|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:22-30 A soul under Satan's power, and led captive by him, is blind in the things of God, and dumb at the throne of grace; sees nothing, and says nothing to the purpose. Satan blinds the eyes by unbelief, and seals up the lips from prayer. The more people magnified Christ, the more desirous the Pharisees were to vilify him. It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand! And if they said that Jesus cast out devils by the prince of the devils, they could not prove that their children cast them out by any other power. There are two great interests in the world; and when unclean spirits are cast out by the Holy Spirit, in the conversion of sinners to a life of faith and obedience, the kingdom of God is come unto us. All who do not aid or rejoice in such a change are against Christ.
Verse 30. - Parallel passage: Luke 11:23, omitted in Mark. The aim of this verse is doubtful.
(1) It may be addressed to the Pharisees, with the object of showing them what their words really implied. They were not due, as some might think, to mere indifferentism or to a judicial neutrality; such a relation to him was impossible. They were due to opposition of inner life and of outward energy. Thus their words denoted complete separation from him. This he brings out more clearly in the two following verses.
(2) This interpretation, however, would attribute to the Pharisees too great an ignorance of their own feelings of opposition to Christ, and it is therefore best to understand the verse as addressed to the many bystanders. Christ has do-fended himself from the accusation brought against him, and now urges these waverers not to be content with only not opposing him, but to take sides - for, in fact, they cannot help doing so. Indifference in this case is only another name for opposition; not actively to help is really to hinder. Thus understood, the lesson of this verse finds its parallel in vers. 43-45, by which, indeed, it is immediately followed in Luke. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. The first clause speaks of the inner disposition, that which forms the real being of the man; the second, of his energy. Observe that the figure of the second clause appears to be connected with that of ver. 29. If Christ's property is not collected, it is driven further from him. Christ and Christians must gather (John 11:52; cf. Bengel). For gathereth (συνάγων), cf. also Matthew 3:12; Matthew 13:30. In scattereth abroad (σκορπίζει) the thought almost leaves the simile of the σκεύη, and regards the persons signified. Notice that in John 11:52, referred to above, the two verbs συνάγειν and (δια) σκορπίζειν, also occur; the figure there, however, appears to be taken from sheep (cf. John 10:12). Further, Mark 9:40 and Luke 9:50 record the saying, "He that is not against us is for us," which was addressed to our Lord's disciples. Both sayings are necessary; earnest Christians need to remember that when outsiders do anything in Christ's name, it must, on the whole, forward his cause (Philippians 1:18); the undecided must face the fact that neutrality is impossible.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that is not with me, is against me,.... These words chiefly refer to Satan, and are a further proof, that Christ did not cast out devils by him; since they two are as much opposites, as can possibly be; Satan is not on the side of Christ, but an adversary to him; there is an original, and implacable enmity, between the serpent and the seed of the woman; there is an open war between them, and therefore one cannot be thought to lend assistance to the other. They were concerned in different things, had different views and interests, and so took different methods;
and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth: Christ is the good shepherd, that gathers his sheep to himself, and into his fold, by the external ministry of the word, and internal efficacy of his grace; Satan is the wolf, that catches and scatters the sheep, and seeks to kill and destroy them: and since there is such an open war proclaimed and carried on between Christ and the devil, none ought to be neutral; whoever is not on the side of Christ, is reckoned as an enemy; and whoever is not concerned by prayer or preaching, or other means to gather souls to his word and ordinances, and to his church, and to himself, is deemed by him a scatterer of them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
30. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad—On this important parable, in connection with the corresponding one (Mt 12:43-45), see on Lu 11:21-26.
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