CLASH OF KINGDOMS
Lord, I praise You, the King who reigns forever and ever.
Read Luke 11:14–28
Jesus and Beelzebul
14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “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.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 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.”
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectOur commitment is not to an idea, or a set of doctrines, but to a living person who is the King of all creation.
In the prayer given to his disciples (11:2–4), Jesus taught them to align themselves with God’s coming kingdom. In this reading, an incident of exorcism allows Jesus to address the differences between God’s kingdom and Satan’s. As the verbal sparks fly, Jesus is accused by some of being a practitioner of the dark arts whilst others goad him into giving further “signs.” Jesus’ defense of his actions is vivid, drawing on a strange episode in the life of Aaron, Moses’ brother.
In Exodus 8:19, the magicians of Pharaoh describe Aaron’s miraculous power as the finger of God at work—his intimate actions visible before their very eyes. Jesus says the same finger is now at work in his ministry. The kingdom is now coming close to them; in fact it’s breaking in on them. At a time when the prevailing worldview around us is largely secular, this incendiary encounter between Jesus and his critics reminds us of the realities of evil and of God’s goodness. There is no middle way.
How do we view the world around us? Surrounded by political, social and scientific forces, do we see the finger of God at work?
Lord, help me to be a Kingdom person in all that I am and all that I do.
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