We choose to believe or not believe God based not on facts, but on what we want to happen. *
27 The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
Yesterday, we looked at the Pharisees and their deliberate choice to not believe in Jesus. He gave them plenty of direct evidence. Today, we look at their attempt to discredit Him, which backfires on them pretty badly.
In Matthew 12:22-36, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man. People are asking the question, “Could this be the Son of David [i.e. Messiah]?” The Pharisees popped off, “It is only by Beelzebul [Satan], the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Rather than blast them, Jesus answers them very patiently. Let’s read it:
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 [to use their term], by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.”
Pretty good logic, right? But then, Jesus throws the knock-out punch:
28 “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
WOW! Jesus just performed a miracle by the Spirit of God. According to Jesus, the kingdom of God had come upon them!
We know that most of them did not believe. Why? Because they didn’t want to. They had too much to lose: reputation, lucrative income, accolades, followers, power, and their own beliefs. If they acceded to Jesus, then they must admit that their way of doing things was–if not downright wrong, then fulfilled, complete, and done. They couldn’t afford to give up all of their “fulfillments” in order to be fulfilled in Christ.
How about us? Are there things in our lives that He’s asking us to give up so that He can fill us with Himself? Maybe it’s time to take inventory of our lives and ask Him. If we are not willing to ask Him, then I’ll bet it’s something you are afraid to give up. Just be aware that runners in a race who hold onto things do not run very well. Instead, runners “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” They “run with perseverance the race marked out for them, fixing their eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Let’s finish the race well. There is a crown of righteousness waiting for us…
Abba, may we lay all on the altar so that You can have first place in our lives. We are all in, LORD. Amen.
*Andy Stanley, “Who Needs God,” Part 6, “I Do.”