Summary: The teachers of the law made three errors - they (1) Chose to stick with their self-centred agenda, blinded to that which is obvious; (2) Chose to remain uncommitted, preferring to sit on the fence and take a middle ground; and (3) Chose to believe m
God did not leave us without any evidence that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.
• The Gospels are full of recordings of His miraculous deeds and amazing claims.
• In the face of evidence, man can still reject Him.
We’ve seen that on numerous occasions in the Scriptures
• People has seen the miraculous, yet they have chosen not to believe
• Not because they are unable to (for a lack of evidence) but rather because they are NOT WILLING to
• Too much is at stake sometimes, if you choose to believe
• For the Pharisees and scribes – if they were persuaded, they would have to change their beliefs, their traditions, and their way of life.
Do we not sometimes feel that way? We know what is right, yet find it difficult to act on it?
We have such a case this morning. The evidence before them demands a response.
The teachers of the law made three errors - they
(1) Chose to stick with their self-centred agenda, blinded to that which is obvious;
(2) Chose to remain uncommitted, preferring to sit on the fence and take a middle ground; and
(3) Chose to believe more in the power of the devil, rather than the power of God
1. BE AWARE OF WHAT GOD IS DOING
– Don’t be blinded by our own, tiny-winy, small agenda in life
After seeing a miracle – a good one at that, the conclusion they had was this:
• Jesus was a possessed man - possessed by Beelzebub.
The context is clearer in Luke 11:14-15
14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, "By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons."
Matthew reveals more - Matt 12:22-24
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons that this fellow drives out demons."
We are not told much about this poor man.
• None of the writers tells us his name, where he came from, or how long he has been tormented. All we know is that this man was demon-possessed and that this demon caused the man to be unable to speak and unable to see, in Matthew’s account.
• Jesus healed this man and he was able to speak and see immediately.
This miraculous cure was met with varied responses. The crowd was amazed (Luke); they were astonished (Matt), and began to wonder who this Jesus was.
The religious leaders had a different reaction.
3:22 tells us the teachers of the law "came down from Jerusalem..."
• They were probably sent by the Sanhedrin council – to trail Him and find fault with Him.
• They could not deny that an incredible miracle had happened - a miracle that required explanation and interpretation.
• Since they could not deny the power that Jesus possessed - the man had indeed been delivered - they had to question the source of His power.
They levelled two accusations at Jesus.
First - they say that He is “possessed by Beelzebub”
• the identity of Beelzebub is found in OT (2 Kings 1:2) the name meant ’Lord of Flies’ or ’Lord of Filth’ and was a name later given to the prince of demons, Satan.
• Jesus uses the name Satan directly in response.
Kent Hughes says, “It is a fitting name for Satan, but a monstrous slander when used for Christ.... It was a calculated blasphemy of immense perversity.”
Second accusation - they take that reasoning one step further
• Not only is He possessed, He is empowered by Satan - "By the prince of demons He is driving out demons." (v.12) He does things by the power of Satan.
• By saying this they were ascribing the gracious works of God to Satan.
• Jesus called this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit - "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." (v.29).
In the light of the context, this refers to an attitude - not some deeds or words –
• But an attitude of defiant hostility towards God
• It is the stubborn unbelief, despite the evidence God has provided
• This disbelief puts us, naturally, outside God’s forgiveness – because His plan was to provide forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ
They were blinded to what was rather obvious. Their accusations were lame and absurd.