FREE SPEECH AND BLASPHEMY
The critics of Jesus made many mocking accusations against Him. Jesus also practiced freedom of speech and spoke directly and colorfully to those who used religion to oppress and humiliate.
There is an appropriate place for shocking speech. There are times when we must speak up to people who are subtly or deliberately abusive. This is not the same as derisive mockery or slander.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time would comment openly saying that His power to do miracles came from the Devil. Jesus did not take this as a simple misunderstanding or attempt at humor. He identified their attitude as one of blasphemy. Jesus points out the absurdity of their accusation. Their ideas about him were actually insulting to the character of God.
Jesus is not speaking about a winsome and mischievous little red man with horns and a pitchfork. Satan is the same tempter who challenged him in the wilderness during the forty day fast. This is the same Devil who stood before the Godhead contesting for the life of Job. This is the rebel who led a mutiny in Heaven and the exodus of one-third of the angels. This is the serpent that beguiled the favorite beings in God’s Creation.
These religious leaders now accused Jesus of cooperating with Lucifer. They were attributing the work of God in Jesus’ ministry to the Devil! They often accused Jesus of blasphemy, the very sin they were now committing.
What is blasphemy? It is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.[i]
Humans may have a tolerance for hearing blasphemy, but God is not amused by the arrogance of people who defy and mock Him. At the heart of blasphemy is a disregard for the true nature of God.
Jesus responds to their accusation with an appeal to reason. How can a house be divided against itself and stand? Why would Satan do anything to help people? Why would the Devil cast out demons from one who suffers? Why would the Enemy save someone from death by sickness?
Satan is the strong man and a thief. If a person wants to go into his domain to recover what’s been stolen, they better first deal with the strong man. He will need to be overtaken and restrained.
Jesus is the stronger man who entered Satan’s domain and bound him. Jesus has broken in and is retrieving all that will come out. To deny the work of Christ is at best ignorance and blindness. To deny the work of Christ is at its worst blasphemy and defiance.