When he said, "Anyone who is not with me," he was referring to the Pharisees and Law teachers who were there but were unable to connect. They were there and yet not there. That's what the context says. Jesus freed a demon-possessed synagogue member right in their midst, and they failed to get the point. Oh, don't think, how could these Pharisees not see the obvious? Because many Christians and churches and pastors today likewise have the inability to connect. Even some of those in our HISgroup discipleship. And like their Pharisee and Law teacher counterparts, disconnected "believers" today are solidly bible-based, believe the one true God, and profess a personal relationship with God. Yet, they fail to connect.
It is possible to be where all the action is and yet not be with Jesus. And the sure sign that you're not with Jesus is, if you miss his point--like claiming to believe Jesus and yet still be denominational. Jesus urges complete unity of all believers. How complete? As the Father and Son are one. Being denominational shows you miss Jesus' point altogether. And missing the point also shows in your mindset, character and life, ministry, and powerlessness.
Read Matthew 12 and you'd see that everything Jesus did was missed by the Pharisees--picking and eating heads of grain in the grainfield on a Sabbath, healing on a Sabbath, driving demons out, and performing a sign from heaven. It was a Pharisaical spirit or demon that kept them from being with Jesus or connecting with him.
When you're unable to connect, you fail to see the Kingdom concept of mercy being supreme than sacrifice. Pharisaical demons will confine your insight to religious doctrines, policies, manuals, procedures, accepted norms, and programs and activities. These demons will blind you to things that really matter to God's eyes.
How urgent is having a shriveled hand, really? What's more life threatening, shriveled hand or high blood pressure? Or diabetes? Or heart failure? You can well live even without having your shriveled hand healed. So, it was not urgent. People might have thought, Jesus could've just let the Sabbath day pass by. He could've done the healing the next day. That way, no Sabbath rule was desecrated, no one was offended, and everybody would be happy.
But you see, Jesus cannot stand the sight of pain or discomfort. He will always go out of his way, demolish traditions and rules, break even the Law, just to ease suffering or even a small discomfort. Why? Because mercy is better than sacrifice. He will never sacrifice a man with shriveled hand even for a minute in favor of observing human religious policies or manuals or programs, no matter how biblical.
But the Pharisees and their minions didn't see this--as many today don't. Pastors, preachers, and churches today bury themselves in concern over their sermon outlines, sermon titles and key words, programs, if worship programs are well printed, if everything is done according to programs, if their attire is formal and presentable, if the choir singing is good, etc.---while in the congregation are souls suffering because of failing marriages, wife not submitting to husband in all things, husband not loving the wife, broken homes, rebellious kids insubmissive to parents, drinking, smoking, drugs, homosexuality, sexual immorality, and the like.
Sometimes, these things happen even to the pastor and his family! All because important things in God's eyes are sacrificed in favor of strict compliance with human rules and traditions.
Moreover, people in the congregation suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, etc.--and all the pastor does is give good sermons and programs. Remember, Jesus couldn't stand the sight of a man with a simple shriveled hand! We should have the same mercy. Mercy gets great applause in heaven over sacrifice. Let's not sacrifice people's lives over worthless human formalities, priorities and showmanship. Before you do anything, check if your personal and church witness glorify God. If not, focus on that and forget about church programs, activities, and performance.
You still wonder why that man with a shriveled hand in their synagogue never had healing until Jesus came? Because of the Pharisaical demon, which is concerned more about white washed tombs or the outside of a cup, but inside it is full of greed and wickedness (Lk.11).
Mercy and Justice
Mercy and justice are among paramount teachings in the Kingdom. You miss this, you miss Jesus. You will never connect with him even if you go to church each Sunday and be active there. Remember, Jesus did not just come here to proclaim salvation but to "proclaim justice to the nations," too (Matt.10.18). There can be no true salvation where there is scant or zero understanding and application of God's justice to life, and vice versa.
What is applied God's justice? It is living out Jesus' teachings in the bible, especially the Beatitudes. In fact, it's living as Jesus lived. Why are there many Christians who have bad character even after being born again. It's because they lack insight about God's justice. Justice is the right way of dealing with people. Justice is also the right way of connecting with God. Churches today just emphasize member recruitment and abuse evangelism, but seldom stress on character building. Character building done the Jesus way can make you lose lots of members in your church. The Beatitudes is not given due attention it deserves, so that many Christians are ignorant about mercy and justice.
If mercy and justice are not given value, the Pharisaical demons thrive and flourish in church. People are excited about the programs and activities but are unable to connect properly with Jesus. Church people are well aware of how their churches operate in the earthly realms, but they find the Spirit realms a very strange and frightening place.
The Pharisaical Demon
Yes, it is a demon. It's not just wrong upbringing or a weak culture, and neither is it just lack of civility or ethical standards or a matter of religious upbringing. It's a demon sent by Satan. You have a Pharisaical spirit, it means you have demonic influence destroying you. If you fail to connect with Jesus, it's a demon. If you're unable to gather with Jesus and you scatter instead--it's a demon. And the goal of this demon is to lead you to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
You see the pattern. From being unable to connect to blaspheming the Spirit of God, which is unforgivable not in this age, neither in the coming age. In short, absolutely no forgiveness. I've seen how it works. I've seen Christians active in church falling victim to this and still being active there. They're unable to connect with Jesus according to proper Kingdom principles. They're just able to connect with their church programs and denominations. Soon, they think that God's move is demonic. And when you say that and you confess to be a believer, you commit blaspheme and there's no forgiveness.
You say something against the Son of Man, you will be forgiven if you repent. Now, understand that only non-believers, non-Christians, have the ignorance to say bad words about the Son of Man. When they repent, they will be forgiven. But when those who claim to be born again fail to update themselves in Jesus and fail to connect, and then they grow worse so that later, out of ignorance, they call God's radical and non-traditional work demonic, because it does not subscribe to their denominational doctrines, they commit blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. And they will never be pardoned.
Soon, like the Pharisees, you meet together with others who have the Pharisaical spirit, and you plan how to kill Jesus. You tell yourselves you have the duty to preserve the traditions and teachings of your denomination, and this present Move of God ought to be stopped in your church at any cost. That's how denominations kill Jesus.
"...Is Against Me"
He who is not with Jesus in spirit is really against him. And why not. Well, just continue with the whole chapter, Matthew 12. Jesus proceeded to explain what happens to a disconnected man. When he hears God's Word, he is 'blessed' and 'encouraged.' What happens then? The demon leaves him. Demons seek arid or dry places. So beware if you're spiritually dry. You'd a be a favorite Inn or Lodge of demons, or a favorite tourist resort where they can relax and 'rest.'
Finding no other resting place as suitable as the man formerly with a Pharisaical spirit, the demon goes back and finds the man 'swept clean' and 'in order'---but listen to this---yet EMPTY. Some versions say, 'unoccupied.' This is what most Revival Services of denominational churches do. There's just a lot of regretting and asking forgiveness of sins. But no real radical change to live like Jesus. No true connection with Jesus is established. Just re-established traditions and church routines.
So, the demon finds it available, calls 7 other more wicked demons, and they all live in the man, making him worse. Put in order to function correctly again in his denominational church, yet spiritually worse. Now, the man has 8 demons in him. These are the types who become active in church and later tell the pastor what he should do, and later kick out the pastor and set up his own empire in church. You see them everywhere. They are voted to church positions.
But it doesn't stop there, because denominations always plan Revival Services each year--at least two. They plan to die two times a year. So the man--let's give him a name now; let's call him Mr. Revived--hears God's Word again in a Revival Service and realizes his sins and asks forgiveness again. He goes to the altar again and cries--not because he saw the need to give up everything and really live like Jesus did--but because he wants to 'serve God' better in his denominational church. He vows to be more active in church--and kick more pastors out.
So, what really happened to Mr. Revived was, the 8 demons left him. But after a while, the 8 goes back and, finding Mr. Revived still empty, though washed clean, each of them takes 7 other demons more wicked than they are, and 8 times 7 is 56 much worse demons in all. Mr. Revived is better equipped now to kick out pastors, make things happen in church, and expand his own empire in church. Next Revival, the same thing happens, and that's 56 times 8, totaling 448 much, much worse demons riding on and controlling Mr. Revived.
You think it stops there. Wrong. In another 2 years, with 2 revival meetings a year, that's more than a million demons controlling Mr. Revived alone. What if there were 50 members in church like that. Multiply one million by 50, and you have 50 million demons in church---and worse ones at that. No wonder many pastors are sick or die with various ailments due to stress. Once, Jesus drove out a legion of demons in a single person in the bible.
The victim just grows worse, with ever-increasing wickedness. No wonder blaspheme of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. And all these started with the inability to connect with Jesus properly.