Today Jesus once again faces accusations of casting “out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.” Jesus explains that He is stronger than Satan because He casts out demons by the finger of God. However, if that person is delivered from a demon but not filled with Jesus, he can end up in an even worse condition – “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” So if our hearts aren’t filled with Jesus, they will be filled with corruption and evil.
Jesus says “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” And he rebukes those seeking a sign. He reminds them of the people of Nineveh who heard Jonah’s message from the Lord and the Queen of the South who visited Solomon to hear the word of God and to see His works. He says that these Gentiles were more open to receiving the Lord than the religious people who are standing right in front of the Messiah. Jesus declares Himself greater than any of the prophets or kings before Him. However, the people are blindly rejecting Him.
Jesus says just as you wouldn’t hide a lamp, the word and works of the Lord should be on display to benefit others. However, the people are spiritually blinded to what Jesus is saying and offering. He says, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.” Spurgeon explains this statement by saying, “If you do not see Jesus, it is not because he has hidden himself in darkness, but because your eyes are blinded.” But once the Lord has lifted the veil and you see Jesus, your heart will be transformed and your whole body will shine brightly.
When a Pharisee is appalled that Jesus didn’t wash His hands before eating, Jesus continues to explain that a person’s heart is what matters, not the external – “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish one!” Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for being all about the show with the best seats in the synagogues, publicly tithing, and greetings in marketplaces but showing no justice or love of God. Jesus is completely unimpressed with their fake outward performance. They may have everyone else fooled but they can’t fool the One who matters, Jesus.
Jesus warns His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known…do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”
“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” We all have a choice to make; confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or deny Him.
We end the reading with Jesus encouraging His disciples to seek the kingdom of God. He comforts them by saying that His Father knows the needs of all and He will lovingly provide for your needs if you seek Him – “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Keep reading and seeking the kingdom of God.