March 13

Text: Matthew 9:34

But the Pharisees were saying, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." (NASB)

The last two miracles Jesus performed in Matthew 9 were of 2 blind men (27-31) and a man who could not speak as a result of demonic activity (32, 33).  In this sequence he healed a 12 year hemorrhage, raised a dead girl, caused 2 blind men to see, and restored the speech of a man who had been demon possessed.  He demonstrated power over a long-standing physical condition, death, incurable conditions, and the consequence of demon possession.

As a result, Matthew wrote twice that Jesus was the topic of conversation throughout the area.  Prior to this the Pharisees were the recognized religious answer men.  Jesus was not one of them.  He did not even ask for their permission or approval to do what he did.

Jesus’ popularity, his teachings, plus his deeds made him a rival.  His deeds could not be questioned—there were too many witnesses.  In some way Jesus had to be discredited before his teachings destroyed them and their position.  The only option available to those Pharisees who considered Jesus to be a rival was to discredit him and thereby “explain him away.”iswH

Those Pharisees’ attempt to discredit Jesus was to claim that he got his power from the wrong source.  His power did not come from God, but from the ruler of demons.  Jesus appeared to be a good and caring man.  However, that was deceptive.  The truth was that he was an evil man who got his power from an evil source.  He was a threat to Israel, not a message from God.

Little has changed!  The issue remains basically the same.  Who is Jesus?  Did he actually do what was claimed?  If he did do those things, where did he get his power?  Is there a reality beyond physical realities?  No one can answer those questions for us.  Every man and woman has to answer them for themselves.  The issue remains the same: Who do you say I am?  You must answer—not your preacher, your parents, or your best friend.  Who do you say Jesus is?

Suggestion for reflection: Consider your understanding of Jesus’ identity.  (Read John 11:25-27.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell