Hardened Hearts

September 20, 2020

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” (Matthew 9:32-34).

We have dealt with the subject of demons and demon possession before (see September 3,4,5). In this text a mute man is brought to Jesus. It is possible he was a friend of the healed blind men and it was they who brought him to Jesus. If so, this is evidence of not only genuine friendship, but also of genuine faith in the Lord.

Demonic presence and influence can manifest itself in various ways. Here a demon caused the person to be unable to speak. Jesus cast the demon out of the man and his speech was restored, which indicates this was not a condition from birth.

At issue here is the response of the Pharisees. They claimed Jesus’ power to heal the man came from Satan, which is blasphemy. Blasphemy is giving praise and glory to Satan or to man when it rightfully belongs to God. This is a serious sin and is said to be unforgivable (Matthew 12:31).

Why the sinfulness of the Pharisees? We could claim it was jealousy that Jesus was becoming more popular than the priests and elders. We could say it was envy that His name was on their lips constantly and crowds gathered around Him when they did not gather in the synagogues. We could say they were threatened by His power over nature, evil spiritual powers, human diseases and conditions. But in reality, they hated Jesus and claimed He was a servant of the devil because they did not know God.

Although they were ‘doctors of the Law’, they didn’t know the Scriptures as they said they did. They didn’t receive the Messiah of God when He stood right in front of them. They knew the Law of Moses, but they didn’t know the grace, mercy, love, kindness, and forgiveness of God that accompanied the Law. They were priests, but they weren’t true Jews (Romans 2:28-29). They were religious, but they weren’t saved. They were righteous, but it was a self-righteousness that was an affront to God (Matthew 23:27). They had rejected the Lord, and He had rejected them. Tragically, they still live on in our churches today.

“Father, forgive our spiritual blindness, deafness, and muteness. In many ways we are not what we profess to be. Like the Pharisees we are caught up in our own little religious kingdoms and we lose sight of the great Kingdom that belongs to Jesus Christ. Open our eyes, ears, and lips that Jesus will be proclaimed and received by the multitudes around us. To the honor of His name I ask, Amen.”


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