Matthew 12 : 22 - 28, Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. NKJV
If you were to be able to go back to the days when Jesus walked the earth and ask the scribes and Pharisees who they represented, they would tell you that they were servants of God. We know that Jesus was both God’s servant and His voice to the Jews. However, in this passage today we see contention between Jesus and the religious rulers of the synagogues.
The leaders of Judaism accused Jesus of casting out demons through the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons. Instead of acknowledging the authority that rested on Jesus as being from God, the Pharisees lied against Him. Why was there contention between Jesus and the Pharisees, if they all represented God’s will in the earth? The Pharisees weren’t submitted to God’s will; they only did what pleased them. They continually did things in order to get the attention and accolades of man, but Jesus sought to please the Father. Consequently, there was always contention between them.
Whenever a church leader or believer becomes offended at God because He hasn’t allowed them to do what they want to do, the enemy will use such an occasion to tempt them. I call this form of temptation a “spirit of distraction.” It leads “good,” well-meaning people astray in their hearts and away from God’s will, so that they become consumed with fulfilling their own will or agenda.
You can see in today’s passage that the Pharisees opposed Jesus, even though His heart was set to please only the Father. Whenever people get distracted by their own agenda, they can become enemies of the cause of Christ. (I will give you a scripture to confirm in a moment) We see the contention and the hostility that the Pharisees, the scribes, and the elders of Israel had against Jesus when He sought to please God. As you step out to know and to fulfill God’s will for your life, you, too, must guard your heart from “going after” your own desire or agenda. The quickest and easiest way to fall prey to the spirit of distraction and contention is through offense.
James teaches us how to overcome the accusations and temptations of Satan. First, we are to submit to God, and then we can resist Satan. As long as we remain submitted in our hearts to God with a clear conscience, we won’t fall prey to demonic attacks. I want to leave you today with a verse that confirms the principle that I’ve shared with you.
John 16 : 1 - 3, "These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. NKJV
Notice that there is a difference between pleasing God, as Jesus did, and offering God service, as the Pharisees did. Jesus always did those things that pleased His heavenly Father. The Pharisees only did what pleased themselves in the name of God. If we are truly serving God in the way that is pleasing to Him, then the Holy Spirit will bear witness with our conscience that it is of God. Paul used this confirmation many times in his teachings.
Finally, Jesus tells us that we, too, will have to face the same hostility from religious spirits who seek to persecute us and even put us to death because they believe in their hearts that they are doing God’s service. Anyone who lives and speaks the truth of Christ is going to be confronted by those who seek their own agenda and philosophies. All we have to be concerned about is being submitted to God, like Jesus was while He ministered. God will take care of our adversaries. Now, go out there and turn your part of the world upside-down for Christ.
Be Instant in Season and Out,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery