Jesus and Beelzebub

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Matthew: 12:22-50; focused on 12:27-32

Newton’s third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; which is exemplified by this passage. Jesus’s amazing act of love brought out an equal and opposite reaction of hate from the Pharisees. Jesus performed the astonishing miracle of healing a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. The Pharisees heard the murmurs going through the crowd: ”Could this man be the Son of David?” They knew the people meant not just any son of David, but the “Messiah,” whom everyone was waiting for. The Pharisees didn’t want a simple carpenter from Nazareth to have a higher standing than them, so out of envy and spite they said that Jesus’s power was of Beelzebub – the prince of demons

Christ’s response was direct, ( King James Version, ) “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” He reasonably questioned them on how they cast out demons. He warned them, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” I believe he was trying to shake them out of their complacency. He compared the demon-possessed man to a house where the devil lived. Jesus had to have conquered the devil before taking what he possessed; thus he showed his power over Beelzebub. As N.T. Wright explains, these verses relate to the real battle Jesus fights. The real battle is spiritual, against violence, and inward sin. Christ, the Living Word was sharp and decisive as he confronted the wickedness he saw in the Pharisees’ hearts. “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of,” (v.34).

Verses 31 and 32 were difficult for me until N. T. Wright’s commentary clarified it. Christ says blasphemy or a word against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Jesus worked through the Holy Spirit to launch God’s kingdom.” If we deny the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot benefit from it. Christ’s warning is clear, we do God’s Will through the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own. Spiritual pride and envy are not of God; they are stumbling blocks. Due to their denial of The Spirit; the Pharisees were scattering the flock rather than gathering them, as was their duty.

N.T. Wright says Beelzebub means “Lord of the flies.” Like flies, our temptations often hover around us. The guilt of past sins prevents us from acting on God’s truths and we lose sight of God’s promises. Events in our life can tempt us to forget who God is and what we can do through His power. Jesus was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he could swat temptations away like flies. We can also, though we may need many more swats as we learn to align our will to His.

 

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2 comments

  1. Bina, I think you are a week ahead of the game. I got confused myself, as I thought last week was “Week One”, but on N. T. Wright’s calendar, it does not work that way!

    But it is not a problem, because this is all really good stuff! I am particularly glad you pointed out the difficulty regarding “blasphemy of the Spirit”. That trips a lot of people up.

    Thanks for sharing!

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