by Mike Raiter

Day 27

Read Matthew 12:15-37

On the T-shirt of a young man who walked by me was this announcement: ″Bad Is Good.″ Perhaps he wasn't expressing his true philosophy of life, but few things demonstrate the corruption of the human race better than the fact that we justify evil with the defence that it is good.

Hearts are never silent; what hides in the heart will find its way to the lips

In this next passage, Jesus continues to bring life and healing to the sick and demon-possessed (v. 15, 22), just as Isaiah had prophesied (Isaiah 42:1-4). It therefore beggars belief that the Pharisees called this compassionate and powerful ministry of Jesus ″demonic″ (see v. 24).

It would be ridiculous to think that Satan, who seeks to maim and destroy, would empower a man to heal and restore. Jesus exposes the absurdity of their assertion that He is in league with Beelzebub, or Satan. Why would any general kill his own men? Why would a king destroy his own kingdom (vv. 25-27)? No, Jesus' defeat of the forces of darkness unquestionably establishes Him as the true King, who has come to establish His kingdom of peace and justice (vv. 28-29).

The Pharisees had no excuse for their outrageous claim. Jesus' miracles spoke for themselves. It wasn't that the Pharisees could not believe-they would not believe. They deliberately and repeatedly spurned the Spirit-empowered ministry of Jesus. These men were not sincere seekers of the truth. Their questions did not reflect genuine doubt. Theirs was a resolute, steadfast refusal to believe. They knew, deep down, that only God's Spirit could empower such works. Therefore, to then wilfully call the Spirit's work ″devilish″ is nothing short of an unforgivable blasphemy (see vv. 31-32). Since they totally rejected Jesus, there exists no other way for them to come to God (John 14:6).

Why does anyone treat Jesus with such contempt? Ultimately, it is a matter of the heart (vv. 33-37). Similarly, a life of love to God and others, characterised by gracious and caring words, reflects a heart made right by God's Spirit. Hearts are never silent; what hides in the heart will find its way to the lips. Then on judgment day, words spoken, even careless ones (like Bad Is Good), which either honour or despise the Son, will testify to the state of the heart, and therefore God will use them to judge each person's heart (or character).

Think through:

What would you say to a Christian who was anxious that he or she had committed the unforgivable sin?

The Bible has a lot to say about the power of ″words″ (e.g., Proverbs 10:8-21; Ephesians 5:4-7; James 3:1-12). Why does the Bible have so much to say about words? What is the relationship between salvation and the words we speak?




About Author

Mike Raiter is a preacher, preaching trainer and former Principal of the Melbourne School of Theology in Australia. He is now Director of the Centre for Biblical Preaching and the author of a number of books, including Stirrings of the Soul, which won the 2004 Australian Christian Book of the Year award.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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