Jesus’ exorcisms and healings (vv. 7–12) lead the indignant scribes to respond with a vile accusation—they claim that Jesus performs exorcisms by “Beelzubul . . . the prince of demons,” that is, by Satan himself (v. 22)! In effect, they make Jesus out to be a sorcerer. He perceives the thoughts behind their invective and points out the illogic of the accusation: Why would Satan fight against himself by opposing his own demons? That would be absurd. In fact, Jesus expels demons by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus then provides an illustration of someone robbing a strong man’s house, which is possible only if the robber first overpowers the strong man. It is the same for Jesus’ exorcisms: far from cooperating with Satan, Jesus overpowers him when he delivers people from demon possession (v. 27). Jesus then declares that the scribes’ attribution of his exorcisms to the work of Satan is a sin that will never be forgiven (vv. 28–30). The Jewish leaders know that Jesus casts out demons by God’s power, yet, in order to keep the people from receiving him as Messiah, the scribes accuse him of using Satan’s power. This sin, Jesus declares, is unforgiveable!
power to the Devil, the scribes were blaspheming the Holy Spirit, who is God. Thus they never have forgiveness, Jesus warns, for they are “guilty of an eternal sin” (v. 29). Theology for Life—Although Christians sometimes accuse themselves of committing the unpardonable sin, only unbelievers who deliberately and irreversibly reject the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives commit this sin.