April 1

Text: Matthew 12:22-24

 Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw.  And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?"  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons." (NASB)

We act in numerous ways to produce opportunity.  Doing good to produce opportunity to do greater good is godly.  However, doing good to produce opportunity to use people to their hurt is evil.  The dividing line between doing good to produce righteousness and doing good to produce evil is the desire to exploit others.  Only doing good to produce opportunity to help people is godly.

Notice how often Jesus’ miraculous acts generated an opportunity to do an even greater good.  It is astounding to note how often an act of compassion generated a greater opportunity.   It was as if this common man who was so easy to reject said, “If my words can powerfully produce immediate physical changes in people, you need to consider the benefits produced by my teachings.”

The overriding question in Jewish society was simple: “Who is he?”  All reactions to him were based on the answer to that question.  “Is he from God?  How can he be the Christ God promised if he is not what we expected?  Is he an evil man seeking to exploit us?”  (Consider Matthew 16:13-15.)

On this occasion he healed a blind, speechless person.  Demonic causes produced the man’s problem.  Many witnessed this act.  Most were astounded by Jesus’ act.  As a result, they were confused—his act produced a dilemma.  His act declared he was the descendant of David God promised—the Christ.  However, Jesus was not at all what they expected the Christ to be.

The Pharisees had a simple solution.  He was NOT the one they were expecting.  His source of power was NOT God, but the ruler of demons.  To believe in Jesus was to be deceived by evil!  Often unbelievers sought to discredit Jesus by suggesting his power came from the prince of demons.

Suggestion for reflection: How do you limit God by your expectations?  (Read Mark 3:20-22.)

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