Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Luke 11:14-28

Now He was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon came out, the man who had been mute, spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He drives out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons!” And others, as a test, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his estate, his possessions are secure. But when one stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, he takes from him all his weapons he trusted in, and divides up his plunder.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Don't you wonder what the formerly mute man said? And aren't you surprised that people asked Jesus for a sign? What did they think every move he made, every miracle he performed, and every word he spoke was? Everything pointed to the Father. Everything pointed to the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is present. And even the finger of God has more power than the entire kingdom of darkness currently allowed to rule much of the earth. And with the coming of the kingdom, we see unprecedented movement in the powers of darkness. Only 5 of the 39 books of the Old Testament even mention Satan. But when Jesus comes on the scene the demons cannot remain silent. Just being in His presence they cry out, "What have you to do with us, Son of the Most High God?" The mere proximity of Jesus forces them from the behind the scenes work demons prefer and into the spotlight for a showdown.

Jesus is accused of using the power of Satan to defeat Satan, but he points out how crazy that would be. Plus, there were leaders of the Jewish faith who cast out demons. They would confirm that it was not by evil forces that they did this. In Exodus 31:18 the finger of God had inscribed the words of the law on the stone tablets. The psalmist speaks of the heavens as created by the finger of God. God does not have literal fingers. This is a figure of speech indicating the power of God. But I like the mental image of God (or Jesus) pointing a finger at the demon and with a flick of a knuckle commanding it out of this man. Jesus has easily overpowered Satan and taken away his weapons.

But he will not completely accomplish this until he comes again. Until then, Satan has some of his weapons still on earth. One of Satan's most effective tactics is to divide those of us in God's kingdom against one another. We must encourage one another in our battle for the kingdom. We won't walk around confronting demons like Jesus did, but we make war against the sin in our lives. Fight not against those who are different, rail not against those who believe not in Christ, but make war against the sin in your life. Hold each other accountable in their faith journey. "The only foothold Satan has in your life is your flesh and your sin" (Piper).

When you find yourself seemingly free from a particular sin, beware. Although your spiritual house may seem to be swept and in order, temptations return sevenhold. Be on your guard against temptation! Do not let sin master you! For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first (2 Peter 2:19-20).

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

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