Jesus’ Justice: Matthew 12:28
As in our section on the Old Testament, we’ll explore the concept of justice in two arenas, beginning with international justice. During most of his earthly ministry, Jesus didn’t directly involve himself with human governments. But he did pursue justice by waging war against the kingdom of Satan and his demons, and by freeing his people from the tyranny of sin. Scripture describes this as a spiritual battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan in places like Luke 11:14-20, and Ephesians 2:2. So, it’s reasonable to compare it to the ways Old Testament kings pursued international justice through war. As Jesus said in Matthew 12:28:
If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:28).
In this verse, Jesus indicated that the exorcisms he performed were proof that he was leading God’s kingdom in battle against the kingdom of Satan.
Old Testament kings also executed international justice by engaging in peaceful negotiations with other nations. Although Jesus didn’t do this often, he did receive peaceful tribute from the eastern magi, who brought him gifts in Matthew 2. These magi were representatives of foreign nations, and their intent was to foster good will between their nations and Israel’s newborn king.
In addition to executing justice internationally, Jesus also upheld God’s justice within national Israel. Like other human kings, Jesus didn’t normally get involved in personal disputes. Instead, he left them to lesser courts and arbitrators. But he did frequently exhort justice among his people. We see this in places like Matthew 5:25-26, and 12:15-21; as well as Luke 18:7-8. Jesus also guaranteed that he was keeping track of good and evil works in order to repay them when he returned in judgment. This aspect of his royal role is apparent in passages like Matthew 10:15, 11:22-24, and 12:36, where he spoke of specific condemnations that will be made in the future. We also see it in John 5:22, where he indicated that he is the one who will render that condemnation.