Matthew 12:22-30

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.

23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.

28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Is not this … ? (v.23) — Their question was phrased to expect a negative reply.

Son of David (v.23) — They knew of the promised Messiah by this title.

The people were beginning to wonder if Jesus was who He said He was (v.23). The Pharisees (most likely) responded as they did because of fear that they were losing their influence (v.24).

The question arose not because of insufficient evidence but rather because the Pharisees had rejected Christ. Having been taught that they were sheep who should follow the shepherds, they could not conceive of accepting Christ apart from the approval of the Pharisees. Therefore, a conflict arose in their minds over the evidence that Christ presented and the response of the Pharisees to that evidence. They professed a willingness to accept Christ if the Pharisees approved but felt they must reject Him since the Pharisees disapproved. The Pharisees quickly presented their explanation of the miracle that had so convinced the multitude. “It is only by Beelzubub …” — Pentecost, page 205.

Beelzebub (v.24) — see notes on Matthew 10:25

Jesus knew their thoughts (v.25) — This had to be disconcerting.

Jesus revealed in His answer, first, the folly of their suggestion; secondly, the inconsistency thereof; thirdly, the willful rebellion that induced it; fourthly, the blindness which caused it; and, finally, their complicity with Satan as the secret of it. So that commencing by denying His own complicity with Satan logically, and in such a way that they could not reply, He ended by inferentially charging upon them complicity with Satan. — Morgan, page 129.

your sons (v.27) — Jewish exorcists? (Acts 19:13)

Some in Israel could cast out demons, and Israel deemed them to be God’s gifts to the nation. Even the Pharisees acknowledged this manifestation of God’s power and thanked Him for the gift of the exorcists. Christ’s argument was that since the Pharisees recognized the ability to drive out demons as coming from God, they should not charge Him with being demon-possessed when He drove out demons. The implication of Christ’s words was that if He cast out demons by Satan’s power, He could not be offering the prophesied kingdom of God to them. “But,” He said, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Since Christ did cast out demons by God’s power, it must be concluded that His offer of the kingdom was genuine and He was its bonafide King. — Pentecost, page 206

has come upon you (v.28) = lit. “has come upon you unawares”

The strong man (v.29) is Satan, but the Lord, stronger than Satan, had bound him and has the power to enter his domain and take away his prey. When then is He who bound the enemy? Perhaps His voice rested here. Perhaps He waited for an answer. “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God” would have been in order here.

And stronger still He speaks. “He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathers not with Me scatters.” He demands decision. Half-heartedness does not satisfy Him and in face of such open-faced accusations and blasphemies would be impossible. it was an appeal to decide. — Gaebelein, page 248.

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