Scripture: Matthew 12:31-37 [NLT]
31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:31-37, New King James Version)
Here Jesus continues to teach about the truth of what is in the heart. It is by what comes out of our mouths (the direct megaphone of the heart) that we are condemned or saved, not by our actions.
I see him standing in the midst of a crowd of people, many of them scribes and Pharisees. The S&P’s have been plotting His murder and seeking to discredit Him with stupid questions and accusations. This cartoon actually depicts the situation well, with humor. They were all standing around Him, in a visual state of condemnation and self importance. They were self made men, not chosen by God, but made “Godly” by themselves in the eyes of other men. A bunch of religious gangsters, addicted to their own lies.
Now Jesus steps on their street corner and starts selling something new. Something the people are responding to. Something real. It threatens the very core of what they have spent so much time setting up. They are so blinded by their desire to hold on to this facade that they will plot murder to keep it.
Jesus sees right through the lies and goes straight to the heart. “You brood of vipers”! Another way of saying “You generation of snakes”! He identifies the very problem that they don’t realize or would never admit to having; a heart problem. They think that whatever other people see is what makes them holy. They may even think that whatever God sees them do is what makes them Holy. The problem is that God can see the heart, and they have forgotten to let that be changed. They, in essence, are trying to “fool” God. Not possible. So Jesus explains to them that a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. He even gives them the opportunity to understand that there is hope for them as well. They can blaspheme against even the Son of Man (plot His murder, seek to discredit) and be forgiven, it is only the heart change against the Holy Spirit that cannot be undone, because it sticks. Finally He gives a warning. He reminds them that this heart stuff is important and determines how we stand at the Judgement day.
Application: (How can I apply this to my life?)
I need to check my heart condition on a daily basis. Why am I going to church? Why am I reading my bible? Am I allowing my heart to be changed or am I just going along for the ride? I want to be used by God, but I have to be careful that my heart doesn’t get in the way.
Prayer: (Let Him know what you think)
Please change my heart. Make me more like You. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but it is so much easier sometimes. Help me to be genuine. Help me to have good things come out of me that help others. Help me to love my enemies.
Today I give You my life to use as You see fit. I am not even going to guess at what you want me to do, but I am willing. You know what it will take to put me on the right path, so I ask that you will put me there.
Thank you for all that you provide in my life. Help me today at work and help me to be a light to someone else. Be with my children. Keep them safe Lord and bring them home to You. I love You. Amen.