As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
The Gospel According to Matthew (ESV)
No jealousy here. As the scene unfolds we see the people awed by the things Jesus does, yet the religious leaders only find fault. When they see Jesus cast out a demon, they give satan credit. It obvious that this is out of jealousy, because the statement makes absolutely no sense. “He cast demons out by the prince of demons”. If that isn’t a knee jerk reaction to a situation, I don’t what is.
The problem the Pharisees had was they were afraid of evil. Rather than confront it they ran from it. But, in all their running, they ran right into it. The people that witnessed this man begin to speak they said; “Never was anything like this seen in Israel”. That’s because they were seeing God at work in their presence. The Pharisees were so wrapped up in religious behavior and the pretense of the lack of evil they did not see what God was doing before their eyes. Jesus was confronting evil and improving a man’s life. They had gotten so far off track that they are calling good evil and evil good. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah ESV) The Pharisees are losing their power over the masses to God and are outraged by it. They want to be the authority in Israel and God is reclaiming it through Jesus.
The lesson we can take away from this is that we must relinquish all power and authority to Jesus as our Lord and Master. Jesus sees evil and confronts it. He drives it out. Eventually that included the Pharisees themselves. God doesn’t want manmade religion. He wants obedient servants. Jesus was that and set the example for us in what we are to do as his disciples. Let’s see that example and follow it. Let’s confront evil in our lives and let him take care of it and follow him.
Today, let’s see what God is doing in us and praise him for it. Through Jesus lives are changed, sins are forgiven and evil is put in its place. Let’s preach Jesus to the world. Let the healing begin!
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman