October 31, 2002

Commentary on Matt 12:44-46:
The controversy over exorcism in the preceding context sets the stage for Jesus to establish the superiority of his New Covenant ministry over the Old as administered by the Pharisees. Although the Pharisees expel evil spirits ("your sons", 12:27), they leave a vacuum that exposes individuals to more severe counterattacks from Satan. Jesus also drives out demons, but, unlike the Pharisees, he fills believers with the greater power of his kingdom through the Spirit (12:28). Jesus' contemporaries must prefer these blessings of his kingdom ministry to the real but limited benefits of the Pharisee's ministry; otherwise they are left vulnerable to spiritual catastrophes worse than before. - RSV-CE Ignatius Study Bible

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