It is worth re-reading the debate between Jesus and his opponents. As they oppose someone of whom they don’t know that he himself is the very source of truth, we can listen carefully to what is raised in these debates. The scribes accuse Jesus: ‘Beelzebul is in him.’ ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ Putting aside their biased misreading of him, we can learn a lot of the issues raised by their (wrong) judgement. We are invited to meditate on the nature of knowing God; and what blocks, and what fulfils this knowledge.
To start with, a good definition of Satan surfaces. Evil is a power that blocks genuine knowledge of God. The scribes insinuate this when they see in Jesus a danger, a ‘falsification’ of who God is. As Christians, we can really ignore their unbelief. They refuse altogether the potential in this encounter. Namely, that Jesus’ person can be a special - and ultimate! - revelation of who God is.
Rather, the real focus is how the crowd (who are being healed) respond to Jesus, in faith. The scribes are certain that through their knowledge they absolutely grasped who Jesus is. They had all the advantage of their refined intellect; and they are certain that theirs is the proper discernment of what is and what is not divine.
The crowd (in it, the first believers), however, recognises Jesus. Their knowledge springs from something which predates all subtle ‘understanding’. This origin is what the scribes have forgotten about. This is the very first act of our rational mind, the wisdom of faith. It is from this spark of Love (spark for Divine Love) from which all religious understanding unfolds. And the great lesson is that we must keep the balance right. While we develop our understanding of the world, and that of God, we need to maintain our faith.
The scribes were driven by their hubris, forgetting this originating concept of Love. They forgot the wisdom, but the ‘crowd’ did not: twe keep connected with God through our initial experience of Love. Via total trust. That is why, we can read Jesus’ stern warning as a judgement on forgetting divine Wisdom, through which we were created. ‘But let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of eternal sin’. The moral is crystal clear. Humility - wisdom which alone can grasp the divine - is the greatest connection to God.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..