This section is pretty short, but KaZow, there’s a lot to chew on in here. This is a good section to reread in the Message.
- V22 – Reading this verse made me think about how it’s possible to be not physically blind and mute but spiritually blind and mute – not seeing people with Christ’s compassion or missing opportunities to speak the Gospel because my spiritual “tongue” has not been used for a long time.
◊ Jesus heal my spiritual disabilities. Open my eyes and let me see with discernment so that I can see people as You see them. Loose my tongue and fill my mouth with Your words so I can share Your Good News at every opportunity.
- V23 – The people are starting to murmur “Messiah”, but it seems like they still doubt a little because David was a mighty warrior and Jesus hasn’t done any slaying of their enemies yet, like they though He would. So far, He’s only told them to love their enemies, not kill them.
◊ If I claim Jesus as Messiah, do I embrace all of Him or just the parts that make sense to me?
- V24 – The Pharisees already accused Him of this in 9:34. This time Jesus points out that their argument is completely illogical.
- V25 – Unity within family, church, nation, etc is important for longevity.
- V27 – One last zinger to their ridiculous accusation. “I’m rubber, you’re glue…”
- V28 – He’s defeated their argument that He’s working for Satan, their only other choice is to admit He works for God. Now He’s forcing their hand to say “If I’m from God, this is the kingdom of God you’re seeing – people being healed, God’s Word being correctly interpreted, everyone is being made whole. But – in this kingdom you Pharisees don’t hold a place of honor like you had hoped.” He gives them two blatant options, but they won’t accept either.
- V29 – Jesus is saying that Satan is strong – he wouldn’t let anyone go around casting out demons and messing up his work unless someone stronger – Jesus – was overpowering him.
◊ Am I confident that Jesus has the power to bind Satan and his attempts to sabotage God’s work in my life? Do I pray “Deliver us from evil” as if there’s a war going on?
- There’s no anonymous in-between. It’s interesting He added the second phrase, “whoever doesn’t gather with me scatters.” The Message says “If you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” If you think of bringing people into the kingdom in terms of a spiritual battle (which we should) it’s easy to see how doing nothing makes things worse. Just a few verses ago He reminded us that a successful group must be unified. If I’m sitting out in the middle of the battlefield picking my nose, I’m getting in the way.
◊ How am I helping God’s kingdom advance?
- V31-32 – These are tricky verses so I’m just going to repeat back what I’ve always been taught. My two Study Bibles sum it up nicely. Here’s the note from the ESV: “Key to understanding this passage is the distinction Jesus makes between the extreme case of blasphemy against “the Holy Spirit” and the lesser case of speaking in a dishonorable way against “the Son of Man.” One who asks to be forgiven for disrespectful words hastily spoken against Jesus (the Son of Man) will be forgiven. But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – that is, the persistent and unrepentant resistance against the work fo the Holy Spirit and his message concerning Jesus – this, Jesus says, will not be forgiven. The person who persists in hardening his heart against God, against the work of the Holy Spirit, and against the provision of Christ as Savior, is outside the reach of God’s provision for forgiveness and salvation. Christians often worry that they have committed this sin, but such a concern is itself evidence of an openness to the work of the Spirit.”
- Here’s the note from my Study Bible: “The Pharisees had blasphemed against the Spirit by attributing the power by which Christ did miracles to Satan instead f the Holy Spirit….Some believers worry that they have accidentally committed this unforgivable sin. But only those who have turned their backs on God and rejected all faith have any need to worry. Jesus said they can’t be forgiven – not because their sin is worse than any other but because they will never ask for forgiveness. Whoever rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit removes himself or herself from the only force that can lead him or her to repentance and restoration to God.”
- V34 – The Pharisees have spent their whole lives putting on a religious front. Now they have revealed the true evil in their hearts with their words. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
◊ What does my heart have an abundance of? God’s Word and His love? Popular fiction? Gossip? Video Games? Pinterest ideas? Hours and hours of TV shows? What do I talk about most of the time?
◊ V35 – What good treasure do I have and how am I dishing it out to others?
- V36 – Gulp. Whoa. Yikes. This is serious.
◊ Am I thoughtful or careless with my words? In light of the fact that I’m going to have to stand before the throne of God and give account for everything I’ve said, would I like to change my speech habits? Shall I talk more about what God is doing and less about Master Chef? Merciful Father, forgive me for my careless speech!
- V36 – My study Bible reminds us that “You can’t solve your heart problem, however, just by cleaning up your speech. You must allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with new attitudes and motives; then your speech will be cleansed at its source.”
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?