Matthew 12:30 That Big Group in the Middle

As Jesus was ministering among the multitudes and also dealing with His opponents, the Pharisees, He said to the crowd, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” In so saying, Jesus answers one of the questions that many people subconsciously hold in their mind: “What about that big group in the middle?”

I want to do a series of posts that talk about the subject of “that big group in the middle.” This idea holds that, on one end of the spiritual spectrum there is a relatively small group of those who seriously follow Jesus. These are the righteous. Then on the other extreme end there is another relatively small group of those called “the wicked” or “the ungodly.” These are the bad people who need to be saved. But then in between these two extreme groups there is “the big group in the middle” who have not yet made up their minds. They are still on the fence and have time to think about which way they will eventually vote. So in this series of posts I want to talk about what the Bible has to say about this “big group in the middle.”

So let’s see what Jesus has to say about this topic in this verse that we cited from Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” The interpretation of the verse is fairly simple. The verse is divided into two parts and both parts talk about two, and only two, groups of people. The first part of the verse says that the person who is not with Jesus is against Jesus. Thus in this first part there are only two groups; those who are with Jesus and those who are against Jesus. It is apparent that there is not a big group in the middle. There is no middle group at all. There are only two groups and you are either in the one or the other. Also the two groups are exclusive of one another. You are either with Jesus or you are against Jesus, and you can’t be both. It is also striking that a person can think they are not against Jesus, but Jesus knows that they are against Him. A person can say, “I am not against Jesus and I am not against Christians. I am sure that Jesus was a nice guy and a wise teacher and a sincere religious man. I admire Jesus for what he did and said. So I am definitely not against him. Now, am I a ‘born-again’ follower and am I some kind of religious nut? No. My religion is a personal thing. But I am definitely not against Jesus. I am part of that middle, moderate group.” But Jesus Himself says you are wrong. Jesus says that if you are not 100% sold out to Him and are not willing to follow Him to death, then you are against Him. “He who is not with Me is against Me.” So if you are not a committed and zealous follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus says you are against Him and you have Him as your adversary, whatever you personally may believe. You are definitely NOT in “that big middle group.”

Let me give a brief piece of theology before we look at the second half of this verse. Every person is born as a sinner and therefore is also born as an enemy of God. We may believe that we come out of the womb as innocent babies in a neutral spiritual position and then we take our place in “that big group in the middle,” but the Bible declares that we are born as sinners, that our default position is ‘unrighteous,’ that we are enemies of God and are against the Lord Jesus. Unless we have been rescued from that spiritual place, we remain sinners and are therefore under the condemnation and wrath of our thrice holy God (Isaiah 6:3).

Taking a look at the second part of this verse, we read, “. . . and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” In the first part of the verse we found there were two groups (and only two groups) of people, those with Jesus and those against Jesus. Now we read again that there are two (and only two) groups of people, those who gather with Jesus and those who scatter. Everyone who does not actively gather with Jesus is one who scatters. As in the first part of the verse where the default was being against Jesus, so here in the second part the default is to be one who scatters. The one who is not actively, intentionally gathering souls or worshipers or disciples for the Lord Jesus is scattering people from Him. Again our Lord is saying that if you are not intentionally doing His will, then you are disobeying His will. But in any case, there is no “big group in the middle.” When it comes to your spiritual condition, the Bible speaks of two and only two groups. There are those who have been saved and there are those who remain condemned. There are those who are for Jesus and there are those who are against Jesus. There are those who gather with Jesus and there are those who scatter.

But it is crystal clear that there is no big group in the middle. There is no middle group at all. There is righteous or there is unrighteous. There is saved or there is lost. There is heaven and there is hell. There is life and there is death. There are two groups: Those who know Jesus and those who will be judged by Jesus. Which are you? SDG rmb 12/12/2015

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