A house divided…

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Matthew 12: 22 Then they brought to (Jesus) a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. 23 All the crowds were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” 25  (Jesus) knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? … 31 Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

(Quick note: “blasphemy” is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God)

This is a difficult passage. The part that particularly intrigues me is v.32:

32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

The basis of this statement is the fact that the Pharisees (Jewish spiritual leaders) were trying to discredit Jesus because he was a threat to their own authority and way of life. They started making ridiculous accusations that Jesus was somehow casting out Satanic demons by the power of Satan. As Jesus pointed out in v.26-27 this made no sense. Demons would not attack their own.

However, the fact the Pharisees were making such outlandish claims against Jesus meant they were effectively doing what they accused Jesus of doing. As servants of God who were opposing the work of the Kingdom of God, they were creating a “house divided”. And because this was done intentionally, not as an accidental misunderstanding, it would not be forgiven.

One cannot receive forgiveness of sin from the same God one is actively opposing. 

Some people read this passage and become concerned they might in some way blaspheme the Holy Spirit – thinking they might accidentally do something which will not be forgiven. Fear not dear sisters and brothers. The mere fact one might be so concerned reveals the heart of one who recognizes God as sovereign.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your abundant mercy. Give us grace to see you at work in our lives and our world. Help us to NEVER intentionally put ourselves in opposition to the Kingdom of God. We ask this in your precious name. Amen.

2 thoughts on “A house divided…

  1. I’m still confused by the last verse. As Lutherans, we believe in the Holy Trinity, so why are we forgiven to speak against the Son of Man, but not the Holy Spirit? Isn’t that also creating division?

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