JESUS’ SECOND PREACHING TOUR BEGINS
EXPELS DEMONS AND WARNS OF UNFORGIVABLE SIN
Soon after speaking about forgiveness at the home of the Pharisee Simon, Jesus begins another preaching tour of Galilee. He is in the second year of his ministry, and he is not traveling alone. The 12 apostles are with him, as well as certain women whom he had “cured of wicked spirits and sicknesses.” (Luke 8:2) Among them are Mary Magdalene, Susanna, and Joanna, whose husband is an officer of King Herod Antipas.
As more people learn of Jesus, the controversy over his activity intensifies. That is clear when a demon-possessed man, who is blind and unable to speak, is brought to Jesus and is cured. Now the man is free of demon control and can both see and speak. The people are simply carried away, saying: “May this not perhaps be the Son of David?”—Matthew 12:23.
The crowds gathered around the house where Jesus is staying are so large that he and his disciples cannot even eat a meal. Not all, though, think that Jesus is the promised “Son of David.” Some scribes and Pharisees have come all the way from Jerusalem—but not to learn from Jesus or to support him. They are telling people: “He has Beelzebub” and thus is in league with “the ruler of the demons.” (Mark 3:22) When Jesus’ relatives hear about the commotion, they come to lay hold of Jesus. For what reason?
Well, at this point, Jesus’ own brothers do not believe that he is God’s Son. (John 7:5) The Jesus who seems to be creating this public uproar is not like the Jesus they knew while they were growing up together in Nazareth. Concluding that something must be mentally wrong with him, they say: “He has gone out of his mind.”—Mark 3:21.
What does the evidence prove, though? Jesus just healed a demonized man, who can now see and speak. No one can deny this. So the scribes and Pharisees try to discredit Jesus with a false charge. They say: “This fellow does not expel the demons except by means of Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”—Matthew 12:24.
Jesus knows what the scribes and Pharisees are thinking, so he points out: “Every kingdom divided against itself comes to ruin, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. In the same way, if Satan expels Satan, he has become divided against himself; how, then, will his kingdom stand?”—Matthew 12:25, 26.
What impressive logic! The Pharisees know that some Jews practice the casting out of demons. (Acts 19:13) So Jesus asks: “If I expel the demons by means of Beelzebub, by whom do your sons expel them?” In other words, their charge should just as well be applied to them. Jesus then extends the reasoning: “But if it is by means of God’s spirit that I expel the demons, the Kingdom of God has really overtaken you.”—Matthew 12:27, 28.
To illustrate that his expelling demons is evidence of his power over Satan, Jesus says: “How can anyone invade the house of a strong man and seize his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Only then can he plunder his house. Whoever is not on my side is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:29, 30) The scribes and Pharisees surely are against Jesus, thus giving evidence that they are Satan’s agents. They are scattering people away from the Son of God, who is acting with Jehovah’s backing.
Jesus warns these satanic opposers: “All things will be forgiven the sons of men, no matter what sins they commit and what blasphemies they speak. But whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever but is guilty of everlasting sin.” (Mark 3:28, 29) Think of the implications of that for those who are attributing to Satan what is plainly being done by God’s spirit!
THE WATCHTOWER—STUDY EDITION
Jesus’ miracles not only benefited people living in ancient Israel, but also indicated what he will do for humankind in the near future.