Chronological Gospels: Matthew 12:22-50; Luke 11
Matthew 12:22-50 and Luke 11 are filled to the brim, overflowing with vital truths for all believers to know and understand. Picking up at Matthew 12:22 and Luke 11, we jump right into Jesus responding to the Pharisees accusing Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Satan rather than of God. This particular passage is one that can be very difficult to understand, so I dove into some keywords in Greek to help me understand Jesus’ responses.
The very first thing to notice is that verse 25 begins with “knowing their thoughts” indicating, and reminding us, that Jesus knows the thoughts and innermost heart and intentions of us all. He knew the thoughts and intentions behind the Pharisee’s words and actions. He goes on to teach that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, also translated as “grieve the Holy Spirit”, will not be forgiven. This is often referred to as the “unforgivable sin”. Throughout Jesus’ explanation, He points again and again to the heart and intention of a person.
When someone who knows the truth but slanders or speaks in an injurious way of the Holy Spirit, they are blaspheming the Holy Spirit. This is a sin against spiritual knowledge. This is to say, someone who has known the truth but denies it and slanders it, not only in word but in their very nature and character, they are guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Putting it more simply, this is to know yet still choose knowingly to reject and slander the truth in the way you speak and live.
Moving forward, Jesus continues on to explain the difference between good and evil fruits. Good is to be of excellent character and nature, and bad is to be rotten, corrupt, worthless, evil, and unfit for use. Good fruits come from those who are of good character, and bad fruits come from those of corrupt character. He then explains that we will be either justified or condemned by our words, but digging into this more Jesus is saying that we will be justified of condemned not only by words but by the very nature of our soul, thoughts, lives, and words.
What about this passage stands out the most to you?
Matthew 12:43-45 and Luke 11:24-26 drive the point home that those who are not filled with God are leaving room for things of Satan. If we, like the Pharisees set on their Jewish traditions over truth, focus on earthly things over eternal things, we will remain empty, refuse regeneration, and be filled with things opposed to God rather than of God. If we are not filled with God, having faith in Jesus and filled by the Holy Spirit, we are easy pickings for satanic influences.
What is the importance of this passage to you?
This passage strikes me as a vital passage about spiritual condition and spiritual warfare. If we refuse God, disobey God, deny His truth, reject His Son and salvation, blaspheme His Holy Spirit, fail to repent, remain in our stubbornness and sin, we are destined for destruction. The beautiful thing is that we see in Matthew 12:46-50 and Luke 11:28 that those who have faith in Jesus, who hear the truth and believe, and who obey God will be blessed. Not only will we be blessed, but we will become a part of God’s own family.
We see the Lord’s Prayer again here in Luke 11, which we also read in week 10. I’d like to touch on this a little bit more today, though. It is always important to read and study again even parts we have read 1,000 times. I have been working on re-memorizing the Lord’s Prayer as it is given in Matthew, and here we see a simpler rendition of it. For me, this has been an incredible lesson about how to pray.
- Give glory, honor and thanks to God
- Focus myself on heavenly things and God’s will in my life over my own desires
- Request God’s provisions in my life
- Confess and repent of my sins, and forgive others as well
- Request God’s help, wisdom, and guidance in my life
The ultimate focus becomes acknowledging God’s will in my life and placing full dependence on God in all matters.
What does the Lord’s Prayer mean to you? I encourage you to memorize it this week.