Blasphemy

Matthew 12:22–37 (NKJV, also appearing in Mark 3:20-30; Luke 11:14-23)

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Jesus’ healing of a blind man who also was demon-possessed drew the ire of the Pharisees.  As was becoming their custom, they criticized the work of Christ and even associated it with sorcery or witchcraft.  Their insistence that Jesus did this work through the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons, was met with Jesus’ contention that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.  Jesus draws the battle lines clearly.  If I am against you, I am not for you.  If I cast out a demon, that demon is not part of my kingdom.  Get on the right side!

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus then addresses what is commonly called the unpardonable sin.  While humans place this label on many things with which they do not agree. Jesus only identifies one such sin that we classify as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  While speaking against the Holy Spirit is a nebulous phrase, having possibly broad-ranging interpretations, it is probably not as simply as speaking once or a few times in opposition to the Holy Spirit and His work.  If so, there would not be a distinction between speaking against Jesus and speaking against the Holy Spirit, since they are both members of the Godhead, the Trinity.  What is spoken of here represents not only words, but an attitude of life.  The arrogance and rebellion of the Pharisees prevented them from responding to the work of the Holy Spirit to draw them to Christ as a result of His Spirited-anointed works on earth.  This was a sign of their hardness of hearts, their wrong thinking that would reject the Son of God.  Their fruit was obvious, and it was bad.

Jesus is telling us today not to reject the work of the Holy Spirit in rebellion and obstinance.  Let the abundance of your heart be Godly.  Speak in favor of God and His work.  Invite the Holy Spirit to come near you and touch you and He will.  You will give an account for your words.  Make them good words and lift up Christ.  He is the demon-chaser, the Healer, the Lord!

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