Matthew 12:43-50 | Shaun LePage | April 15, 2007
A. Ancient legend: Man fell into quicksand. Confucius came along: “It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this.” Buddha came along: “Let that man’s plight be a lesson to the rest of the world.” Mohammed came along: “Alas, it is the will of God.” Finally, Jesus came: “Take my hand. I will save you.”
B. Matthew 1-10—Jesus presenting Himself to Israel as King—He is the issue, not His teachings. He is the solution to the dead, legalistic religion the nation was drowning in. Sadly, instead of taking His hand, the nation—the leaders of the nation especially—rejected Him (Chs 11-12).
C. Flow of Ch12:
1. 1-21—series of confrontations with scribes/Pharisees over the Sabbath, Jesus denounced their legalism/neglect of Scripture and declared “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”
2. 22-37—Jesus gave another sign (cast demon); scribes/Pharisees: “By Beezebul the ruler of demons” (official rejection), Jesus warned them of the unforgivable sin—willfully rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit; choose wisely—don’t be a dishonest doubter
3. 38-42—Scribes/Pharisees asked for a “sign,” Jesus said: No sign but the sign of Jonah (Resurrection)—judgment is coming for those who refuse to believe.
4. 43-50—Two illustrations that bring all this together
II. Body—Matthew 12:43-50
A. Illustration #1: A spiritual house (43-45)
1. (43) Main character: “unclean spirit” (a.k.a., demon).
a) Connection to v.22f—teachable moment! “Take this man for instance”?
b) Jesus treated Satan/demons as real/cast out. Also: Every NT writer mentions Satan/demons
c) Clinton Arnold (Talbot School of Theology): “I do not like to think about evil. It grieves and frightens me. I would much rather ignore it and discuss something pleasant…Ultimately we cannot ignore the topic. Evil imposes itself upon us and those we love. And if we want help from the Bible for dealing with the problem of evil, we must be willing to take seriously what the Bible takes seriously: the intense involvement in life of a figure named Satan and his powers of darkness.” (Powers of Darkness, p.11)
d) Nature of demons: 1) “goes out” means they go in—possession is very real; not told yet why/how he went out; 2) “waterless places” (desert)—not explained, but no need for food/water; must be figurative, opposite of “rest” (greater satisfaction), doesn’t find it
2. (44) “I will return…”—may have left voluntarily, not important—he’s gone | “house”=“man” (43; cf.v.29) demons seek to possess people; dangerous to open the door | “unoccupied, swept, and put in order”—emphasis on “unoccupied” (ready for new resident)
3. (45) Moves in with 7 others; worse off than ever!
a) “That is the way”—a parable (leads into ch.13)—look for the main point—Context!!
(1) “house/man”=“evil generation (cf. 39,41,42) /scribes and Pharisees” who are being rebuked for rejecting Christ—willful unbelief;
(2) Jesus is able to “bind the strong man…plunder his house” (v.29)—make demons “go out” (43)
(3) “Unoccupied house”=man (teachable moment) “swept” clean of demon; still not complete—doesn’t have a new resident; problem was “put off” but hasn’t “put on” Christ! Christ doesn’t want only to clean up, He wants occupancy! When does He take occupancy? When we believe—we give Him the throne of our hearts; He takes possession; Satan/demons counterfeit this for destruction; Christ occupies us to give us eternal, abundant life—Ephesians 3:14-19; Romans 8:9 (cf. John 14:17)
(4) scribes/Pharisees/evil generation=unoccupied; refusing the only tenant who can give them life; indecision about who would be given occupancy is like a wide-open door—an invitation to very unpleasant guests. Indecisive people will become hardened in unbelief, leads to self-righteousness—you reject the Only Solution long enough, you will fall into the hands of Satan/demons/evil world system/sinful, fleshly state—degenerate an “evil generation”
b) Picture: Reformation without regeneration (Titus 3:5); religion without relationship—being a good person is not enough; moral living is not enough, we need God’s righteousness; Romans 10:1-4; Matthew 9:13
c) Write: Let Christ take up residency in your house—trust Him to make you righteous before God. Already righteous? Warn your generation.
B. Illustration #2: A spiritual family (46-50)
1. (46-47) Another teachable moment. His family came to visit—not told why. [Note: Joseph and Mary had other children after Jesus was born; at least 9 references to Jesus’ half-brothers/sisters; If Joseph’s from previous marriage, Jesus would not have been heir to David’s throne / no evidence anyway—“perpetual virginity” doctrine of Roman Catholic Church; I love Mary (named 5th child after her)—good example, not sinless “Queen of Heaven”; Luke 11:27-28 perfect opportunity to exalt Mary; Mary just another who “heard and observed”.]
2. (48) What kind of question is that? Disrespectful? Disowning His family? No! Teachable moment—an illustration of the point He had been trying to make.
3. (49-50) Literal family illustration for spiritual family—Those who believe in Him become part of His intimate spiritual family—“My Father who is in heaven” (not Joseph). Even more important relationship than flesh and blood family—ultimately (Remember 10:34-39?) | “Whoever does the will of My Father”—works? If we don’t, we’re kicked out of the family? No. First and foremost: John 6:29—gets us in the family, John 1:12; Ephesians 1:5; Then Ephesians 2:8-9—what He saved us for; our purpose / show of gratitude
4. Notice “whoever”—universal invitation to personal, family relationship—2nd birth.
5. Write: Let Christ take you into His family—trust Him to make you a child of God. Already a child? Invite others.
III. Closing: Visit to grandparent’s homes—not the same without loved ones living in them. It’s all about the occupants. True spiritually as well. The Occupant makes all the difference. Invite Him in. Become part of the family. Warn those you love about the dangers of being unoccupied—stubbornly undecided. Invite them into the family.