Blasphemous Accusations (Part 1)
"Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, 'Could this be the Son of David?' Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, 'This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.' But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: 'Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad'" (Matt. 12:22-30).

The demon-possessed man was probably incapable of coming to Jesus by himself; thus, he "was brought to Him." It is likely that the demon which possessed him was responsible for his inability to see and speak. Jesus, with His divine power, easily "healed" the man. Either our Lord drove the demon out and the man's sight and speech were automatically restored, or He drove the demon out and miraculously gave him the ability to see and speak.

"The multitudes were amazed" at this awesome work Jesus performed right before their eyes! One moment this man was just a shell of a human being and then suddenly his deficiencies were removed and he was able to see and speak! The crowd of onlookers was so impressed by what they witnessed that it even caused them to question who this miracle worker was. Could this be the Son of David? Could this Jesus be the Messiah?

Although the crowd reacted to this miracle with amazement and wonder, the Pharisees and scribes (cf. Mark 3:22) reacted in just the opposite way! According to Matthew 12:14, the Pharisees were already plotting to kill Jesus. They were envious of Him because of His great popularity. But, what could they do in a situation like this? They couldn't deny the miracle because everyone there had witnessed it. So their only option was to attempt to weaken or destroy the effect this miracle had on the people. They hoped to do this by coming up with an explanation that might sound plausible to the crowd. They stated that Jesus was able to perform this miracle by the power of "Beelzebub" and not by the power of God!

The word Beelzebub is a corruption of the name Baal-Zebub. This was the Philistine god of the fly (cf. II Kings 1). It was common for heathens to name their gods after pests they hoped the god would eliminate. It is not known how Beelzebub came to be identified with Satan in the Jewish culture (cf. 12:26).

Essentially, the scribes and Pharisees are trying to make Jesus lose His credibility by saying His power is from Satan, not God. They probably believe that this will be a difficult charge for Him to disprove.

According to Luke 11:16, there were others who were present who tested Him, seeking a sign from heaven. These individuals may have hoped Jesus would silence His opposition by showing some great sign, such as the pillar of cloud which had sanctioned the leadership of Moses (Num. 12) or the descending fire which had vindicated Elijah (II Kings 1). However, Jesus will do nothing of the sort. Instead He will respond to the blasphemy of the scribes and Pharisees with three distinct arguments that expose the absurdity of their claim that His power is from Satan. We will consider these points tomorrow.