The first two texts prove “God’s Fulfillment Rating” to be one hundred percent reliable—accurate to the smallest detail. There is historical proof that David conquered all his enemies (Psalm 21, v. 8-12). Isaac was indeed the son of Abram (Gen. 21). And later the Israelites endured nearly four centuries of oppression in Egypt, (Gen. 15: 13-14). But the prediction in Matthew’s text leaves me with a disturbing dread.
The context to consider when reading Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees is His chastisement for their wicked accusations against the Holy Spirit.
Our New Testament understanding of Divine Blood and Holy Grace, which together remove our sin, sit paradoxically side by side with Christ’s words, “…men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
More questions are raised here than are answered. What purpose is served by giving account? God knows our every thought. Does Grace exist as some sort of mystical final step in a thoroughly embarrassing autobiography? Are these words only for the ancient Pharisees and not for us? How do we keep the correct context and properly apply this text to an over-arching conviction that the Bible exists for personal evaluation and improvement.
Another thought. Does this “account-giving” exist only for those who reject the Holy Spirit? I’m not sure all of the Pharisees who heard these words fit neatly into that category. They certainly “believed” enough of His power to make every move to discredit and finally murder him. It follows, how could they “own” His resurrection as fact at the time of this encounter? The saving Blood was yet to be shed. And deeper still…sometimes the Spirit “corrects” even the worst sinners.
We see only the ugly motives and wrong words of the Pharisees. We do not know for certain that every one of them rejected Christ’s true identity for the rest of their earthly days. But…the clinker is this — are our thoughts, motives and words more pure? Do we ever wrongly judge the Spirit?
I would guess that a better-studied Biblical student could readily put this into sensible order. But for me it poses a huge challenge: my thoughts and my words need bridles and leashes, funnels and sieves, fences and corrals, bars and cages. The Holy Spirit is the only Master capable of reigning me in. Is this “final accounting” (v. 36) a literal prediction for my future? The Psalm text and the Genesis text were fulfilled as stated. I consider myself duly warned.
Certainly we all have one identity in common with those much- maligned Pharisees — we are too often convinced that our wrongs are thoroughly right! Lord God have mercy on us — sinners that we are —in need of the blessed Baby in the manger.