Lesson 135—October 23, 2016
Whose Side Are You On?
Audio Commentary by David Daniel
Scripture: Matthew 12:22-30; Mark 3:22-27
Lesson Goal: To see the power of Jesus at work against the false accusations brought against Him by the scribes and Pharisees.
Introduction: In the midst of the moment where people are evaluating the Lord Jesus Christ concerning His mental state and condition, a man is brought to Him. This is a man of sadness and hopelessness. He has serious and multiple problems; he is blind, unable to speak, and demon possessed.
(v. 22) Matthew simply states that “He healed him.” The man with multiple infirmities of mind, body and spirit was completely healed by Jesus. MacArthur states: “In one act, Jesus’ dominion over both the spirit world of demons and the physical world of disease [was verified].” But once again many of those who witnessed Jesus’ healing power and miracles remained blind to the fact of who Jesus really was. Many of the common folks, and certainly all the religious leaders, knew that the Messiah would be a man of miracles. They knew His miracles would be signs that He was indeed the Messiah. But in spite of these clear evidences, the majority remained blind because they envisioned a messiah of military brawn and political power. Instead of mighty armies and political authority, Jesus was a man of compassion, meekness, humility and mercy. Instead of a highly trained army of the military elite following Him, they saw a bunch of ordinary everyday folks, some even misfits. Rather than the highly educated social and religious aristocrats, they saw some of society’s outcasts and religion’s nonconformists.
(Matthew 12:23) “The multitudes were amazed.” In their amazement, the most important question of all time in religious and Jewish thought was raised: “Could this be the Son of David?” Could this radical misunderstood man called Jesus be the Messiah?
How would you answer: “Could this radical misunderstood man called Jesus be the Messiah”? What is the basis for your answer?
For some, the question must be asked and the answer must be found!
The fact that this question was asked motivated the religious leaders to intensify their efforts to destroy the claims and very life of Jesus. That the people would ask such a question posed a major threat to the scribes, Pharisees and religious rulers.
Why did the religious leaders feel threatened by Jesus?
Matthew 12:24 says, “when the Pharisees heard it….” Heard what?
Heard that the question had been raised: “Could this be the Son of David?” Please read 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:3; Isaiah 9:6-7. Also read and examine the context of Matthew 21:9.
The literal question “Could this be the Son of David?” sent the Pharisees and scribes into all out panic. The question brought fear and motivated angry actions. Their worst fears were perhaps being realized. Would anyone in their right mind believe a madman who was obviously out of His mind?
In the parallel passage found in Mark 3:22, we read that some scribes had traveled from Jerusalem to Capernaum joining forces with the Pharisees to squash this heretical madman.
(Matthew 12:24b and Mark 3:22)
With harshness and hostility, these religious leaders make their case to one another, but again it was one of those “under-the-breath” comments, the ultimate critical whisper. The scribes and Pharisees draw their conclusion that the only way such things could be done is if “He has Beelzebub, and, by the ruler of the demons” He casts out demons.
Please take a moment to think on the deduction that the scribes and Pharisees made. Think on the summary conclusion which they drew.
What was their summary conclusion?
Please remember that those who make up the scribes and Pharisees are supposedly the most intellectual and highly educated religious men in all of Judaism.
How does their conclusion show their lack of reason and certainly their lack of wisdom?
(Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:23)
Matthew tells us: “Jesus knew their thoughts.” Mark adds that Jesus “called them to himself.”
Jesus knew their thoughts before He spoke to their accusations. He said to them, “Come over here.”
What might the scribes and Pharisees have been thinking when Jesus summoned them to come over?
Without the opportunity to make their case against Jesus to Jesus, these religious leaders will hear Jesus’ response. Only in their critical whispers to one another has their conclusion been made concerning Beelzebub as the power behind Jesus. Now Jesus lets them know they have been had! Busted!!
Beelzebub (literally—Lord of the flies) is another name for satan (2 Kings 1:3) “The name is related to the pagan Canaanite god Baal. The scribes called him “prince of demons” (Hobbs).
Their conclusion—Jesus was of satan, in partnership with him.
Jesus’ response (Matthew 12:25-30 and Mark 3:23-27): “How can satan cast out satan?” If a kingdom, or a house, be divided against itself, it cannot stand (vv. 24-25). And if satan rises up against himself and be divided, he cannot stand but has an end (v. 26).
The scribes and Pharisees were absolutely ridiculous with their conclusions. Please read 1 John 3:8. Jesus was in the process of destroying the works of satan.
Warren Wiersbe offers great insight:
Jesus was able to cast out demons because He had first defeated satan, the prince of the demons. Jesus entered satan’s kingdom, overcame his power and claimed the spoils. His victory was through the Spirit of God and not the power of the evil one. This means that God is victorious over satan and that men must decide on whose side they will stand. There can be no compromise. We are either with God or against God.
Whose side are you on?
How do people recognize whose side you are on?
What is your proof that you are on Jesus’ side?