He Knew Their Thoughts

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. Matthew 12:25-29

The passage can be summed up in the first part of verse 25: Jesus knew their thoughts.

He knew them because He had grown up listening to them and how they spoke about others in public.

He knew the kind of envy and hunger for power that they exuded.

He responded to their accusation of Him being an agent of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.

The leaders were at a clear disadvantage, though they probably didn’t see it that way. They didn’t understand it but you cannot fool the Son of the Living God no matter how hard you try! You just can’t.

So Jesus gave the religious leaders a lecture on kingdom unity. If they were going to dis the Son of God, at least be knowledgeable about it. He threw logic at them but it’s doubtful they were listening or that it applied to them.

Getting back to the first verse, though, “Jesus knew their thoughts.” If we applied it to our own thoughts, would it trouble us?

Would you be embarrassed by some of the thoughts you think if you remembered that Jesus knows our thoughts? I think we all would because we live in a fallen world. People and situations frustrate and upset us. We’re not always thinking of the latest Bible verse we just memorized so real life kicks in.

Take time today to ask God to help you with your thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 “…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Mastering our thoughts helps us in every aspect of our lives so it’s an important endeavor.

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Our Stories of Deliverance

22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Matthew 12:22-24

The religious leaders were obsessed with bringing down Jesus. He was performing indisputable miracles right in front of them and they were critical of Him.

But for once, let’s focus on the demon-possessed man. Jesus restored Him to full health.

Imagine being bound for years by these demons.

Now, after Jesus touched him, he was free. He could see and hear again. He was a new man.

We don’t hear from him again but I guarantee you he was singing Jesus’ praises. He may not have known how or why or how He did it, and that probably wasn’t all that important to him. What was important was that he was free.

When we hear stories of deliverance and objections from the religious leaders, we tend to focus on the nasty leaders. Those whose lives were forever impacted get lost in the weeds. They had a unique story to tell.

We have a unique story to tell.

While others may criticize the religion itself, they can’t criticize the experience we all have had.

They can’t take that away from you.

Likewise, no one else can tell it.

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The Compassionate Savior

17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:17-21

These are powerful words spoken by Isaiah about Jesus.

I see compassion and tenderness in these words.

Justice to the nations
A bruised reed he will not break
a smoldering wick he will not snuff out
In his name the nations will put their hope

He was everything the religious leaders of the day weren’t.

They didn’t have compassion on those who were being healed.

Later the leaders would isolate them, question them, and abuse them further. They had no use for “weak,” unimportant people.

Jesus stood up for the people who were abused and harassed because of their standing in life.

Jesus still stands up for the abused and unwelcome people in society.

He stands up for the “little guy,” that person who really has nothing to offer Him except himself.

And after our conversion when we get to the point where we think we’re something, He offers us a dose of humility to drown out our pride.

But our goal should be to be that little guy again, the one who really has nothing to offer except ourselves. Then we will have truly gained something.

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Unfair Criticism

14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. 15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. Matthew 12:14-16

Was the truth so powerful and their grip on the people so tight that the Pharisees had to plot to kill this man Jesus? What would have been their justification, that He was a blasphemer?

We continue to have the luxury of knowing a lot more about Christ the Messiah than the Pharisees knew. We have the advantage of knowing what came after these encounters and have been able to analyze, characterize, and pontificate on its significance.

The Pharisees had that moment in time plus all of the Old Testament to guide them. As we’ll see tomorrow, there was enough in the Old Testament to lead them to Christ. The great prophets of old figured it out as did many kings and other leaders.

The very book that guided them to the truth blinded them because of their own self-righteousness. They were not humble, merciful, or gracious. They were a proud group of leaders and lorded it over the people often. They forgot what it mean to have mercy, that is, if they ever knew.

Not all of the religious leaders were corrupted (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were two truth-seeking leaders), but all of them knew the law and the truth.

Even while Jesus withdrew from the Pharisees, he ministered to people. They couldn’t get enough of Him. The leaders could plot all they wanted while Jesus continued to help people.

If you’re in ministry long enough, you will be criticized for what you do or don’t do. Someone along the way will have a problem with how or why you do something. Most of the time the criticism is unfair.

The perfect Son of God was constantly criticized. He was right and perfect all the time but the leaders wanted to kill him. Fortunately the criticism we receive isn’t as severe (though it may seem like it at times).

As long as you’re doing what God wants you to do, keep at it and let Him sort it out in the end. We’ll be held accountable for what we’ve said and done, and so will they.

God is keeping close records.

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Persistent Faith

9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Matthew 12:9-14

The religious leaders were never shy about approaching Jesus and confronting Him on what offended them.

Unfortunately for them, they were dealing with the Son of the Living God. They would lose every battle they engaged with him in. When someone is consistently healing people and gaining favor with the people, you’d think that they would get it that they were in a no win situation. They came after relentlessly until He was finally hanging on a cross.

They were clearly no match for the Son of God.

No one is.

Even when others are discussing the faith with you, hopefully you’re planting seeds and the praying that the Holy Spirit would water them generously. Be not weary when those seeds don’t bloom overnight or even over the next month.

It has been said that when growing the Chinese bamboo tree, it does not break through the ground for the first 4 years. You don’t know if it’s growing so you have to rely on others who have said this will happen. You have to have faith to keep watering it throughout those four years.

Praying for people is also like this Chinese bamboo tree. You never know how God will work in this person’s life, but you have to trust that He will.

Think of the missionaries who have gone to foreign lands for twenty or thirty years or more without any apparent “fruit.” Someone comes in after them and reaps a vast harvest (often after the first missionary has passed away).

That’s the kind of persistent faith we need when praying for those who are not Believers.

No one is a match for the Son of God. 

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