God’s Saving Word: Wisdom
Matthew 12:22-37: Jesus heals a man who is blind and unable to speak. This prompts the religious leaders to challenge Jesus’s authority, claiming that his source of power is demonic. They fail to recognize that God’s Spirit is at work in Jesus to do God’s will. The reading concludes with Jesus issuing a series of warnings about evil and Judgment Day.
Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man, so that he was able to talk and see. 23 The crowds were all amazed at what Jesus had done. “Could he be the Son of David?” they asked.
24 When the Pharisees heard this, they replied, “He drives out demons only because their ruler Beelzebul gives him power to do so.”
25 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and so he said to them, “Any country that divides itself into groups which fight each other will not last very long. And any town or family that divides itself into groups which fight each other will fall apart. 26 So if one group is fighting another in Satan’s kingdom, this means that it is already divided into groups and will soon fall apart! 27 You say that I drive out demons because Beelzebul gives me the power to do so. Well, then, who gives your followers the power to drive them out? What your own followers do proves that you are wrong! 28 No, it is not Beelzebul, but God’s Spirit, who gives me the power to drive out demons, which proves that the Kingdom of God has already come upon you.
29 “No one can break into a strong man’s house and take away his belongings unless he first ties up the strong man; then he can plunder his house.
30 “Anyone who is not for me is really against me; anyone who does not help me gather is really scattering. 31 For this reason I tell you: people can be forgiven any sin and any evil thing they say;[a] but whoever says evil things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who says something against the Son of Man can be forgiven; but whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven—now or ever.
A Tree and Its Fruit
33 “To have good fruit you must have a healthy tree; if you have a poor tree, you will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it bears. 34 You snakes—how can you say good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good person brings good things out of a treasure of good things; a bad person brings bad things out of a treasure of bad things.
36 “You can be sure that on the Judgment Day you will have to give account of every useless word you have ever spoken. 37 Your words will be used to judge you—to declare you either innocent or guilty.”
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 12:30a
[Jesus said:] “Anyone who is not for me is really against me.”
Verses 22-24 indicate the belief at that time that illness was caused by demons or evil spirits. The crowd that witnesses Jesus healing the man is amazed; yet the religious leaders challenge Jesus’s source of power. How does Jesus respond to the Pharisees (verses 25-28)? What is Jesus’s source of power (verse 28)? Reread verses 33-37. How do you interpret Jesus’s statement, “A tree is known by the kind of fruit it bears”?
Dear Jesus, your power comes from God’s Spirit, and you have ushered in the Kingdom of God. Help me to bear “good fruit” to extend your Kingdom and proclaim your salvation and forgiveness of sin through my words and deeds this day. Amen.
Matthew 12:38-50: Jesus redefines the meaning of family.