Matthew 12:27-30 (Jewish Exorcists, Binding the Strong Man)

 

 

Mat 12:27-28  What example do we have in Scripture of Jewish exorcists who also cast out demons?  See Act 19:13-14 and cf. Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 8:45-49[1].  Was the deliverance ministry of Jesus in any regard less than that of others whom the Pharisees would have acknowledged as having been from God?  See Mat 12:23, 9:33; cf. Mar 9:38 and Acts 19:13 and think: why were these other exorcists invoking the name of Jesus?  In the case of a true deliverance by others against whom the Pharisees harbored no jealousy, would they have ascribed their powers as having come from Satan?  Cf. Acts 23:8.  What then is the force of Jesus’ second argument against the Pharisee’s charge that He was casting out demons by Beelzebul, and in what sense would their sons be their judges?  Think: The Pharisees would have acknowledged the power of God working in the deliverance ministry of others, but when Jesus did the same with an even greater demonstration of that power they ascribed it to Satan out of jealousy and spite for how the truth of Jesus’ words condemned them; consequently, even those whom they approved could not help but testify against them before God.  What do Jesus’ words in Mat 12:28 indicate about the seriousness of the Pharisee’s charge against Jesus?  Was it in a good sense that the kingdom of God had come upon them?  Cf. Jdg 20:34 (close, touching), Jdg 20:42 (overtook), 1Th 2:16 (come upon) for the same Greek word; cf. also Act 13:11,40, Rev 3:3.  What does Luke call the Spirit of God in Luk 11:20?  What does this teach us about the way in which God touches us, whether for healing or in judgment?  Cf. Mar 7:33, Exo 8:19.  Also in this light, what was the future significance that the Ten Commandments were “written by the finger of God” (Exo 31:18, Deut 9:10)?  See Jer 31:33, 2Co 3:3.  What was the future significance that the atoning blood of the sacrifices offered under the Mosaic Law were applied to the altar and sprinkled upon the mercy seat with the finger of the high priest (Lev 4:30,16:14-15,18-19)?  See Heb 9:13-14.

Mat 12:29-30  In Jesus’ illustration in Mat 12:29, who is the strong man, who is it that binds him, and what is the property that is carried off?  Cf. Mat 12:22; Eph 4:8-9.  Consider that those who are in bondage to the powers of darkness are called Satan’s property; what does this indicate about the great danger to one’s soul of such bondage?  Think: what rights does an owner have over his property?  How is it that one comes into such bondage?  Cf. Rom 7:22-24.  Whose property are you, and what rights does your owner have over you?  Cf. 1Co 6:19-20.  How do Jesus’ words in these verses answer the Pharisee’s charge that He was casting out demons by the prince of demons?  Note: the Greek word for “plunder” (diarpazw) is an intensive form of the same word used for “carry off” (harpazw); thus Jesus’ meaning is that only by binding the strong man, Satan, could one so thoroughly plunder his house as to provide the complete deliverance they had witnessed.  Considering then the greater power of God that was clearly manifested as working in Christ to provide so great a deliverance for the man, what does this indicate about the seriousness of the Pharisee’s false charge against Jesus?  What “line in the sand” does Jesus draw in Mat 12:30?  On what side of the line were the Pharisees from Jesus?  What was Jesus gathering, and in what sense were the Pharisees by their actions scattering?

 


1. Antiquities of the Jews 8:45-49   45 God also enabled [Solomon] to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and wholesome to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return;  46 and this method of cure is of great force to this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demonic in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this:  47 he put a ring, that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he warned him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed.  48 And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man;  49 and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed, may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so much of these matters.

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