Summary: Protecting the 'home front' of our church from the enemies' attacks from without and within.
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, January 3, 2010 AM
INTRODUCTION: (mole theme adapted from Pastor Joseph Smith, Sept. 01, sermoncentral.com)
Have you ever had a turf war with a mole? Moles are unpleasant, destructive, and even dangerous animals. How? They dig and make ridges in the turf, often causing people to stumble.
They have very small eyes and, for all intents and purposes, are blind.. Of course, moles don't really need to see, because they spend most of their time in the dark, underground.
Nor do moles make any intelligent or meaningful noises. In fact, they have almost no voice. Oh, a tiny squeal of complaint comes out when your dog gets after a mole, but, for the most part, they do not make sound. Moles are not only essentially blind; they are mute as well.
The mole is blind and mute, yes; but that’s not the worst of it. The mole is dangerous because he deliberately burrows the heart out of your finely tended lawn and makes dividing lines right through it. It the process they cause many to stumble and fall without even noticing or caring.
Jesus showed us one day that there are human moles in this world – blind, mute, and worse. They are divisive. Moles want to do damage. They do not understand, but they want to do harm. They will not speak a word of hope, but they will grumble about things and cause trouble. Blind and mute and worse; they are divisive and cause others to stumble.
I.) THE THREAT: DIVISION (vv. 22-25)
The action is Jesus' miraculous healing of a blind, mute and demon-possessed man. However, the contest and issue from here on out is not miracles, or even Jesus' identity, but the threat of division among those who proclaim themselves to be God's children. The current form of the division is a smear campaign against Jesus.
The visible evidence and affect of this division is clearly exposed as:
A.) Jealousy (vv. 22-24)
The Pharisees are not objecting simply because they believe casting out of demons is wrong or not possible by any but Satan.
Their real issue is jealousy over the fact that this young, unproven newcomer, Jesus, has demonstrated greater power and authority than they have and is exercising greater influence while receiving more attention and acclaim from their 'own' people than they are.
B.) Slander (v. 25)
Unable to challenge the clear facts, the Pharisees resort to attacking Jesus personally through a slanderous accusation that they are convinced cannot be disproved (while disregarding that neither can it be proved).
C) Infighting (v. 25)
The infighting we see here is between professed followers of Jehovah.
It has already be seen multiple times n Matthew's gospel the propensity the Pharisees had of automatically and often maliciously questioning and putting an unfavorable 'spin' on everything Jesus said or did. It did not even seem to matter what it was, just so long as it was an opportunity to further disparage and undermine Him.
It was an ongoing struggle over authority, power, influence, personal gain and personal preferences. The repetitive strategies of the Pharisees were: (1) question and criticize anything and everything hoping that enough would 'stick' along the way; (2) personal attacks built on assumption and inference; and (3) cutting down the other guy in order to make themselves look bigger by comparison.
All of this, no less, was targeted at one of their 'own' and with determination, vehemence and persistence - even while their relationship with the Roman outsiders, oppressors and infidels was one of accommodation and tolerance.
The bottom line, according to Jesus, is that division and infighting can only lead to collapse and destruction!
II.) THE OPPONENTS: TWO KINGDOMS (vv. 26-29)
Illustration: Home invasion. Professional thief vs. professional security installer.
Jesus' response, based not just on their actual, public words but on an intimate knowledge of their private thoughts as well, is to point out that there are ONLY two possible sides, two kingdoms, two allegiances.
Every person is either on one side or the other. There is no middle, and there is no one foot in each.
Further, one of the ways of determining which side someone is on is who are they fighting against and who are they fighting for. In this instance, the parties under question are Jesus and the Pharisees.
A.) The Kingdom of Satan
The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a part of the Kingdom of Satan and, so, He Himself begins here.
Notice, however, that through His response Jesus not only defends Himself against this false and slanderous accusation, but He simultaneously describes how it is actually the accusing Pharisees who have proven themselves to be vassals of the Kingdom of Satan.
Christ's first point (v. 26) is that one can not serve the preservation of Satan's kingdom while at the same time tearing it down.