“But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” – Matthew 12:24 (ESV)
I’ve read this account quite a few times now in Matthew, Mark and Luke, and each time I have to admit, I laugh a bit when I read it. I’m amazed at the logic that the Pharisees come up with to actually make this statement. Basically the Pharisees are convinced that Satan himself is behind the destruction of his own kingdom ?! I think beyond that though Jesus gives a good indication of how black their hearts were at this time by his statement in verse 34 – “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If the Pharisees actually went and said these words, you can imagine what they must have been thinking. The people around them were amazed at what Jesus was doing and they apparently had become so angry and frustrated that they began spewing nonsense.
On the other hand, I consider this a good warning for myself as well. If “the abundance of my heart” contains anger, impatience, and irritability, eventually that will bubble up to the surface, and I’ll most likely say something that I’ll regret. Jesus reminds us in verses 36 and 37 that we’ll have to account for everything we say, and those words will either justify or condemn us. We should instead look to the words of Paul in Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Let our words build up and encourage others and not tear down.