Jesus, Our Victor!
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can 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. I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
First His family says “He is out of His mind” and now the teachers of the law are claiming that Jesus is demonically possessed and driving out demons with Satan’s power. It is amazing how low people can go when they are seeking to destroy someone, is it not? There was no arguing the fact that Christ had cast out demons–proof was present! Therefore, the enemy sought to twist and distort our Lord’s miraculous works. Satan never voluntarily abandons his possessions. Someone stronger, Someone with more authority, must come and overpower him. That Someone is Jesus, our Victor!
Satan is a creature of vengeance, doing anything he can to keep us from rightly worshipping and serving God. He is always on the prowl, trying to make us like one of his own. If he can’t get us to stop our worship of the Almighty, he attempts to diminish or distract us from Him. He hates God being worshipped because he craves desires to have that worship for himself. Indeed, he desires to be God. The five “I will’s” of the devil are synonymous with the “I will’s” of the King of Babylon presented in Isaiah–Satan being the real power behind that pagan king:
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Remember as well that the adversary tempted Jesus with a vain effort to get Him to fall prostrate at his unholy feet:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” (Matthew 4:8-10)
Jesus counters the teachers of the law’s inane accusations with reason. Rather than avoiding or shunning the opposition, our Lord refutes their charges directly: What would it possibly behoove Satan to fight against himself? How would his kingdom of darkness stand much less advance if he were in constant opposition battling evil against evil?
Satan–depicted by Jesus as the strong man–whose houses are filled with sin, sickness, sorrow, and death, does not give up without a battle. It is he who must be tied up in order for the captive to be set free. Jesus disarmed Satan’s power with the cross. The victory belongs to all believers! We have life in Jesus! All sin carries with it a death sentence–death to relationships, death to fullness of joy, death to character, death to life. When you really think about it, what does anyone ever gain from sin but destruction and death?
Take It to Heart
All the sins against God are open to God’s forgiveness with one exception: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In light of the context in which Jesus gives this warning, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit seems to have more to do with a prevailing attitude of defiant hostility toward God–a rejection of His saving power–rather than an isolated act or utterance.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)