Good and evil

A demon-possessed man, who could neither see nor speak, was brought to Jesus, and he healed him. The watching crowd was amazed and said to each other, “Could this be the Son of David?”

But when the Pharisees heard about the incident, they dismissed it, saying, “It’s only by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”

Jesus knew what they were thinking.

“Any kingdom divided against itself is doomed. And any city or household divided against itself will fall. And if Satan were casting out Satan, he’d be divided against himself – so how would his kingdom stand? And if I’m casting out demons by Beelzebub, by whom are your people casting them out? They’ll be your judges. But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

“Tell me, who can go into the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone who’s stronger – who first ties the strong man up. Then he can plunder his house!

“Anyone who isn’t with me is against me. And anyone who doesn’t gather with me, scatters. So I must warn you that every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. That will never be forgiven. For anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

“If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of vipers! How can you who are evil ever say anything good? For the mouth speaks whatever is in the heart. A good man brings out good things from the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings out evil things from the evil stored up in his heart. And here I must warn you again – everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every idle word that they’ve spoken.

“It’s by your words that you’ll be acquitted, and it’s by your words that you’ll be condemned.”

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law and Pharisees came to Jesus.

“Teacher,” they said, “we want you to show us a sign.”

“Only a wicked, adulterous generation would ask for a sign!” he said. “No sign will be given other than the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

“The people of Nineveh will stand up with this generation on the day of judgment and they’ll condemn it, because they repented when they heard the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will also stand up with this generation on the day of judgment and she’ll condemn it, because she came from the end’s of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes into arid places seeking rest, but it doesn’t find any. Then it says to itself, ‘I’ll go back to the place that I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept clean, and furnished. Then the spirit gathers together seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all go into that man and live there. So the final condition of the man is worse than before. And that’s how it’s going to be for this wicked generation.”

As Jesus was talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers arrived outside the house and sent a message inside, asking to speak to him.

“Your mother and your brothers are outside,” said someone to Jesus, “and they want to speak to you.”

“Who is my mother and my brothers?”asked Jesus. Then he indicated the disciples around him, and said, “These are my mother and brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew

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