Matthew 12:22-32 (ESV)

22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

A man unable to see, unable to speak, and oppressed by a demon was brought to Jesus. Wow! What a nightmare! Imagine the horror this man must have experienced. Although there was basically no way to communicate with him, Jesus cast the evil spirit out and completely healed the man. In an instant, he was set free. The crowd around Jesus stood amazed. They asked one another, “Can this be the Son of David?” But the Pharisees refused to believe. Instead, they insisted that Jesus did this great work by the power of Satan. How frustrated Jesus must have been! He explained to them that their logic was ridiculous. Why would Satan use his power to cast himself out of a man? That would make no sense. Then Jesus asked why they believed that their Jewish exorcists could cast demons out, yet failed to believe that he could do the same. Jesus also pointed out that he had just overthrown the enemies of God. The Pharisees should have realized that he was operating under the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s kingdom had clearly arrived.

Jesus called those present to make a choice. Would they be with him or against him (v. 30)? The need to respond rightly to Jesus is so critical that eternal condemnation would result for the people present who attributed the Holy Spirit’s work to Satan. Though Jesus continued to prove that his preaching was true via miracles, many people remained unwilling to believe. Many times, resistance to Jesus isn’t an intellectual problem. In fact, most often, it’s an issue of the will. If he is who he said he is, then we must do things his way, and we can no longer live as we please. The need to live under Christ’s authority can be more of a stumbling block than the reality of Jesus’ origin, life, and death. If you are currently rejecting Jesus because you don’t want to do things his way, ask him to make you willing to do his will. Let today be the day of full surrender to him. And if you are a follower, pray that those in your life who are resisting the Holy Spirit’s witness would make the choice to be found with him. Pray that they would feel no peace until they also decide to do things God’s way.