this world by suffering or repentance, and which sins would be taken with them into eternity and punishment. Manasseh, one of the wickedest kings in history repented, so, they debated if he went to reward or to punishment. Aren't you glad you have grace? Judaism also taught that "highhanded" sins, such as speaking, or rebelling against God, were not forgivable (Lev. 24:10-23).
b. Blasphemy was a major crime punishable by death. It could mean pronouncing ones self as divine; inviting others to worship other gods, or it could be an insult to God's honor (Num. ). The penalty for such an act of forgiving sins was death (Lev. 24:10-23). Jesus obviously was not guilty of this, or any offence.
c. Since Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, there is One God with three personalities and manifestations. Therefore, rejecting Jesus means you are rejecting God and His saving grace for you.
4. Tree/ fruit refers to how we respond to the Gospel with our gratitude. Depending on whether you choose your Will or God's Grace, it also means what we do with our faith. So bad represents stubbornness, and good represents Repentance. Repentance must be real, so a change has occurred. There must be a measure of sorrow or emotion for our sin, but not just sorrow; actual change must be in place in your life (Matt. ; 27:3)! Since we would feel the sorrow (Matthew 3:8) of the hurt we cause, not only to ourselves, but also to the people around us, and even to God (2 Co -11), this would indicate we are in no danger of committing the Unpardonable Sin! When one serves the Lord, or has repented, the fruits will be manifested (Gal. -23). If not, then something is very wrong.
a. Brood of vipers refers to a viper's child. This was name-calling to put someone down. Isaiah and John the Baptist did this righteously, as does our Lord (Isa. 57:3-4; 58:5-8; Matt. 3:7). A viper is a hideous snake; the Jews believed they eat their way out of their mother's stomach. So, they are calling our Lord a viper's child--as someone who kills their own mother, the most heinous sin for a Jew!
b. The Book of Proverbs testifies the importance of sound speech, and that it is better to keep silent than to say something stupid. (Prov. 10:11; 15:4; -28).
Believing something does not mean you live it. Faith must be real and invoke a response from within you. It cannot be just academic! People then, as people today, differentiate people by their words, and more importantly, their actions. What do your actions say about what is in your heart? For the Jew, confession about God was the essential aspect of what it meant to be a Jew (Duet. 6:4; Mark ). To confess one thing and do another was what Proverbs and the Jew would heartily say was a fool! Thus, our faith will produce our actions, but our actions will not produce faith. We only respond with our faith to His work and His call.