Jesus Refutes the Pharisees: Matt 12:22-29
3 Rational Arguments against the Claims of the Pharisees
From the article: "Evolutionists: blind to the obvious
UnMasking Mistakes in Memes of Evolution – Part 4"
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Matthew Chapter 12:
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.
23 All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"
24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?
27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.
28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 "Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.
Let's follow this step by step to see how Jesus demonstrates it is not he who is under the power of Satan, but rather those making the accusation.
1. Verse 22 - Jesus undeniably casts the demon out of the man and heals him of both his blindness and muteness. Note this is a very powerful, miraculous act. More importantly, it was undeniable because the evidence of the healed man was right in front of their face.
2. Verse 24 - The Pharisees cannot deny the miracle itself. The man is standing there as a testimony to all. So instead, they deny the miracle came from God. That's a big mistake.
3. Verse 25-26 - Jesus begins to show the flaws in their
Flaw 1. The United Kingdom/Self Preservation Argument.
At the nation level - civil wars are recognized to be extremely damaging to a nation. President Lincoln understood his greatest responsibility to be ending the American civil war. At the individual level, rationally minded people recognize to destroy your own body or property is counter-productive madness, and thus do not go about burning down their own homes or destroying their own property. Here Jesus makes two points: A) God claims ownership over all (Psalm 24.1 - "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;") Thus B) for God to destroy anything good thing he has created is to be "divided" against himself and working against his own kingdom. Do you erect a building just to tear it down? Rationally minded people don't. Neither does God. Thus for God to "possess" someone only to throw him back out is to be divided against his own interests. That's an irrational approach.
4. Verse 27-28 - Flaw 2 - The Judgment Argument
Jesus makes clear that in that day, there were people that the Pharisees approved of who also claimed to be casting out demons. Mere men cannot cast out demons by their own power, they must rely on the power of a greater being being. The point Jesus makes here, is - what higher being were the people that you approve of who were casting out demons - using? Any way they answer that they indict themselves.
If they claim they recognize their own exorcists to be using the power of God, why could they not recognize the same power at work in Jesus? If they could not recognize that same power, (or if they could and were just being hypocrites in their opposition to Jesus), their own exorcists would condemn their actions and attitude toward Jesus. And since such exorcists obviously had the ear of God, such charges against the Pharisees would no doubt be heard.
If they claim they recognize their own exorcists to be using the power of Satan, aside from being hypocritical to deny Jesus what their own people are doing, what's even more important is such dealing with demons is forbidden in the law (Deut 18.9-13); they would be condemned by God himself for allowing such a practice.
So with the Judgment Argument, Jesus impales the Pharisees on the horns of a dilemma of hypocrisy from which they cannot escape. The Pharisees should recognize that in the spiritual realm - only the King - God himself - has the power and authority to throw out usurpers. A point he makes explicitly in his final argument.
5. Verse 29 - Flaw 3 - The Strongman Argument
Consider a strong man: A gangster, a drug cartel leader, the leader of a military coup. Consider him holed up in his base of operations. How are you going to extricate him? As Boromir points out in the Lord of the Rings of the strongman Sauron, "One does not simply walk into Mordor..." No, to extricate a strong man takes an even stronger man. Satan is acknowledged to be a very "strong man" in scripture. Humans can only overcome him through the power of God. (Mark 9.28-29). And yet Jesus was able to cast out every demon he encountered. (Mark 1.33-34) How was he able to do that? Clearly because the Kingdom of God had come upon them, because he, the King was standing in their midst.
Thus Jesus shows the utter foolishness of the accusation of the Pharisees with these three powerful, argument based on easy to understand rational principles.
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