Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.Matthew 12:22-24
And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard [of it], they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.Mark 3:20-22
In our world today, most people are quite content with having religious discussions while completely disagreeing on everything. They walk away satisfied with their own opinions, never seeking to reconcile differences or seek for the truth. Religious discussions in the first century typically did not go that way. When people disagreed, it was very obvious, and often became confrontational.
This scene shows two opinions of Jesus. Jesus had just cast a devil out of man that was blind and dumb. Now that man is able to see and speak! How is this possible? The answer to that question says a lot about the people present there that day. One group thinks He is the Messiah, or the Prince of Peace. The other group thinks He gets His power from the prince of the devils, Beelzeebub.
Many believed that the miracles Jesus performed and the doctrine He taught were evidence that He was the Messiah. The name “Son of David” is a name used by Jews for the Messiah since He was to come through the family of David and sit on David’s throne. They rightly thought that Jesus had to be the Messiah because no one had ever done so many wondrous things for so many.
The unbelieving Scribes and Pharisees also called the Messiah The Son of David (Mark 12:35) but they certainly did not think that Jesus was him! They could not deny the miracles that Jesus performed but they really hated Jesus, and did not like that He led the people away from them. Therefore, they decided to attribute Jesus’ power to Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
Beelzebub means “Lord of the Flies,” or, more specifically, “Lord of the Dung Flies.” This is fitting since he is Satan and everything about him is rotten and corrupted. The Pharisees say that Jesus is able to cast out demons by the power of the prince of those demons, Satan. So they are basically saying that Jesus is in league with the devil, and that His miracles come from power given to Him by the devil.
The opinions of Jesus were quite divided during His earthly ministry. Not much has changed today!