Can you imagine if I answered an argument with, “Hey man, if you’re not with me, you’re against me.” What would you say? You’d likely say I was crazy, or being unfair, or ridiculous – that I have no basis upon which to make such a claim. And you’d be right. And yet, that’s what Jesus said.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus had just healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. Everyone freaked! They were like, “Man! Could this be the Son of David!” That is, could this be the promised rescuer that the Bible talks about over and over – the one promised to come to put all things right?
After all, here Jesus was putting this poor guy (who was a wreck) right.
Now, the Pharisees (a group of folks zealous for the Torah lifestyle) saw what happened and didn’t like it – or Jesus. They said he healed by the power of the devil. Jesus, using basic logic said if one casts out devils by the power of the devil then that’s a house that can’t stand – it’s divided – it will implode – and thus is no power at all. Moreover, Jesus adds, if I heal by the devil, then how have you guys done it in the past? Are you in league with the devil too, hmm?
One would think that this argument would suffice, but in typical Jesus fashion, he keeps going using if/then logic. He said, “…if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” That is, the King of the Kingdom (Jesus, the one anointed by God’s Spirit) has come, in the flesh. He’s come to battle the dark forces that enslave us. This is essentially the Gospel – the Good News. Everything has changed – there is a new world order at hand.
Thus, he then goes on to use an analogy of a home break in to help them get his point. Jesus, the strongman, breaks into Satan’s domain and binds him up. Jesus is now plundering. He is healing all the damage that was never part of the original plan. Jesus has ushered in God’s promise – God’s rule. God is now in charge. The kingdom has not been fully consummated (that’s to come), but the decisive battle has been won and we live in abounding hope, full of the Spirit, knowing that victory is a given.
Thus, as only one who has been given all authority can say: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Thanks for reading,