3:23 So 1 he called them and spoke to them in parables: 2 “How can Satan cast out Satan? 3:24 If 3 a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom will not be able to stand. 3:25 If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 3:26 And if Satan rises against himself and is divided, he is not able to stand and his end has come.
1 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
2 sn Jesus spoke two parables to demonstrate the absurdity of the thinking of the religious leaders who maintained that he was in league with Satan and that he actually derived his power from the devil. The first parable (vv. 23-26) teaches that if Jesus cast out demons by the ruler of the demons, then in reality Satan is fighting against himself, with the result that his kingdom has come to an end. The second parable (v. 28) about tying up a strong man proves that Jesus does not need to align himself with the devil because Jesus is more powerful. Jesus defeated Satan at his temptation (1:12-13) and by his exorcisms he clearly demonstrated himself to be stronger than the devil. The passage reveals the desperate condition of the religious leaders, who in their hatred for Jesus end up attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan (a position for which they will be held accountable, 3:29-30). For an explanation of what a parable is, see the note on parables in 4:2.
3 sn The three conditional statements in vv. 24-26 express the logical result of the assumption that Jesus heals by Satan’s power, expressed by the religious leaders. The point is clear: If the leaders are correct, then Satan’s kingdom will not stand, so the suggestion makes no sense. Satan would not seek to heal.