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.”
Matthew 12:22-37 NLT
Today we see Jesus heal a man who was possessed by an evil spirit that caused him to be blind and mute. The crowd that has been following Jesus began to “see” that Jesus is not an ordinary man, they wonder if he is the coming Messiah. This is a victory for Jesus who wanted the people to understand that he was more than just a healer of flesh he is a healer of our broken and sinful hearts.
If you remember from past blogs, Jesus always has religious leaders following him. They have eyes to see what he does and ears to hear him speak. Yet, when the Pharisees hear the report of Jesus healing this man they have an opposite reaction. They accuse Jesus of being able to remove the demon because his power came from Satan. Knowing their thoughts he doesn’t quarrel with them, instead he responds calmly with logic and truth:
- Why would Satan cast out his own demons?
- Were they implying the religious leaders who perform exorcists were also followers of Satan?
- Only the Spirit of God can cast out demons because He is more powerful than Satan.
Jesus summarizes their reaction boldly to all who were with him: Where do you stand with me? Are you for me or against me?
This is absolutely the most important question any of us will ever answer because it determines our eternity. I pray that all who are reading this know their answer and if you want or need additional information about eternal life, please contact me in the comments.
Next, Jesus says, “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.” (Matthew 12:31-32 NLT)
I’m going to tell you right now these words have at least two schools of thought. I am going to show you what my study Bible says first:
“The Pharisees had blasphemed against the Spirit by attributing the power by which Christ did miracles to Satan instead of the Holy Spirit. The unpardonable sin is the deliberate refusal to acknowledge God’s power in Christ. It indicates a deliberate and irreversible hardness of heart. Sometimes believers worry that they have accidentally committed this unforgivable sin. But only those who have turned their backs on God and rejected all faith have any need to worry. Jesus said they can’t be forgiven—not because their sin is worse than any other, but because they will never ask for forgiveness. Whoever rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit removes himself or herself from the only force that can lead him or her to repentance and restoration to God.”
Another study Bible says this: “blasphemy against the Spirit. Technically, according to the scribes, blasphemy involved direct and explicit abuse of the divine name. Jesus here teaches that it also may be the reviling of God by attributing the Spirit’s work to Satan. The special circumstances involved in this blasphemy cannot be duplicated today; therefore, this sin cannot now be committed.”
One group of Christians believes in the literal translation, that when you blaspheme the Holy Spirit it is an unpardonable sin, even today. Why? Because it’s spoken by Jesus and in the Word of God, therefore, it is true.
Other Christians believe the sin of blasphemy cannot be duplicated today once we ask for forgiveness for our sins, and believe that Jesus is the Messiah who died for all of our sins; past, present, and future. What is blasphemy is when we die with a hardened heart by deliberately turning our backs on Jesus. This is an unpardonable sin that will result in eternal damnation.
What do I believe? I believe that the sin of blasphemy cannot be duplicated today but the sin of rejecting Jesus will cause eternal damnation. Do I believe this because I have loved ones who have not committed their hearts to Jesus and have said some very inflammatory things against the Lord? Perhaps! Regardless of what I believe, I encourage you to research both opinions and come to your own conclusion.
Jesus ends by telling us we can identify a tree by the fruit it produces, specifically whether it is good or bad fruit. This is normally one of my favorite verses because it reminds me to think before I speak and let the words of my mouth be pleasing to the Lord.
However, I can’t clean up my heart problem by simply just watching what I say. I have to coach myself through the process of what I’m thinking and compare it to what God says in His word.
Remember in the last lesson we are told that Jesus “will not quarrel or cry out.” So if the “fruit” I’m about to speak will cause a quarrel or cause me or someone else to cry out (yell or scream), it’s best I keep my “fruit” to myself until I can work through how to say what needs to be said so it is good and not evil.
A good book to help us all with our words is “The Grace and Truth Paradox” by Randy Alcorn. We certainly don’t want to be referred to as a “brood of vipers” like the religious leaders were by Jesus!
In the end, Jesus warns us that we will all give an account for what we do and what we say. If that alone doesn’t scare you into considering what type of fruit is about to come out of your mouth, I’m not sure what will!!
Closing Prayer: Father God, I confess to you today that I am a sinner and often times the fruit that comes out of my mouth is rotten fruit. Thank you for your forgiveness and I pray that I consider what I am about to say every minute of every day before it leaves my lips. Father, I ask for salvation for my loved ones who refuse to acknowledge you are God. I pray that you put an apostle in front of each of them who will be able to influence their hearts for you. Father, I trust and believe that you alone are the one who can and will save them in spite of their blasphemous hearts and words. It is this truth that keeps me calm and patient as I wait for your mighty works. Thank you, LORD. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.