Friday, August 3, 2018

Other Names for Jesus

"But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons” (Matthew 12:24).

Jesus called Himself the Son of Man. God the Father called Him Lord of all. The disciples and the church called Him the Messiah. Philosophers have called Him the “Logos” or Word of God. But people who didn’t like Jesus also called Him names. As we saw on April 30, they called Him a glutton and a drunkard because He enjoyed food and wine on certain social occasions.

In the story recorded in Matthew 12:22–24, we find Jesus healing a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. But some of the Pharisees said that Jesus was in league with the Beelzebub. Beelzebub means “Lord of the Flies,” and was a title given to Satan.

All of us have been called names, and Jesus obviously was called such names as well. We notice, though, that Jesus was very tolerant of criticism. He did not open His mouth before His accusers, ordinarily. On this occasion, however, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees with one of the most frightening warnings in the New Testament.

He said, “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” (v. 32). Jesus insisted that He was delivering men from Satan by the power of the Spirit: “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (v. 28). To reject this work of the Spirit was to reject the kingdom, and obviously there could be no salvation if a person rejected the kingdom.

Jesus was saying to the Pharisees: “Be careful. It’s one thing for you men to say things about Me, but you’d better be careful if you reject the Holy Spirit.” Jesus went on to turn the tables on them. They called Him a son of Satan, but He said that, in fact, the Pharisees were the real sons of Satan, a “brood of vipers,” sons of the serpent (v. 34).

Few would dare attack Jesus Christ directly, though Hollywood increasingly attempts to scandalize Him. However, the world delights in finding flaws in people who represent Christ. Sometimes those flaws are real, as we have seen recently in several cases that achieved national notoriety. Pray that God will guard you and our Christian leadership from falling into sin.