AUGUST 22- Nº 234 Matthew 12:22-37
God sometimes granted Pharisees the power necessary to cast out demons. But to do this, they had to plug the name of the demon into a formula, then demand that it leave. However, if the demon kept the possessed person from speaking, the exorcist could not discover its name and healing was impossible. Jewish leaders had obviously faced this dilemma in the past. For centuries, they had stated (and later recorded in the Mishnah—their sacred teachings) that when the Messiah came, he would be able to cast a demon out of a person who could not speak. One day, a demon-possessed man was brought to Jesus. It was no accident that this man was mute (as well as blind). This was obviously a test designed to discredit the Messianic claims that Jesus had made. Jesus did not hesitate to heal the man. Without asking for a name or using a formula, he cast the demon out! Immediately the man could see and speak again! This was the second “Messianic Miracle” that Jesus performed (see #226 - August 14). The miracle amazed the crowds. No one had ever seen anything like this before! “Could this be the Messiah—the Son of David?” they wondered out loud. “It must be!” many concluded. The Pharisees could not deny that the miracle had taken place or that Jesus was the one who performed it. Too many people had been there to witness it! But they hated Jesus so much for his blatant disregard of their teachings and disrespect for their traditions that they looked for a way to discredit him. They chose to deny the source of his power! When confronted by the crowds they admitted, “Yes, this man performed this miracle.” Then they added, “However, the power he used did not come from God—his power must have come from Satan, the prince of the demons! He is from the devil!” Jesus tried to explain that their argument made no sense. “Why would Satan cast himself out?” he asked. “He would be defeating his own purposes. And since I am able to cast him out, doesn’t that prove that I am stronger than he is? According to your own teachings, this miracle proves that I am the Messiah—that I represent the kingdom of God!” Then Jesus said to the leaders of the nation of Israel, “The fact that you have denied that I receive my power from the Holy Spirit is unforgivable! It is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and that cannot be pardoned! You have said all kinds of bad things about me that can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven!” From that point on, Jesus’ ministry changed dramatically!
Have you ever worried that you might have committed the “unpardonable sin?” You don’t have to! There is only one “unpardonable sin,” and it was committed by the religious leaders of Israel. God gave them every opportunity to believe that Jesus was His Son but ultimately, they rejected him as Israel’s Messiah! They accused him of getting his power from Satan rather than from the Holy Spirit. The only thing we can ever do that will keep us from going to heaven is to die without accepting Jesus as our own personal Messiah!