What does Matthew 12:28 mean?
ESV: But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
NIV: But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
NASB: But if I cast out the demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
CSB: If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
NLT: But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
KJV: But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
NKJV: But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has shown that the Pharisees' slander—that He casts out demons by Satan's power—is ridiculous (Matthew 12:22–24). First, it would mean Satan is fighting a battle against himself. Second, it would call into question by whose power the Pharisees attempted their own exorcisms (Matthew 12:25–27).

Now Jesus adds that the Pharisees are missing the most important point of all. If He is truly casting out demons by the power of God's Holy Spirit, then the kingdom of God has come, at last. Of course, this is exactly the conclusion the Pharisees are trying to avoid. The problem here is not merely that they "do not" believe. It's that they "do not want to" believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

Christ leaves His critics no room to escape the most rational conclusion before them. He does indeed cast out demons by the Spirit of God. The Jews widely believed that God's Spirit had left Israel after the prophets had died out hundreds of years earlier. If the Spirit was back and working through Jesus, as it obviously was, the time of the Messiah has come. More than that, the King has come, and the kingdom of God has been initiated, even if it was not fully established.

Jesus' ability to so quickly and easily cast out demons was evidence that He was the Messiah and King. Those who made a conscious effort to resist those truths were in a dire spiritual condition.
Verse Context:
Matthew 12:22–32 begins with Jesus healing a demon-oppressed man who cannot see or speak. The passage ends with a controversial, troubling statement. The crowds wonder if Jesus is the Messiah. Some Pharisees say Jesus casts out demons by the power of the prince of demons. Jesus counters their argument with both logic and a harsh rebuke. The Pharisees have missed the truth: the kingdom of God has come. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—seeing such a miracle and attributing it to Satan—is a sin which will not be forgiven.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 12 features confrontations between the Pharisees and Jesus over several issues. Among these are working on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, and the source of His power to cast out demons. Jesus counters each argument and rebukes the Pharisees sharply for their obstinate unbelief. He even notes that those who maliciously ascribe His miracles to demons are unforgivable. He warns them, and the rest of their current generation, about the judgment to come. Jesus calls the Pharisees a brood of vipers and rejects their demand for another miracle. All they'll be promised is the sign of Jonah. The Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Jesus also states that all who do His Father's will are His family.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 11 depicted Jesus preaching and teaching after sending out His chosen disciples in pairs in chapter 10. Chapter 12 immediately picks up with more confrontation with the Pharisees. Jesus responds to those criticisms and rebukes their evil hearts as the source of their evil words. In the following chapter, Matthew will shift His focus onto Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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