Read Matthew 12
And so we come to—and I know you guessed it—the shores of Tripoli. Most of you didn’t get this in your United States history class, so this will count for extra credit. Have you ever heard of the Barbary Wars?
United States Naval ships with a complement of Marines were sent to engage the Barbary pirates that were interrupting everyone’s shipping lane off of the coast of North Africa.
A lieutenant name Presley Obannon and about 6 Marines were assigned to capture the city of Derna, Tripoli. That sounds about right. One city one officer and six Marines. That should do it.
It, of course, took a few more men than that. Lieutenant Obannon recruited many locals to fill out his ranks and he did capture the city. He needed a combat multiplier and he found it in the local population who had grown tired of their ruler.
There are other combat multipliers. Air support, surprise, night attacks, and if you go back to the time of Napoleon, hilltop skirmishers would exhaust this French military icon as he moved at a snail’s pace fighting the British across the Iberian Peninsula. These were combat multipliers.
Here’s one that tops them all. Dissension among the enemy in his ranks or his government. If the enemy can be divided against itself, how much easier is it for the advancing army to defeat them? Dividing the enemy against itself is the ultimate combat multiplier.
The people wondered if Jesus could be the Son of David. Could he be the Son of God? Could he be the promised Messiah? He had healed and driven out demons.
They had seen what he had done and believed that such miracles could only come of God.
The Pharisees countered. What he does is from Beelzebub. This Jesus is casting out demons in the name of Satan.
Jesus countered. You guys are terrible tacticians. If Satan is attacking his own forces of evil, how can he withstand even the smallest attack from godly people?
The short version is that dog don’t hunt.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus had already told these hypocrites that they missed the heart of God when they applied the law. Understand that God desires mercy not sacrifice. They didn’t get that part.
Now Jesus outed these high and mighty religious leaders as terrible battlefield commanders. You should have been the shepherds of Israel, but you blew that. Now, you are playing general and you are way out of your league.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. Only by the power of God do these miracles make sense. Jesus would take off the kid gloves in chapter 23, but he has given them a dose of what is to come.
Jesus is from God, of God, the Son of God, and doing God’s work. There is no other explanation that works.