As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
(Matthew 9:32-34 ESV)
Yesterday we read about two blind men who appealed to Jesus’ mercy to restore their sight, which He willingly did. As they were going away a man who was mute and demon-oppressed was brought to Him.
This is interesting because rabbinic tradition stated that a demon could not be cast out of a man without knowing the demon’s name. But a mute person cannot speak and, therefore, cannot reveal the name of the demon. A person such as this man was considered incurable by the rabbis. Not surprisingly, Jesus removed the demon, allowing the man to speak.
Those in attendance displayed one of two reactions. The crowds marveled at Jesus. But the Pharisees became bitter, apparently because Jesus did something they were teaching was impossible.
It’s not a stretch to conclude that many people who were previously afraid of the Pharisees self-appointed authority were losing faith in them and were transferring that faith to Jesus. The Pharisees were losing their following as their teachings were revealed for being false and they were not happy about that.
This is how many people behave when they are presented with information that contradicts what they believe, whether in regards to Jesus or not. We don’t like to be wrong. And we certainly don’t like to be embarrassed in front of other people by being shown to be wrong.
But Jesus had no regard for human pride. He wasn’t afraid to expose inaccurate information. Jesus was all about truth. He knew that telling people the truth was of the utmost importance, even if it bruised some egos.
The Pharisees could not explain how Jesus could cast out a demon from a mute man. Doing so defied their beliefs. But rather than humbling themselves and accepting the truth – that Jesus was God in a human body – they stood firm in their self-absorption, not to mention ignorance.
Their comment about Jesus casting out demons by the prince of demons (Satan) makes no sense. Luke records Jesus’ response to the Pharisees comments in which He points this out [Luke 11:14-26].
Every person has the choice to respond to Jesus in either of two ways. We can be open to the possibility that we are wrong and look at the evidence. Or we can dig in our heels and come up with alternate theories (e.g. evolution, homosexuality is not a sin). The deciding factor is our ego.
Much like Satan had control over the mute man, he has control over our egos. He attempts to blind us to the truth about God and ourselves. Sadly, as we learned recently, the vast majority of people will hold onto their egos and reject Jesus [Matthew 7:13-14].
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