Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 12:28 (Holman) “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then
the kingdom of God has come to you.”
The Pharisees said, “The man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Jesus had proved their argument was illogical (no house divided against itself will stand) and inconsistent (you claim your people perform exorcisms by God’s power). Now He showed their position to be impossible.
If Jesus’ power to cast out demons was not from Satan, and if others doing exorcisms were of God, all scenarios but one were impossible. The only logical conclusion was to believe Jesus was casting out demons by God’s kingdom power.
Nothing else could reasonably explain why Satan’s seemingly impregnable empire was suddenly turning out to be vulnerable. His imps and minions were being driven out, pulverized by a divine kingdom force. The crowd had said “perhaps” Jesus was the long awaited king, the Son of David (v. 28). Jesus was proving He was for sure the Son of David, the kingdom of God’s promised king.
We believers have found Jesus to be the Son of David plus much more. He is God. This is the underlying premise of the whole Christian faith, and is the only explanation of Jesus that accounts for all the facts, and will hold water (Maclaren).
In Jesus, Heaven’s invasion of Earth took place. Jesus came down to us, bringing with Him the kingdom of God. Houses of worship were filled, powerful gatherings were held, the Bible was preached, backsliders were restored, the lost were won, and, as William Barclay notes, pain was relieved, suffering decreased.
Don’t overlook this critical factor. In times of revival, anguish is lessened. This vital trait marks any coming of God’s kingdom in power. Pain is diminished.
When God’s power falls on His people, it manifests itself by intensifying worship, serve, and go. We tend to think revival affects worship and go, loving Jesus more and taking Jesus everywhere. We need to remember revival also affects serve, showing Jesus’ compassion. If infused with God’s power, we will be in hot pursuit of holiness, ministry, and missions. Always be honing all three.
Matthew 12:29 “How can someone enter a strong man’s house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.”
The Pharisees’ claim that Jesus’ power was of Satan was illogical (no house divided against itself will stand), inconsistent (you claim your people perform exorcisms by God’s power), and impossible (God’s kingdom has come; no other conclusion is logical). Now Jesus showed their argument to be also inconceivable.
Burglars do not receive help from a homeowner they’re robbing. A man’s house is his castle. He will defend it. A homeowner won’t aid and abet thieves seeking to overpower him. An intruder, before he steals, must tie up the owner.
In our text, Jesus is the robber, Satan is the strong man, whose house is our lost world, and whose possessions are unbelieving men, women, boys, and girls.
How strong is Satan? He is “the ruler of the atmospheric domain” (Ephesians 2:2b), “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4b). “The whole world is under the sway of the evil one” (1 John 5:19b). Satan meanders freely through Earth’s atmosphere, ever inspecting his domain, this present world in which we live. His travels are very successful. The whole world is under his evil influence.
These three verses are very important to any discussion regarding the problem of suffering in our world. Satan is at the bottom of all sorrow and pain.
How did Earth’s sad state of affairs–its pillaging, wars, deaths, sickness, strife, pain–come to be? Satan usurped Earth’s throne. He stole what was God’s.
God created a perfect world. He said, “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3a), but Adam and Eve’s sin let Satan turn off the lights and make the world dark. Jesus came into a world sitting in darkness, to a humanity whose eyes were blinded.
At the first, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). But our sin let in the strong man, who made it very bad. Years turned into centuries and millennia; the strong man had everything locked up, or so it seemed.
God had not left us hopeless after our sin in Eden. His first good news promise was, relief will come through the woman’s seed. The latter, a physical impossibility, predicted a miracle, the virgin birth. God said the seed of the woman would strike the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). Jesus fulfilled the promise.
At Bethlehem Jesus made a sneak attack. In His incarnation, He invaded the strong man’s house of stolen goods to reclaim them. He barged in to take over, saying, “I created these goods, you stole them, I’ve come to reclaim them.”
“The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works” (I John 3:8b). At the cross Jesus bound the strong man and entered the innermost treasure-safe, the stronghold, the vaulted chamber where precious human goods were kept in the dungeon of death. “Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil–and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Stronger than Satan, Jesus plundered the realm of death. He wrought havoc there, had a field day, and returned from death victorious. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly” (Colossians 2:15a).
The strong man’s house is losing its household furniture. People are being set free. Jesus, by easily casting demons out of human bodies in His incarnation, was showing forevermore how easily He can cast them out of people’s spirits. Jesus bound Satan that He might unbind us and bring freedom to the whole world.
Jesus is the only Victor, the only One who can cast evil out of us. In our war against evil, we must never look to ourselves to win. Defeating evil requires more than self-help, more than simply learning better, smarter ways to do good.
The first work that had to be done in salvation was to bind the one to blame for all the mischief in the first place. The instigator of evil had to be restrained. It would be impossible to raise the fallen till the one who tripped them was subdued.
Having won this initial essential victory, Jesus now comes to apply the results of His work to each believer personally. We receive the benefits of His kingdom power, and then are expected to join Him in extending kingdom power.
When the seventy missionaries returned from their short-term mission trips, Jesus said He saw “Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash” (Luke 10:18b).
What we do “out there” among unbelievers lets us see the Lord setting loose an extraordinary portion of the kingdom power Jesus released in His incarnation.
We are to do as Jesus did. We enter the kingdom of death to see resurrections take place. We go into darkness to shine bright lights. When we do, the result is a releasing of kingdom power.
This has been the case for Second Baptist. We’ve seen more miracles when seeking to fulfill the Great Commission than in all our other efforts combined.