Wednesday 05 October 2016

Bible Book:

“Can this be the Son of David?” (v. 23)

Matthew 12:22-32 Wednesday 5 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 21:1-7


After the encounter in the Synagogue when the man withthe withered hand was healed it is clear that Jesus'reputation had gone ahead of him. In today's passage people in thecrowd are beginning to wonder just who Jesus is. Is he the one whothe Jews believed would be divinely appointed as God'srepresentative to bring in the new age? A Messiah, who would be thetrue successor of King David and thus termed the Son of David, wasthis he? Tradition had it that this person was already amongstthem, but that his identity would remain unknown until the time forhis appearing should come, and that when that moment came he wouldmanifest himself with signs and wonders. As Jesus heals thedemoniac (who we may now see to be a mentally ill man) the peopleclearly begin to ask themselves: is this the time? is this the sonof David?

We can perhaps imagine the Pharisees' emotions when they heardthe people speaking in this way. They need some way to counter theallegations. Immediately they claim that it is by Beelzebul, theruler of the demons that he is able to undertake such healings: itcannot be from God. Again Jesus turns what they are saying on itshead, saying that a city or a kingdom divided against itself willfall and therefore why should Satan cast out Satan when this wouldmean that his kingdom, his dominion would be destroyed. He goes onto remind them that there are exorcists within the Jewish faithcommunity and acknowledged by them - are they saying that thesepeople are working for Satan rather than God? However, he pointsout that if it is the power of God's Spirit which is at work insuch exorcisms then a change will come about: to use his words "thekingdom of God has come to you" (v. 28).

Jesus then adds a warning that although many sins can beforgiven, sins against the activity of the Holy Spirit will not beforgiven. A E Harvey in his commentary on the New Testament feelsthat this last part of the account may have come from the earlyChurch where there had been some kind of dispute going on about themanifestations of the Spirit within their community. However theencounter points the reader to the enormity of God's power asdemonstrated by Jesus.

To Ponder

  • Healing or cure: what is expected of a Healing Ministry? Towhat extent are we looking for miracles or for the work of the HolySpirit in a person's life?
  • Do we sometimes question the way in which some people practicetheir faith and think that it must be wrong because it isdifferent? What might that say about us?
  • When we hear the words "your sins are forgiven", what is yourreaction or response?

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