14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Jesus exorcised a demon from a man who couldn’t speak. This man’s inability to talk was a result of evil activity. The demon left the man, the man spoke, and the people marveled. Simple enough, right? The word translated as “marvel” is a Greek word that literally means “to be extraordinarily impressed or disturbed by something.” These people knew there was something undoubtedly legitimate about Jesus and what he did. So what happened? Did they fall down in repentance and faith? Nope. Although the crowd was amazed by Jesus’ actions, they still didn’t believe. Some said he cast out the demon by the power of hell, and others tried to test him. They wanted more signs. Jesus knew exactly what they thought. He responded by explaining that Satan would not work against himself. That would be counterproductive. In addition, if the religious leaders drove out demons, they would have done it by the power of hell as well. But if they did it by the power of God, then God was at work in Jesus too. The crowd was just pushing for a reason not to believe.
Clearly, the supernatural was involved in Jesus’ work, so some attributed it to Satan. If they said it was the Lord, then they would have to line up under his authority. They didn’t want that. Others said, “That’s fine, but we want even more signs.” What kind of signs? What would be enough? People around us often respond the same way. Many agree that there’s something unique about Jesus, but they don’t want to consent that he is the only way to the Father. Others will say “sure,” but need even more proof. How much proof? If someone you know is demanding more, ask this simple question: “If I were to answer all the questions you have about Christianity in an intelligent and logical way, would you become a follower of Jesus?” Many times the answer will be “No.” Just like Jesus’ first century audience, our problem with God is usually a problem of our will. No one wants to come under the authority of God. But when the Lord removes the blinders, we not only want to believe, but we also desire to do things God’s way. If you are a believer today, thank Jesus for changing your desires. And keep praying that God would cause in those around you a willingness to follow Jesus as well.