The Power of Beelzebub
“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” (Matthew 12:22-30).
The Pharisees’ Accusation
It was the Pharisees who accused Jesus of casting demons by the power of Beelzebub. After Jesus healed the blind and dumb demoniac, it was clear to all that more than human power was displayed in this miraculous act. But the Pharisees refused to admit that Jesus was divine and had the authority to perform such a miracle. Therefore, they said, He must be in league with the devil.
But Jesus explained to the Pharisees that Satan could not be foolish to work at cross-purposes with himself, supporting the claims of his enemy, Christ. On the basis of such a plan, “his kingdom” will collapse. This was absurd. For a man does not enter his own house and “spoil” his own “goods”; Satan does not “cast out” Satan (verse 26). Therefore, someone entering the “house” of Beelzebub (verse 24), to “spoil his goods,” must be his enemy.
Obviously, some Pharisees did claim to be able to exorcise evil spirits, or Jesus would not have presented this as a fact. Josephus relates that such attempts were at least made, and gives an example (Antiquities viii. 2. 5 [45–49]).
Satan claimed this earth as his and that it had been “delivered” to him (Luke 4:6). In that sense, this world was his “house,” and people were his “goods.” Christ came to free Satan’s prisoners from sin (Luke 4:18) and death (Revelation 1:18). By casting out demons Christ was robbing Satan of his prisoners and taking away his “goods.” He who would bind a “strong man” must be stronger than the “strong man” (Luke 11:22).
God alone is stronger than Satan. Therefore, because Jesus is freeing the prisoners of Satan, He must be the finger of God. The mighty works of Christ testify, not to a league with Satan, but to war against him. Thus, in the great war for the salvation of people, there is no middle ground; there is no neutrality. He who is not fully on Jesus’ side is fully on the devil’s side.
In His service,