February 08, 2019

Kingdom Contested

Matthew 12:22-30

“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

—  Matthew 12:28

Have you ever paid careful attention to political elections, and specifically the political debates leading up to an election? Most often we see candidates putting one another down, even resorting to name calling. These leaders recognize and are motivated by the fact that their future depends on being the chosen one.

Jesus heals a deaf and mute man, a man with an evil spirit. The people who are watching begin to wonder if Jesus is the Messiah. The Pharisees see that this could affect their position of influence and ­power, so they automatically discredit Jesus. They realize that if indeed the Spirit of God is at work and the kingdom of heaven has come, then the Messiah-King is present and they are no longer in charge. So they suggest that Jesus is only able to do this miracle because he is part of Satan’s kingdom.

Notice how Jesus responds. He makes clear that the choice is significant; there is no middle ground. If the people are not for him, they are against him. The kingdom of God shares no ground with the devil.

In the way we interact with others each day, in the way we use our resources, we show whether we are for or against Jesus. It’s important that each of us take time to consider which team we are a part of.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being our King. We are excited to be part of what you are doing here on earth. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Dale Melenberg

Dale Melenberg is a second-career pastor. He received a theology degree through Calvin Theological Seminary and a doctorate of ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is married to Gloria, and together they have raised three sons and are enjoying their four grandchildren. Growing up in an immigrant community shaped Dale’s view of family, church, and community in a profound way that continues to inform his life-view toward kingdom living with God, neighbors, and the creation.

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