Jesus’ missional work generated criticisms of who he was, what he was doing, and whether or not God was in his work at all. In fact, his work is charged as inspired by Satan. This is no small charge against Jesus, and he responds:
1. Missional Jesus compares his work to a kingdom divided: if his work is allegiance with Satan, then it will collapse.
2. The challenge is this: if missional Jesus drives out demons by God’s Spirit, then his work is kingdom missional work — and not work destined to collapse by being at odds with itself (God’s work).
Matthew 12:22 Then they brought him a demon?possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.
3. Verse 30 surprises a bit in context: all those who are doing Jesus’ kind of kingdom work are on the side of missional Jesus.
4. Missional Jesus sees the singular sin at the top to reject the work of God’s Spirit in his missional work. The blasphemy against the Spirit is rejection of God’s Spirit at work in Jesus. (I’m not so sure the “Son of man” in verse 32 is “the” son of man but maybe “any” son of man (human).
5. Missional Jesus challenges all to look into the heart because out of the heart comes the confession about who Jesus is and whether or not Jesus’ work is Spirit-inspired.
6. Missional Jesus says final judgment is rooted in what one “says” about Jesus.
30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”