A Moment With The Bible
Matthew 12:22-30 #2
When the Pharisees could not deny the miracles of Jesus, they tried to discredit Him by saying that the source of His power was not from God but from Satan. Jesus proved that such could not be since Satan would not turn against his own kingdom and cast himself out. This being true, we are left with a simple conclusion: if the power did not come from Satan, it could have only come from God. Therefore Jesus states, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” If the Pharisees were honest they would have realized that the casting out of demons was proof that God was now conquering Satan and therefore His kingdom (rule), that had been repeatedly prophesied in the Old Testament, had come.
Notice Jesus’ description of how He was conquering Satan in verse 29. Jesus could not be “plundering the strong man’s goods” unless He had first bound the strong man. The casting out of demons was intended to show to everyone that Jesus was now taking away the power of Satan. Hebrews 4:14-15 says it this way: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Jesus cast out demons in order to prove that He was destroying Satan and releasing mankind from the bondage of death.
These facts offer two important lessons for us. First, Zechariah 13:1 prophesied that in the days of the Messiah God would cause the unclean spirit to depart from the land. This was fulfilled during the first century by Jesus and the apostles and proved that Satan had been conquered. Therefore, we no longer have demon possession. We certainly have other problems caused by Satan (1 Peter 5:8), but demon possession is not one of them.
Second, since Jesus conquered Satan, we also have the ability to overcome Him. If we will obey Him (Acts 2:37-38) and walk in the light (1 John 1:7), the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sins. But we need to heed Jesus’ warning in verse 30. There are only two kingdoms: God’s and Satan’s. We are serving one or the other. Just saying we are serving God does not make it so. If we say we know Him and do not keep His commandments, we are liars (1 John 2:3-5).
A Moment With The Bible
Matthew 12:22-30 #1
At this point in Matthew’s account, the unbelief of the Pharisees is being increasingly challenged. Not only is Jesus doing notable miracles in their presence, the people are beginning to recognize Him as the Messiah (“Can this be the son of David?”). Therefore, the Pharisees must find some way to discredit Him if they are going to keep their power and influence with the people. Here is where their defense gets interesting. Instead of denying that Jesus performed a miracle in healing the demon-possessed man, they deny that the source of His power is from God. But in doing so, they have admitted that Jesus is actually performing miracles and casting out demons. This provides irrefutable evidence that the miracles of Jesus were not faked. If the Pharisees could have denied the miracle they would have. But since they cannot deny it, they deny the source is of God.
This leaves Jesus with the easy task of proving that the power to cast out demons could not come from Satan. Satan would not cast out His own demons without destroying his own kingdom, since a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
Jesus then challenges the Pharisees concerning their own disciples who also practiced exorcism. Josephus tells us of Jewish exorcists who practiced elaborate incantations after hanging a root from the nose of the demoniac. The root itself had to be gathered in a special way or else it would be sure death to the person who harvested it. The contrast between their exorcisms and the miracles of Jesus where the demons were cast out with just a word, would have been notable. Therefore, Jesus’ challenge is that if He was using the power of the devil, then what power were the Pharisees using when they used the appearance of witchcraft to cast out a demon?
Have you ever questioned whether or not Jesus actually performed miracles? It is a legitimate question and one that determines whether Jesus is really the Son of God. The answer is in this text. The enemies of Jesus, who were eyewitnesses, could not deny His power. Their testimony offers solid proof to the authenticity of Jesus.