Luke – Doors Wide Open!
Instead of rejoicing that God had sent a Redeemer, the religious leaders were rebelling against the truth of God’s Word and seeking to discredit Christ’s work and character. Imagine people being so blind that they could not distinguish a work of God from a work of Satan!
There is much to be learned from this passage.
Read slowly and prayerfully…
Luke 11, New Living Translation
Jesus and the Prince of Demons
14 One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, 15 but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” 16 Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
17 He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 18 You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive? 19 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 20 But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. 21 For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— 22 until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.
23 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”
27 As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!”
28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
The request in Luke 11:16 was a part of the accusation. “If you are really working for God,” they were saying in effect, “prove it by giving us a sign from heaven, not just a miracle on earth.” They were tempting God, which is a dangerous thing to do!
Jesus answered their charges with three arguments. First, their accusation was illogical. Why would Satan fight against himself and divide his own kingdom? Note that Jesus believed in a real devil who has a kingdom that is strong and united. (See Eph. 2:1–3; 6:10)
Second, their charges were self-incriminating: by what power were the Jews casting out demons? How do their works differ from Christ’s works? On the contrary, Christ’s miracles show that the kingdom of God is present, not the kingdom of Satan!
Finally, their accusation was really an admission of His power, for He could not defeat Satan unless He were stronger than Satan. Jesus pictured Satan as a strong man in armor, guarding his palace and his goods. But Jesus invaded Satan’s territory, destroyed his armor and weapons, and claimed his spoils (see John 12:31–33; Col. 2:15; 1 John 3:8).
Our Lord has “led captivity captive” (Eph. 4:8) and set the prisoners free (Luke 4:18). Though he is permitted limited authority, Satan is a defeated enemy.
SO HOW MUST WE RESPOND?
It is impossible to be neutral in this spiritual war (Luke 11:23; see also 9:50), for neutrality means standing against Him. There are two spiritual forces at work in the world, and we must choose between them.
Satan is scattering and destroying, but Jesus Christ is gathering and building. We must make a choice, and if we choose to make no choice, we are really choosing against Jesus.
What is my choice today?
Does my behavior reflect the choice I have made?
Am I living a neutral life?
Am I on the winning side of life, with the One who gathers and builds our lives? Or am I siding with the one who is defeated but who still tries to scatter our minds, our families, our friends in an effort to destroy our souls? Only two choices.
ONCE GONE, DON’T INVITE THE ENEMY BACK!
Jesus illustrated the danger of neutrality by telling the story of the man and the demon. The man’s body was the demon’s “house” (Luke 11:24). For some unknown reason, the demonic tenant decided to leave his “house” and go elsewhere. The man’s condition improved immediately, but the man did not invite God to come and dwell within. In other words, the man remained neutral. What happened? The demon returned with seven other demons worse than himself, and the man’s condition was abominable.
“Neutrality in religion is always cowardice,” wrote Oswald Chambers. “God turns the cowardice of a desired neutrality into terror.”
Taking sides with Jesus means much more than saying the right things, like the woman who cried, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You”. She was certainly sincere, but that was not enough. We take sides with Jesus Christ when we hear His Word and obey it (see Luke 6:46–49; 8:19–21).
AND…for the record,
Satan does not make us do anything. He does not have that kind of power. We choose. That’s our power. By the power of Christ in us we have the power to choose wisely.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Be Lord of my life, all of it! The evil one cannot have any part of me. Deliver us from him! Keep us alert to his schemes of lies and deceit that invite us to tear down others and ourselves. Show us YOUR will, purpose and plan that becomes evident as we trust and obey you at every step. Yes, continue to transform us, building our lives into what you intended for us to be and do from the beginning of creation…to love you back, to commune with you, to follow you with all our heart, mind and soul. I want what you want, Lord. Teach me to do your will. I’m all in. I’m listening.
In Jesus Name, Amen