Monday, August 18, 2008

Pharisee / Blasphemer

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat,” Matthew 12:1. In this chapter of the Gospel of Matthew something occurs that is pivotal in Christ’s ministry. First of all we see Jesus and His disciples pick corn and eat it on the Sabbath day. One of the many Pharisaical laws was no one works on the Sabbath. Jesus listening to their ranting tries to explain about the Sabbath and how David and his men ate the shewbread from the temple and that the priests in the Temple profaned the Sabbath but were found blameless. He tells them that there is One with them who is greater than the Temple.

After picking the corn Jesus then went against the Law and healed a man with a withered hand, and then Matthew tells us that Jesus went out from them because the Pharisees were conspiring to kill Him. The multitude followed Him and He healed them all. The Greek word translated “healed” is therapeuō which is where we get our English word therapeutic. In the Greek it has different meanings, some of which are to heal, cure, restore to health. It can also mean to serve, or do service. Jesus served His followers by attending to their needs and restoring their health. Afterwards, Jesus healed a man who was deaf, dumb, and possessed with a demon. At this point the Pharisees had seen and heard enough; they were determined to destroy Jesus.

Throughout the Gospels we can read about how the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus for going against their man made traditional laws. Jesus gave these hard hearted and foolish individuals every opportunity to understand and to believe. He spoke to them plainly, so plainly that a child could understand what He was professing. Did they misunderstand Jesus or were they so completely consumed by their own perversions that they couldn’t see the truth? The sin of what the Pharisees did next must be considered satanic.

The Pharisees’ next words were a deliberate not accidental statement. They had witnessed over and over again the Lord’s power and had the evidence right at their fingertips as to who Jesus was, but still they said “…This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils,” Matthew 12:24.

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, went into an explanation about how a house divided against itself cannot stand in verse 25, but then in a rebuking manner Jesus states, “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? therefore they shall be your judges”, Matthew 12:27. It appears as though they themselves were also casting out demons, apparently in the manner of today’s exorcisms. So by calling Jesus Beelzebub they had just condemned themselves, and this is what brought Jesus to His next point. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men… ‘And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him…” Matthew 12: 31 – 32a.

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