Priest's Perspective

8 Oct 2021 Luke 11:14-26

Daily Gospel Reflection

14One day Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. And when the demon was gone, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowds were amazed, 15but some of them said, “It is by Beelzebul,  the prince of the demons, that He drives out demons.” 16And others tested Him by demanding a sign from heaven.

17Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and a house divided against a house will fall. 18If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? After all, you say that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his house, his possessions are secure. 22But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted, and then he divides up his plunder.

23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

24When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25On its return, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and dwell there. And the final plight of that man is worse than the first.”

Grace and peace to you. This text is way bigger than a short reflection can do justice to. But of the purposes of our daily walk through the Gospel I just wish to highlight one or two things.

Driving out demons was an important part of the Jewish culture and a sign of the presence and power of God and the fulfilment of his promise to restore Israel. The accuses of Jesus in this text believed that God had given them authority to drive out demons. What they were arguing with Jesus about here is, that he was not in agreement or submission to the Jewish authorities and therefore if he had this power it must have come from the devil. An accusation that he also made against them.  In this text we are reminded that we must not only repent of our Sins but we must walk in the Spirit of God in submission to Christ. Christ must be our Lord and Saviour, in whom we live and move and have our being.

In John Chapter 8 we find this account

Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not valid.” Jesus replied, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I came from or where I am going.  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.  But even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone; I am with the Father who sent Me. Even in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am One who testifies about Myself, and the Father, who sent Me, also testifies about Me.”  “Where is Your Father?” they asked Him. “You do not know Me or My Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew Me, you would know My Father as well.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts, near the treasury. Yet no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come. Again He said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for Me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews began to ask, “Will He kill Himself, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” Then He told them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  That is why I told you that you would die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”  “Who are You?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied.  “I have much to say about you and much to judge. But the One who sent Me is truthful, and what I have heard from Him, I tell the world.” They did not understand that He was telling them about the Father.  So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own, but speak exactly what the Father has taught Me.  He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him.” As Jesus spoke these things, many believed in Him.  So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  “We are Abraham’s descendants,” they answered. “We have never been slaves to anyone. How can You say we will be set free?” Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants, but you are trying to kill Me because My word has no place within you. I speak of what I have seen in the presence of the Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” “Abraham is our father,” they replied. “If you were children of Abraham,” said Jesus, “you would do the works of Abraham.  But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing.  You are doing the works of your father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they declared. “Our only Father is God Himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on My own, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to accept My message.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me! Which of you can prove Me guilty of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me?  Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” The Jews answered Him, “Are we not right to say that You are a Samaritan and You have a demon?”  “I do not have a demon,” Jesus replied, “but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.  I do not seek My own glory. There is One who seeks it, and He is the Judge.  Truly, truly, I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.”  “Now we know that You have a demon!” declared the Jews. “Abraham died, and so did the prophets, yet You say that anyone who keeps Your word will never taste death.  Are You greater than our father Abraham? He died, as did the prophets. Who do You claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory means nothing. The One who glorifies Me is My Father, of whom you say ‘He is our God.’  You do not know Him, but I know Him. If I said I did not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. 

The very thing they were accusing Jesus of was true of themselves – they had chosen the way of the flesh and not the truth of God. When Jesus speaks of a house divided he is speaking of their house, when he speaks of how a strong man cleans and protects his house he is speaking of how the Nation of Israel had been given all the blessings to be God’s people and the scriptures that pointed to the coming Messiah, but they could not recognise him. Jesus is the strong man that is overthrowing the misguided house of Israel and will take possession of it. Jesus challenges them that in their perversion of the calling to be God’s people, how they had built a religion for their own upliftment and failed to be faithful, failed to bring the true Kingdom of repentance and mercy and grace, this would be their downfall. They were the divided house. Jesus’ desire and instruction to us is unity in the Spirit. Our sinful nature is in league with the devil, and we need to embrace the love of God to drive the sinful nature out. Having done that, we need to walk in the Spirit, we need to submit to God in all things otherwise the devil will come back and even more forcefully take control of our lives. We cannot just claim Jesus as Saviour – we must build our life in and with and through Him. Our faith is a way of life, not just a belief system. So, give your heart to Jesus and let him take control.

Let us pray. Visit Lord our homes and drive for a from them all the snares of the evil one. Let your Holy angels’ dwell with us to preserve us in peace.  We seek unity with you oh God through our devotion to Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant to the whole Christian people unity, peace and true concord both visible and invisible.  Take away all hatred and prejudice and whatever else may hinder us from goldy union and concord; that as there is only one Body and one Spirit and one Hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of us all, so may we be united in one holy bond of truth and peace of faith and love. Amen.  

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