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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

We gather or we scatter

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

The lesson text, given in both Matthew and Luke, is a statement made by Jesus immediately following the healing of the man that was possessed with a devil, blind and dumb (Matthew 12:22). Immediately after this healing, many people in his audience were amazed and said, Is not this the son of David (Verse 23)? They were convinced that Jesus was the son of David – the Messiah. However, the Pharisees were determined to deny that Jesus was the Messiah every time He demonstrated His power that confirmed His deity. Due to their social positions, the Pharisees had to criticize and deny His miracles or else they would lose their power, authority, and influence in the Jewish community.

It was apparent, to all that had seen this miracle performed by Jesus; the man was now healed that was previously possessed with a devil, was physically blind and could not speak.This miracle was observed by many, and, by its extreme nature, could not be denied.The Pharisees were now faced with the problem of recognizing the miracle but still discrediting Jesus as the Messiah. To do so, they gave credit, for the miracle, to the devil himself.They said that Jesus performed this miracle through the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.Beelzebub was a heathen god at Ekron.King Ahaziah, a wicked king of Israel that succeeded his father, Ahab, had sought out Beelzebub to cure his disease.This illness resulted from his fall from the top of his palace.Although the god of Ekron failed to cure Ahaziah, the Pharisees taunted Jesus by accusing Him of using the power of this same god power to work His miracles.

Jesus uses the example of a “kingdom divided” to show His audience how absurd the Pharisees’ claim that the miracles of Jesus were accomplished by the power of Satan.He stated that a divided kingdom could not stand because different factions would be at odds with each other.One faction would probably undo what one another accomplished. Nothing good could take place because the parties within the kingdom could not agree on any aspect of the government.The person described in Matthew 12:22 was known to have been devil possessed.If Jesus used the power of Satan to cast out the devil, then Satan would be undoing something that he had caused in the first place.In other words, if the Pharisees claim was true, Satan would be casting out Satan.Satan would be tearing down himself. If this were the case, the kingdom of Satan would certainly fall just as a kingdom that was divided against itself.

After using this analogy to refute the claim of the Pharisees, Jesus then states that, if not by the power of Satan, He must be casting out devils by the power of God.And, if by the power of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you (Vs. 28).Verse 29 states, Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man and then he will spoil his house.In other words, before Jesus could remove the devil from the one possessed, he must first bind Satan and then he could perform this exorcism.Jesus finalizes this message by stating the general principle that is the lesson text, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

What lesson can we learn from this general principle?One thing is sure; all people that inhabit the earth are in one of two groups – either with Christ or against him.We either accept Him as the Messiah, become a member of His body, which is His church, and live a life obedient to His will, or we deny Him as the Son of God and live our lives according to our own will.Another sure thing is that we either work to bring others to accept Him as their personal Savior or we work to cause others to refuse Him. Finally, one doesn’t really have to work to cause others to refuse Him, we only have to be indifferent to Him and His message of salvation.Indifference to the will of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, will never teach others to accept them as their Creator and their Savior

There cannot be an “in between” group.We are either for Jesus Christ or we are against him.We either work to bring others to Christ or labor to keep them from accepting Him as their Savior.We gather or we scatter.