Signs and Common Sense
Gracious Father God, I thank You for the good news that Your Holy Spirit lives within me each day.
Read LUKE 11:14-28
 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.  But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.”  Others tested him by asking for 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 own house, his possessions are safe.  But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted 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.”  He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat blessing does Jesus pronounce here?
People are impressed by the exorcism (14), yet some are suspicious about the one who performs it (15), while others seek validating signs (16). A prophet’s message is usually validated by some supernatural sign (see 2 Kings 20:8-11), but in this instance, the exorcism itself was a sign.
First, Jesus responds to an absurd accusation (18b) with plain common sense. Although faith goes beyond reason, this does not mean it is unreasonable. Jesus puts an unerring finger on flaws and inconsistencies in his opponents’ arguments, ridiculing their claim that he serves the devil (17-19), before proceeding to press his own claim (20). The “finger of God” (20) echoes Exodus 8:19. The Exodus signified deliverance from slavery; Jesus not only delivers from slavery to sin, but inaugurates the kingdom of God; so Satan’s kingdom is defeated (21,22). Those listening are warned against the impossibility of sitting on the fence (23). “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 4:17) was Jesus’ keynote message. Repentance, however, is not purely negative. It is not sufficient to drive out demons (24-26); we must be possessed by God.
Can you say you are “possessed by God”? What evidence of that is there? Ask the Holy Spirit to assure you.
Holy Spirit, help me to respond wisely to questions, accusations and challenges that come my way.
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