The Kingdom Has Arrived.
Matthew 12:22-37; Mark 3:20-30
“But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.” – Matthew 12:28 NLT
The utter blindness of the religious leaders towards Jesus and His claim to be the Messiah seemed to be limitless. It didn’t matter what He said or did, they refused to recognize the power and authority that oozed from every pore of His being. His very words had power. At His command the seas calmed, the lame walked, the blind gained sight, the demon-possessed were set free, water turned to wine, and the dead rose from the grave alive. He miraculously fed 5,000 people with a meager meal that was barely enough for a single boy. He walked on water. He forgave sins. He taught with a power and authority that no one had ever seen before. Thousands flocked to see Him. And yet the religious leaders were blinded by their own arrogance, pride, self-righteousness and greed-driven ambition.
Their logic was illogical. The conclusions they reached were far-fetched and made no sense given the overwhelming evidence. How in the world could they seriously believe that the reason behind Jesus’ ability to cast out demons was that He was demon-possessed Himself? They had just witnessed Jesus and His encounter with a man who had three strikes against him. He was blind and mute. But as if that wasn’t bad enough – he had a demon. But none of that was a problem for Jesus. He simply healed him. The crowd was amazed and began to wonder if He really could be the Messiah. But the Pharisees reached a different conclusion, saying, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24 NLT).
It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that these men could have witnessed something so amazing and still have written off as a trick of Satan. In essence, they were attributing to the enemy what was an obvious work of God. Which is why Jesus warned them about blasphemy against the Spirit. He tells them that to attribute to Satan anything that was a work of God through the Spirit was unforgivable. It was dangerous territory. But they refused to believe that God was at work in their midst and that the Kingdom of God had arrived. Their very words revealed the true nature of their hearts. And God was going to hold them accountable for both their words and actions.
But the real point is that Jesus clearly claims to be stronger than Satan. That is the reason He was able to cast out demons with a simple command. He gives them a much more logical conclusion to reach. “But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you” (Matthew 12:28 NLT). Why? Because only God would have the kind of power to defeat Satan. “Only someone even stronger – someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house” (Matthew 12:29 NLT). Which is exactly what they had just watched Jesus do. But they couldn’t bring themselves to see it or admit it. And so they would miss out on it – the Kingdom that is. They had the very Messiah of God standing in their presence. They were witness to the power of God working right before their eyes. But instead of confess Jesus as the Messiah and His power as coming from God, they attributed it all to the enemy. They gave Satan credit for what had been done by God. Not the wisest move in the world.
And yet, how often do we fail to see God at work in our midst? How many times have we been blind to the working of God in our lives, even occasionally blaming the enemy, because things didn’t turn out quite the way we had hoped. Jesus was not what the Pharisees expected. He did not come in the manner they supposed He would. He didn’t look like they thought He would. He didn’t teach and speak in a way that tracked with their conclusions and their own dogma. He was not only a disappointment, but a nuisance. So they plotted to get rid of Him. They looked right past the evidence because it failed to prove or support what they were wanting to see. And we can be guilty of the same thing. We can refuse to see Jesus working in our lives because He doesn’t do it the way we want Him to. When He doesn’t keep our agenda, we can easily become blinded to His presence in our lives. Just like the Pharisees. But the Kingdom has come. And He rules and reigns according to His terms, not ours. He does as He wishes. He works in our lives according to His plan. His power is on display every day for us to see, but we can easily become blind to it. The proof of who He is is all around us. May we open our eyes and see His power at work and praise Him accordingly.
Father, forgive me for failing to recognize and acknowledge the power of Your Son at work in and around my life. I know there are times that I give Satan more credit than I do Jesus because things don’t appear to be going the way I wanted them to. But He is King. He is sovereign. He is in complete control. He is stronger than Satan and He has tied him up and plundered his house. May I see that increasingly more clearly with each passing day. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men