"Jesus' Authority over the Strong Man"- Matthew 12:22-37

Core Belief: Salvation By Grace, I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Scripture: Matthew 12:22-37 "Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?”  But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.”  Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.  But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.  For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.  “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.  Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.  “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

Message of the Passage: The story begins by Jesus healing a man who cannot see or talk. He is opposed by people who can physically see but they are blind to what is actually happening right before their very eyes. They can easily speak, but they have no idea what they are saying. After witnessing these healing's some started to question if Jesus was indeed the Messiah but the Pharisees they claimed that Jesus got His power to cast out demons from Satan. Jesus responded with a series of logical arguments. First, if He were casting out demons by the help of the ruler of demons then the demonic kingdom was self-destructing. He would be undoing his own work, and if he continued, his kingdom would be doomed to self-destruction. Jesus also mentioned that some of the Pharisees’ own followers were casting out demons. Were they empowered by Satan as well? Jesus then explained that He cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is much stronger than any evil spirit. Jesus explained that by using greater power, He was able to “tie up the strong man,” Satan, and free the people he’d held captive. He then went on to warn the Pharisees that they were guilty of a sin that could never be forgiven: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Jesus goes on to tell us that a tree will be known by its fruits. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior – unless, or until, God works the miracle of transformation in a person’s life. And finally Jesus tells us that words reveal character. “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”.

The Pharisees had uttered some terrible words about Jesus and His work and Jesus is holding them responsible for what they have said. In so doing He points specifically to the way in which one’s words express the nature of the inner person—attitudes, preferences, thoughts, and ambitions. The key is in the sentence, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” We discover the character of a person by the words or conversation which express the inner life. Ultimately, our judgment will be on the basis of our own words, a disclosure that will either lead to our being justified or being condemned.

Personal Reflection: Use the following questions to help review the application of God’s Word to our Head (What does God want me to know?), to our Heart (What does God want me to desire/value?), and to our Hands (What does God want me to do?)

  • Looking back at the message, is there anything that especially resonated or challenged you?

  • From this passage, what aspect of Jesus’ character and work is particularly meaningful and encouraging to you?

  • How would your daily living change if you were responding to the situations and relationships of life from a heart filled with hope in the Lord?

  • What is your understanding of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?  

  • If someone took a video of the last 6 months of your life, what would they say you treasure?

  • Read verses 25-29. What was the logic of Jesus’ answer to their accusation? What does he teach us about the work of God? (1Co 4:20)

  • Read verses 30-32. What is the serious warning Jesus gives to those who attribute the work of God’s Spirit to the devil? Why is this such a serious matter?

  • Read verses 33-37. How can one distinguish between the work of God and the work of demons? How can we speak words and do deeds that build up and encourage others? Who are good people?

  • Read 1 John 4:4 and reflect on how that applies to your life.

  • In Matthew 12:33-37, Jesus is saying your speech reveals your character. How do you respond to that principle?