Hundreds of years before Jesus came, Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah, that “God…will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” (Isaiah 35:4-6)
Two incidents are recorded in the Gospel of Matthew about men strongly influenced by evil or demon spirits. Many people today deny the reality of evil spirits, but Bible-believing Christians must acknowledge that evil spirits are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Gospels and the book of Acts, Jesus and His Apostles dealt with evil spirits and the people who were affected by their influence.
Matthew 9:32 and 33 states, “As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.’”
That record ends abruptly, but it teaches some valuable truths. In this case, the cause of the man’s muteness was a spirit. When the spirit was expelled, the man could speak. It is important to know that not every case of muteness is caused by an evil spirit. It is also interesting that whereas the people marveled at the power of God and were understandably impressed, the Pharisees immediately thought evil of Jesus and voiced their very wrong but influential opinion. “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” They literally thought that Jesus was using devilish power to exorcise demons. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
The next similar account is in Matthew 12:22-30. “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’ Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.’”
Like the first incident, this man’s impairments were caused by a spirit, and when Jesus discerned this, He cast it out and the man saw and spoke. Again, the people were amazed, and considered that Jesus might just be the One they had been waiting for. But the Pharisees, now committed to their erroneous thinking again said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” This time, Jesus knew their thoughts and addressed their hardhearted unbelief.
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”
Through the power of God, Jesus was “…healing all that were oppressed of the devil,” as Acts 10:38 says. The powerless and ineffective religious leaders of Israel were envious of Jesus and the attention He was getting, so they falsely accused Him of “black magic,” using evil powers to deceive people. Jesus always did the will of the Father, reaching out in love and compassion “…to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18) This was an important part of Jesus ministry. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)