No Division

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 Beelzebul, 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 Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, 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 plunder his house.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but 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.

Matthew 12:22-32

On June 16, 1838 after accepting the nomination to be the Republican candidate for the United States Senator from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech addressing slavery. Lincoln said in the speech, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” The speech became known as the “House Divided” speech which would later be published and quoted often. Lincoln lost that particular election.

It is clear that Abraham Lincoln knew his Bible. The words he used as part of his speech were the exact words Jesus used in his response to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were accusing Jesus of using the power of Beelzebul to cast out demons. Jesus points out the absurdity of that claim because if true, Satan’s house would be divided against itself. He even goes on to imply that the Pharisees words could be seen as blasphemy against the Spirit which is the only unforgivable sin.

Today we live in a world of great division, especially in the United States. We are in the process of electing the leadership of our nation. I think that all current and potential leaders in the government and in our churches would benefit from examining Jesus’s and Lincoln’s words once again, or maybe for the first time. A divided house, country, or church cannot stand long. Division breeds hate and hate leads to destruction. As absurd as the claim of the Pharisees which would mean division in evil’s house, division in our homes, nation and churches is equally absurd. Division breeds all things contrary to the love of God. We need to commit to healing the divide and demand it of our leaders.

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