Key Scripture: Mark 3:22
“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, he hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” (KJV)
“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, he is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” (ESV)
“And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, he is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” (NIV)
Matthew 12:24 “But when the pharisees heard it, they said, this fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
Luke 11:15, “But some of them said, he casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.”
Looking at this verse, what stands out or jumps out at you? Yes, the big word Beelzebub. And we’ll get to that in a minute.
As I stated last week, word had gotten back to Jerusalem about Jesus ministry, not only to Jesus’s family, but to the religious leaders as well. The words “to come down” is used regularly in the Bible for journeying away from Jerusalem which is situated in the hill country. Here we have the big wigs traveling a great distance from Jerusalem to hinder what Jesus was doing. The distance from Jerusalem to Capernaum is about 120 miles. So it would take several days to travel over the hilly terrain. Since Jerusalem is the capital city, these scribes would probably be more educated and would probably have more influence over the religious leaders around Capernaum and once again starting a suggestion that Jesus was possessed by a demon named Beelzebub.
Ok, now the big word “Beelzebub” which is also spelled “Beelzebul”. Beelzebub was a Philistine god worshipped in the city of Ekron (per the Old Testament). The word Beelzebub is the Greek spelling of Baal-zebub meaning “lord of the flies”. Baal was the Cannanite fertility god and “zebub” is Hebrew for flies.
Remember that the religious leaders and the people would only have the Old Testament to study and read from, where as we have both the Old and New Testaments. The leaders could have read from 2 Kings 1:2, “And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, ‘Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.’”
It was believed Baalzebub had command over disease. Flies congregate around corpses of the dead, and spread disease from the dead to the living and his role was to tempt men with pride. So you can probably see why Ahaziah wanted to inquire of this god. According to demonology, when Satan first rebelled he recruited several powerful seraphim, Beelzebub among them, to fight at his side. Once he took up his new residence in hell, Beelzebub learned to tempt men with pride. When summoned by witches or sorcerers, he appeared in the form of a fly, because “lord of the flies” was his fictitious name when he performed this role. Beelzebub came to be regarded as the leading representative of the fallen gods, even referred to as the devil himself as we see in Matthew 12:24.
Thus we have the scribes acknowledging that Jesus is performing unusual miracles and doing them by supernatural power, but they suggest His power was demonic. Therefore they were claiming Jesus was demon possessed. They were insinuating that Jesus had Beelzebub on his side, was in league with him, and by the prince of the devils cast out devils. They were attributing the work of Jesus to the work of Satan who is very subtle in his lies.
But there is a “fly in the ointment.” Satan is not cast out, he usually only goes out by consent. However, we can see that this is not the case when it came to Jesus casting out devils, Jesus did it with authority. The demons knew who Jesus was, and when Jesus spoke to drive them out, they left immediately. No trying to negotiate. Wanting more time or maybe we will. Jesus had authority over them and it happened.
Unlike our society today. The secular world and even in some Christian areas God is underestimated. The secular world doesn’t believe that God is so mean that he would send anyone to hell. If you’re good, you attend church, help others you will go to heaven. But the Bible tells us differently. When Jesus returns, there will be no second chances. There will be no negotiating.
What should be do?
1. Read and study God’s Word. This is our sword that we can fight against Satan. This sword is double edged and cuts going in and coming out. We need to attack Satan with it. The best defense is offense.
2. Be ready for opposition.
3. Be ready with your testimony. Your testimony means more to people than just trying to persuade someone.
4. Look for opportunities.
5. Do it!