OPPOSITION TO JESUS
Lord, I am allied with You and with no one else.
Read LUKE 11:14–36
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.”
The Sign of Jonah
29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.
The Lamp of the Body
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy,[b] your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
a Luke 11:34 The Greek for healthy here implies generous.
b Luke 11:34 The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy.
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.
“Those who have will be given more, and they will have an abundance. As for those who do not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matt. 13:12, TNIV).
It is sometimes said that people do not change their minds easily. We may ask for evidence, but how we interpret that evidence can depend on our prejudices. We have seen much evidence so far of Jesus’ power to heal, deliver and redeem, but an alternative explanation now arises: Jesus does what he does because he is empowered by “the prince of demons” (15). Likewise, Jesus is sometimes regarded as a magician and a deceiver (John 7:47). Behind these claims lies the obvious fact that people simply do not want to recognize the “ﬁnger of God” and the coming of the kingdom in Jesus (20).
It is in this context that Jesus makes the claim that those who are not for him are against him (23), seemingly in contradiction to 9:49,50. The contradiction is only apparent, though. The person driving out demons in chapter 9 is doing so “in your name” and therefore allied generally with Jesus. In this section there is only hostility. Until they get over it, there is not much to be done. It is like throwing your pearls to pigs for them to be trampled underfoot (Matt. 7:6). Likewise, the demand for a sign from heaven (16) is insincere. Jesus does not play games with his mighty acts for the sake of the cynical. He has a mission to accomplish.
There is one sign that will be given, however: the “sign of Jonah” (29–32). Jonah preached judgment and repentance and his story is a sign of resurrection on the third day (Matt. 12:40). However, there is not much that can be done about these hard hearts. There has to be a crack, a little bit of space for the light to get in, and then the darkness can ultimately be dispelled (35,36).
Pray for the hard of heart, for a crack in their defenses where the light can get in.
Lord, Your people do not need a sign from heaven because our changed lives are evidence enough.