Matthew 12:15-32 (Pastor Heo)
God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick,16 warning them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. 21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Jesus and Beelzebub
12:25-29pp — Mk 3:23-27; Lk 11:17-22
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.” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
This is the Word of God in human language for our understanding.
v. 15 – Jesus knew…
Remember the last part of the last story? Jesus healed a man with a paralyzed hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Simply because he “worked” and healed on the Sabbath, the Pharisees tried to kill him. So, he withdrew from them. Why?
He was not afraid of them. He was not afraid of death. His purpose to come was to die for the sins of the world. So, why did he escape? Now was not the time. He still had many things to teach and do.
In spite of his withdrawal, many followed him – crowds and more Pharisees. After healing the people in the crowd, he told people not to tell others about him.
- didn’t fight his enemies
- didn’t want people to come before him with wrong motives
- didn’t want to become a worldly powerful person
Isaiah’s prophecy (v. 17-21)
“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:…”
This is the longest OT quotation in Matthew, so let us see how Jesus fulfilled this beautifully.
#1: He will tell the nations what justice is
He shows us how to live in such a way that God and man receive their proper places in our lives. He shows us how to behave toward God and man.
#2: He will never fight, quarrel, cry out in the street
No one will hear his voice in the street. He’s a man of meekness and humility.
1 Peter “To this we are called – because Jesus suffered for us – and we should follow in his steps. Jesus committed no sin, no deceit was found in his mouth – when he suffered he made no threats, instead he entrusted himself to Him who judges rightly…by his wounds we have been healed.”
#3: He will never break the bruised, crushed weed. He will never distinguish a smoldering wick.
A reed may be bruised and hardly able to stand. A wick may be smoldering. A man’s witness, faith may be a flicker, not a flame. But Jesus didn’t come to discourage nor treat with contempt. He came to encourage and treat with compassion and mercy. He didn’t come to put out your flame, but to coax it back to a full flame.
#4: In Him the nations will put their hope
An invitation is present for ALL nations to put their hope in him. In Jesus, there is an offer of peace, and mercy.
But, the Pharisees here say, “He’s a devil himself!” How terrible of them to say!
Jesus said, “If Satan drives out Satan, how can his kingdom stand?…”
Again, a blind mute man was brought to Jesus. He was blind and mute because of demon possession.
But because of this event, the Pharisees said, “This is the power of Beelzebub!” (Beelzebub = Lord of the flies (poop))
At this moment, Jesus pointed out that their statement was illogical and impractical because Satan has his OWN kingdom. (The god of this age, the ruler of the air, the king of this world).
One of the reasons Jesus came (1 John 3:8) into the world was to destroy the works of Satan. The business of Satan is:
- to sin
- to cause men to sin
- to hold/blind unbelievers in their unbelief
That’s why Jesus came to destroy this business of Satan. One day, Jesus said to them (John 8:44) “You belong to your father the devil! He was a murderer from the beginning. There is no truth in him.” When he speaks lies, he speaks in his native language. This is his mother tongue. He is the father of lies.
We must remember that we must not compromise with the devil by sinning, or we will find ourselves fighting against our Lord Jesus. But:
- we must not underestimate the devil – he is very wise and cunning. He never gives up his business until his VISA period is expired in this earth.
- we must not overestimate the devil – he is NOT omniscient (all-knowing), not omnipotent (all-powerful), not omnipresent (everywhere at once). He is limited in his power by God and can only do what God allows him to do.
Because of this fighting between Satan and God, there is no neutrality. (v. 30) “He who is not with me is against me. And he who does not gather with me, scatters.”
What does this mean?
Jesus is a victor over Satan. If we believe this without a doubt, we must decide on who’s side we will stand. There is no “between” sides. No middle ground. We are either for God, or against God.
- It is impossible to know God and remain “neutral” indefinitely.
- It is impossible to know Jesus and not serve him as Lord.
- It is impossible to serve Jesus and not witness.
- It is impossible to love Jesus and do nothing to serve the church (the body of God).
Here is one thing to make this CLEAR:
Mark 9:40, Luke 9:50 – the verse is reversed
“He who is not against me is for me.”
Very contradictory looking. How can we apply these two verses? On what context does Jesus say these things? Every verse must be read and understood based on its appropriate context.
The above verse, one man cast out demons in Jesus’ name – but he wasn’t one of the “special” 12 disciples. Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! No one who does a miracle in my name can say something negative against me in the next moment.”
- The one who is not with me is against me. = a test to apply to ourselves.
- The one who is not against me is with me. = a test to apply to others.
- Judge ourselves with a closed mind.
- Judge others with an open mind.
- Judge ourselves with sternness.
- Judge others with patience, tolerance, and kindness.
The pardonable sins vs. the unpardonable sin (v. 31-32)
- Pardonable? ALL sins – even saying something against the Son of Man.
- Unpardonable? Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Does this mean the Holy Spirit is more important than Jesus? No. (They are ONE, they are EQUAL.) There is no difference in their divinity. So, then, what does this mean?
Jesus = God from eternity to eternity forever, definitely.
Jesus did not say, “the sin against the Son of GOD can be forgiven” but “the sin against the Son of MAN can be forgiven.” Jesus was a MAN for 33 years on this earth. He was a man, a son of man. To speak against Jesus while he was the son of Man could be forgiven. So, those who spoke against him on earth could be forgiven.
For example: his brothers – James, Judas = Jude, Simon
- They didn’t believe in him while he was on earth.
- But, they believed in him AS GOD after he ascended to heaven.
- James wrote “James” in the Bible and became the head of the church in Jerusalem.
- Jude wrote “Jude” and also said, “A servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Both of them sinned against Jesus while he was a man – by not believing. But both believed after he was resurrected, and were forgiven.
“If I drive out the demons by the power of the Holy Spirit, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” What does this mean? The Holy Spirit is testifying to Jesus’ divinity on earth. The most important business of the Holy Spirit is to testify about Jesus (John 15:26) as Messiah – the Truth, the Way, the Life.
After resurrection before ascension – for 40 days, the main topic he talked about was the Holy Spirit “don’t leave Jerusalem until you receive the Holy Spirit.” The last word of Jesus before his ascension is our 2014 verse (Acts 1:8).
1 Corinthians 12:3 “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”
The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (who reveals Jesus as Lord) = the whole lifetime rejection of Jesus Christ.
It is contradictory to believe in Jesus and doubt forgiveness. How can you get forgiveness (assurance of forgiveness) without believing in Jesus as Lord?
God cannot forgive sin JUST based on your repentance. He will forgive only when the penalty is first paid. Jesus PAID it all, first. When we believe in him and repent, we will be forgiven.
May God bless us with the assurance of forgiveness, because without that we cannot have assurance of salvation – based on what Jesus did on the cross.