Summary: What exactly is this sin? Can this sin be committed today? Is there really no hope of forgiveness for the one who commits this sin? Why can blaspheming Jesus be forgiven but not blaspheming the Spirit?
This topic is indeed an interesting one that leaves us with many questions.
• What exactly is this sin?
• Can this sin be committed today?
• Is there really no hope of forgiveness for the one who commits this sin?
• Why can blaspheming Jesus be forgiven but not blaspheming the Spirit?
We will attempt to answer most of these questions in this lesson
The account of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is in 3 of the 4 gospels
• Luke 11; 12:10
We will spend the majority of our time in Matthew's account, and will go to the other 2 accounts if we need any additional information.
From the very beginning of the chapter, we see how the Jewish religious leaders wanted to do anything they could to discredit Jesus. They put everything He and His disciples did under a microscope. In verses 1-8, the Pharisees just happened to see Jesus and His disciples walking through the grain fields plucking grain to eat. Even though Jesus was not breaking the law, but their traditions, they condemn Jesus and His disciples for breaking the Sabbath. In verses 9-14, Jesus comes into the synagogue, a place of worship, and at this time the Jewish leaders wanted to find a reason to accuse Him of sin, and they do so when Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. In Mark’s account of this, we are told that Jesus was angered because of the hardness of their hearts. They end up leaving after He does the miracle to conspire with one another how they might kill Him. Then after this in verse 22 of Matthew 12, we come to our account of Pharisees blaspheming the Holy Spirit:
“Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. 23 All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons." (Matthew 12:22-24)
Obviously in this passage we have to very different responses from those who witness this miracle which was done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The crowds asked whether or not Jesus was indeed the Messiah while the Pharisees, who probably were not to happy about what the crowds were saying, stop at nothing to try to discredit Jesus by saying that He is doing His miracles by the power of Satan. Wow!
After showing them how ridiculous it was to say such a thing, Jesus makes this statement in verses 31-32:
"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)
What is this sin?
Is it just that they said these things specific things against the Spirit that was the sin?
Just according to the definition of the word "blasphemy," it can be defined as to slander or to revile; To say or to do something that is false or malicious that damages someone's reputation. Obviously the Pharisees are guilty of speaking evil of the Spirit. Their attempt was to discredit Jesus, but they were unaware of who they were truly reviling. They just plain insult the Spirit by saying that He IS Satan.
Also within the context, I believe we do see that these words came from hearts that were totally corrupt. I made this point earlier. They were putting Jesus and His disciples under a microscope and trying to condemn them of sins that they did not commit. Their hearts were already hardened against Jesus before they committed this sin against the Spirit. They had already been resisting the Spirit by their rejection of Jesus and His miracles and words. They had already by now heard of or have seen numerous miracles that Jesus had done. They were suppressing the truth that was clearly before them.
In verses 34-37, Jesus continues talking about the hearts of the Pharisees.
"You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:34-37)