devotion 2-7-15

Good Morning,And apologies for missing yesterday, 2-6-15.

Luke 11:14 – 23

14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15But some of them said, ‘He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.’ 16Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists* cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

This section is one of controversy – and the controversy is rooted in Jesus doing something good. He has cast out a demon that had made a man mute. There were three responses to this miracle: some were amazed, some sought a sign from heaven, and some questioned the source of his power.

Jesus’ critics ask, by what power did he do these things? Perhaps, they think, Jesus is a magician – like the magicians who matched Moses sign for sign before Pharoah. They asks if it is by Beelzebub himself that he casts out demons? Beelzebub is another name for Satan. Jesus answers that accusation in three ways: by logic, comparison, and a challenge.

Logically, why would Satan give someone the power to attack his own forces? If Satan is divided, and fighting against himself, how can he win the battle? (This passage, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert” is often misquoted and taken out of context; it refers to Satan’s kingdom, not God’s, and not political bodies.)

And then Jesus compares what he is doing to the exorcists who are common throughout the land in that time. If a family member was ill, a person would be as likely to send for the exorcist as for the physician. Do all of them cast out demons by Satan? Jesus asks them to think about that. Notice, no one questions that Jesus actually cast out the demon and the man was whole; there were plenty of witnesses to that. What they are questioning is by whose authority this was done – where did this power come from?

And then, the challenge: there would be no special signs from heaven; they must choose for themselves. Already, Satan is being defeated; God is stronger than Satan, always. The end is near; the kingdom is come. They, and we, must choose whether to walk with Jesus, or with the forces of evil. “Whoever is not for me is against me.”

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