The Unforgiveable Sin
– C.S. Lewis once argued that there are three conclusions we can come to about the identity of Jesus. Either He was a Liar, He was a Lunatic, or He is the Lord. The Apostles affirmed Him as their Lord. His siblings concluded that He was mentally unbalanced. His enemies brazenly accused Him of being a liar.
I. The Accusation (v. 22)
1) Source of the Accusation – Scribes/ Pharisees
- An escalating pattern of confrontation
- They have already begun to plot his death with the Herodians (3:6)
- They travel all the way from Jerusalem to gather more evidence against Him
2) Occasion of the Accusation – Matthew 12:22-23
- Jesus heals and delivers a man who was blind, mute, and demon possessed
- The people who witness the miracle suggest that Jesus is the ‘Son of David’ (ie. Messiah)
3) Nature of the Accusation
- Jesus is a Liar! They accuse Him of performing miracles through the power of Satan (aka ‘Beelzebul’)
- This same accusation against Jesus is repeated in the Talmud: “Yeshu of Nazareth was hanged on the day of preparation for the Passover because he practised sorcery and led the people astray.” -Sanhedrin 43a
Application: It is very revealing to note that the enemies of Jesus did not deny His ability to perform miracles – not even centuries after the fact! This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence to suggest that the Biblical accounts about Jesus are true!
II. The Response (vv. 23-30)
1) He Reveals their Faulty Logic (vv. 23-28)
- It would be absurd for Satan to attack his own kingdom
- Jesus’ signs of healing and deliverance were so clear and unambiguous that there was no doubt who was attacking who
- Satan sometimes does disguise himself as an ‘angel of light’ so we must be discerning (2 Corinthians 11:12-14)
- If the ‘strong man’ is being plundered a stronger man must have arrived!
2) He Reveals their Wicked Hearts (vv. 29-30)
- The seriousness of this warning – Jesus begins his statement with an ‘Amen’
- The magnitude of God’s forgiveness – ‘all sins will be forgiven… and whatever blasphemies they utter.’ (cf. 1 Tim 1:13-14)
- Unforgiveable sin: Blaspheming the Spirit
- “A union of light in the head with hatred in the heart” – J.C. Ryle
- “Those persons sin and blaspheme against the Holy Spirit who maliciously turn to His dishonour the perfections of God which have been revealed to him by the Spirit” – John Calvin
- See Also: Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-31
Application: If you are troubled that you’ve blasphemed and committed the ‘unforgiveable sin’, you have not committed it!! Those who are guilty of this sin are so hardened toward God that they have no desire for His forgiveness. God knows who’s committed this sin but we do not! Never assume that someone you know has passed the point of no return – only eternity will tell.