Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 12:25a (Holman) Knowing their thoughts, He told them:. . .
Since Jesus was clairvoyant, His words have shown three amazing qualities. G. Campbell Morgan suggested two. We begin with a trait John Edie proposed.
First, Jesus’ words never go stale. Able to read minds, Jesus knew which phrases our minds would always find helpful and never grow weary of. However many times Jesus’ words are heard or read, they are timeless, fresh and new daily.
My life was forever changed by Dallimore’s biography of Whitefield. I read it once. I was affected for life by Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I read it once. Bill Wallace’s biography brought me to my knees in surrender to God. I read it once. The Letters of Rutherford gave me for the first time a heart wanting to be passionate toward God. I read it once.
By contrast, I’ve read the entire Bible annually thirty times. Its sixty-six books never grow old. The words of Jesus remain especially refreshing to me.
I am with you always (Matthew 28:20b). Don’t be afraid (Luke 12:32a). I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:18 KJV). I am going away to prepare a place for you (John 14:3b). My peace I give to you (John 14:27b). As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you (John 15:9a).
Jesus knew what human minds would always need to hear. Robed in flesh, Jesus spoke perfectly. The sound of His voice still sends forth a flawless echo.
Second, Jesus’ words have never been improved on. In 2000 years, no one has, on any given subject Jesus addressed, ever made a better statement than He voiced. Of interpersonal relationships He said, “Whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them” (Matthew 7:12b). We call it the golden rule. Has anyone yet written a gold-plus rule? No one will ever write a better decree.
“Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44b). Will anyone ever imagine, much less verbalize, a higher ethical standard? Of opinions about others, He said, “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. . . .First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1,5b). No one will give a better way of keeping us from being too judgmental.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b), our Master said. A better prescription on how to have a happy society will never be written.
In all the history of literature, if one sentence has to be singled out and set apart as being preeminent in lifting the lot of women, it would have to be our Lord’s words, “Everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28b).
A similar acknowledgment has to be given to Jesus’ honoring of children. They were elevated to the highest pinnacle ever when incarnate God said, “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them” (Luke 18:16b). Ultimate value was thereby placed on children forevermore. On the thorny issue of how to relate to church and state, Jesus brought the best clarity ever, “Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21b).
The list goes on and on. On whatever subject Jesus expounded, His remarks stand as the apex in that field of knowledge. They can never be improved on.
Third, no one ever beat Jesus in an argument. Clairvoyance kept Jesus one step ahead of His enemies. Able to read minds, Jesus was an unbeatable debater.
No one ever left His presence feeling they had out-debated Him. We hardly ever find that anyone was bold enough to ask Jesus two questions consecutively. Would-be adversaries quickly wilted and retreated before His unanswerable logic.
When the Pharisees asked if they should stone the woman taken in adultery, Jesus replied, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b). They immediately knew they had been out-foxed. Unable to dispute His reasoning, they started leaving one by one until they were all gone.
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor.” An expert in the law, hoping to trip Jesus, said, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, thereby showing the question is not “Who is my neighbor?” but rather “To whom can I be neighborly?” The questioner found the answer irrefutable (Luke 10:37).
Jesus’ arguments are still unbeatable. Opponents often stab at Him, but their efforts are at best waves beating against and breaking on a Rock of Gibraltar.
Matthew 12:25b-26 “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?”
The Pharisees wanted to convince the crowd Jesus was in cahoots with the devil, but Jesus won this argument handily. He began by proving their premise to be illogical. A kingdom, city, or house with two opposing rulers can not endure.
Internal divisions cause groups to shatter. Nations in chaos often end in Civil War. Strife between spouses, or parents versus children, can lead to family splits. Disagreements within a local church can bring a fellowship down.
Discord leads to self-destruction, even in the devil’s empire. His kingdom thrives on spreading evil. To be expelling evil would weaken Satan’s authority.
If Satan was lending his power to casting out demons, he was casting out himself, for they do his work. If the prince of demons was destroying his own agents, then there was a civil war in the evil kingdom and it was doomed.
It was doomed alright, but Jesus destroyed it without having to enter any secret alliances with evil. He on His own merit and might crushed it.
Jesus’ response to the Pharisees was airtight. They were completely nonplused, but Jesus was not finished with them yet. He had more to tell them.
Matthew 12:27 “And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, who is it your sons drive them out by? For this reason they will be your judges.”
Jesus proved the Pharisees’ argument to be not only illogical, but also inconsistent. Some of their supporters also worked miracles of deliverance.
The effectual faith would often have been shown by the one being healed, but the religious leaders did include in their numbers a minority, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who would have been true servants of the Lord.
The Pharisees deemed healings overseen by their own to be legitimate, of God. Thus, Jesus asked, “You see exorcism as a beauty in others, why do you call it a blemish in me?” The answer is obvious, only spite would make them do this.
Mark the difference between belief in Christ versus unbelief in Jesus. It is not that one is gullible, and the other is sophisticated. Rather, faith in Christ believes facts based on credible evidence, while unbelief ultimately tends toward believing the silly, the superstitious. Faith believes God’s plausible truths. Unbelief believes human deceptions.
Discarding Christianity does not elevate thinking, but causes people to sink into bizarre superstitions. People turn to horoscopes, read tea leaves and crystals, plus become gullible to weird notions pandered by the latest media guru. Societies without a Bible are cultures without a ballast, afloat on an ever-changing ocean.
Before leaving our text, learn a lesson the Pharisees missed. They heeded nothing Jesus said because they disliked Him. Avoid their error. Listen to critics.
Criticisms from our opponents may hold helpful truths for us. Effective leaders know organizations usually receive their newest, best, and freshest ideas from outside the group’s inner circle. Inside-thinking tends to promote monotony.
Individuals also need outside help. Weigh criticisms in the balance. Give them attention. We may learn from them hard truths our friends may never tell us.