How Did He Do That

Bible Book: Matthew  12 : 22-32
Subject: Miracles of Jesus; Jesus, Power of

Kate Kelly shares the following on Ehrich Weiss (1874-1926) aka Harry Houdini: “When the crowds witnessed Houdini’s escapes from handcuffs, chains, ropes, and straitjackets, or attended later performances when he perfected new feats like escaping from the Chinese Water Torture Cell or surviving a Buried Alive stunt, the people remembered Houdini and loved the new puzzles with which he presented them. Audiences were left scratching their heads and saying, ‘How did he do that?’Dr. Gene A. Getz shares, “My wife and I enjoy magic— realizing, of course, that it's all illusion! In fact, we had a very unusual encounter with David Copperfield— probably one of the greatest magicians since Houdini. At one point in his program, Copperfield came down from the platform and picked Elaine out of the audience. He had her stand dead center in the midst of a great crowd. He then took a paper napkin and carefully formed it into the shape of a rose. As good magicians do, he gave it to her so she could examine it, and then took it back. At that point, he let loose of it and it floated in thin air— over his arm, around his hand— all the time demonstrating there were no ‘strings attached!

​Copperfield then took a lighter from his pocket, ignited the ‘floating object,’ and the rose-shaped napkin burst into flames and disappeared. At that moment, from out of nowhere, Copperfield reached up and grabbed a real rose floating in front of him and, in the midst of great applause, handed it to my wife as a gift.

‘How did he do that?’ everyone was asking themselves— including my wife and me. Yes, it was real! I held it and smelled it when she came back and sat down. It was, of course, an illusion! In fact, it was a minor trick compared with the other incredible things David Copperfield did that evening. True magicians, of course, admit openly that what they do has nothing to do with the supernatural. They simply have learned the fantastic art of ‘deceiving us’ in various ways! And it's fun.”

Acts 19:11-20 reads, “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left themand the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”

After this embarrassing encounter, no doubt these itinerate Jewish exorcists reflected on seeing or hearing Jesus cast out demons and wondered, “How did he do that?”

Dr. Craig A. Evans explains, “The miracles were not some sort of sideshow by which Jesus impressed or silenced critics. The miracles were essential, not only to prove the truth of the proclamation that God’s rule had truly come (the point of ‘Jesus’ Exorcisms and Healings’) but to prove that the ministry of Jesus was in fulfillment of ancient prophecy.”

Dr. Trent C. Butler comments, “Demon possession affects people in different ways. Jesus found a man whom a demon had robbed of speech. Dealing with the demon, Jesus restored the man's ability to speak. The witnessing crowds stood almost speechless in amazement.

How did he do that? they asked.”

Note three things in our text recorded in Matthew 12:22-32.

I. First, note the wishful connection.

Matthew 12:22-23 reads, “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’”

​Was this just wishful thinking? The Messianic hope was alive in the minds and hearts of the Israelites. For example, Matthew 15:21-22 reads, “Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.’” Matthew 20:29-31 reads, “Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!’ Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!’”

Isaiah 35:5 reads, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” Matthew 11:2-5 reads, “And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’” 

​Matthew 1:1 reads, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” Luke 3:23 and 31 reads, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli. . . . the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David.” Jesus Christ is David’s greater son! From Psalm 110:1-7 we read David’s announcement of the Messiah’s reign: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemiesYour footstool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst ofYour enemies! Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. The Lord has swornAnd will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.’ The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; Therefore He shall lift up the head.”

II. Second, note the wicked comment.

Matthew 12:24 reads, “Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.’”

​Mark 3:22 reads, “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebub,’ and, ‘By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.’”

​Luke 11:15-16 reads, “But some of them said, ‘He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.’ Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.” This was the answer of the scribes and Pharisees as to the question: “How did he do that?”

Their answer was not just a wrong answer it was a wicked comment with lasting repercussions and eternal consequences. This was not the first time they made this comment. Matthew 9:32-34 reads, “As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.’”

​Dr. William Hendriksen (1900-1982) comments, “The slander spread by the adversaries was not a slight deviation from a factual presentation but a wicked obscuration. It was the very opposite of the truth, for not by the power of an evil spirit but by the Spirit of God did Jesus cast out demons. How could it be otherwise?”

Don Fleming explains, “God could forgive the doubts and misunderstandings people had about Jesus, but he would not forgive their defiant rejection of the clear evidence that all Jesus' works were good and that they originated in God. Those who called God's Spirit Satan, who called good evil, had put themselves in a position where they had no way of acknowledging God's goodness. Therefore, they had no way of receiving his forgiveness (Matt 12:30-32).”  

No wonder Jesus gave His greatest words of woe to these religious leaders in Matthew 23, when He repeatedly declared, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” For example, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). The Lord through Isaiah warns, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20a).

III. Third, note the wise corrective.

Matthew 12:25-32 reads, “But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 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.’”

Remember “Jesus knew their thoughts.” Psalm 139:2 reads, “You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.”  Jeremiah 17:10 reads, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Dr. John Phillips (1927-2010) explains, “He read their thoughts and He rejected their theory.”

​Jesus explains in Matthew 10:25-26, “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”

Matthew 17:14-21 reads, “And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.’ Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”


Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, “When you ask people, ‘What is the unpardonable sin?’they usually reply, ‘It is blaspheming the Holy Spirit’ or ‘It is the sin of attributing to the devil the works of the Holy Spirit.’ Historically speaking, these statements are true; but they do not really answer the question. . . . People today cannot commit the ‘unpardonable sin’ in the same way the Jewish religious leaders did when Jesus was ministering on earth.”

Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter (1903-1999) shares the following comment: “Men can allow and foster in themselves a process of hard refusal toward God which eventually becomes their master and destroys the possibility of repentance. Men cannot repent merely at will.” No one knows the moment a person moves from would not repent to could not repent. Sir Thomas Fuller (1808–1876) warns, “You cannot repent too soon, because you do not know how soon it may be too late.” Dr. W. A. Criswell (1909-2002) cited the following poem in his message based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 titled, “The Time is NOW”:

There is a time, I know not when,
A place, I know not where,
That marks the destiny of men,
To glory or despair.
There is a line, by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God’s mercy and God’s wrath.
How long may men go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end and where begins
The confines of despair?
Our answer from the skies is sent
‘Ye who from God depart,
While it is called today, Repent!
And harden not your heart.’

Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988) shares, “Aaron Burr was a grandson of the great Jonathan Edwards who, upon an occasion, conducted meetings at Princeton, where Aaron Burr was a student. There was a great spiritual movement in the school. One night Jonathan Edwards preached on the subject, ‘The Mastery of Jesus.’ Aaron Burr was deeply stirred, and he went to the room of one of his professors to talk to him about making a decision for Jesus. The professor urged him not to make a decision under any sort of an emotional appeal, but to wait until after the meetings were over. Aaron Burr postponed making a decision and went on to murder a great American and to betray his country. When he was an old man, a young man came to him and said, ‘Mr. Burr, I want you to meet a Friend of mine.’ Aaron Burr said, ‘Who is he?’ The young man replied, ‘He is Jesus Christ, the Savior of my soul.’ A cold sweat broke out on the forehead of Aaron Burr, and he replied, ‘Sixty years ago I told God if He would let me alone, I would let Him alone, and He has kept His word!’”

Dr. J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) writes, “There is such a thing as a sin which is never forgiven. But those who are troubled about it are most unlikely to have committed it.” In a similar way, Dr. Craig L. Blomberg writes, “Moreover, professing believers who fear they have committed the unforgivable sin demonstrate a concern for their spiritual welfare which by definition proves they have not committed it.”

Jesus warns in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” 

These words provide a warning to those who have spurious evidence of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Having a personal relationship with God the Father, through God the Son, by God the Holy Spirit is the most important thing in the world! Remember the miracles of Jesus were done in obedience to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, if someone should ask, “How did He do that?”