The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Anna Wallace. Anna has been at St Mary's for around a year now, and is part of the student group. She dislikes social media and has an unhealthy obsession with corgis. 

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 armour 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.'

Reflection

It must've been amazing to see the many miracles Jesus performed throughout his ministry. From allowing the blind to see, to driving out demons, I imagine the crowds that must've gathered to see it all.

I imagine they'd be even bigger than the ones flocking around Covent Garden during the summer holidays! It must've been overwhelming at times, perhaps even for Jesus.
And with heavy crowds, there are the critics! Reading this passage, I find it remarkable that even in witnessing a miracle, people slandered Jesus by saying that he was doing so in the name of the Satan himself.

Perhaps Jesus could've let this go, shrug off his critics and move on. But no, he chooses to address them.

Jesus doesn't mince his words when he answers them with three responses to their scepticism.
1. If he were casting out demons in the name of Satan, surely Satan would destroy and ‘cancel' himself out in the process?

2. If these people are accusing him of doing the ‘devil's work' then the same could be said for their own appointed exorcists, they too must face the same judgement?

3. Jesus makes the crucial point that if it is by God's finger that he drives out demons, then what they are witnessing is surely God's Kingdom being shown before them!

Jesus then goes further, in talking about how demons often search for places that feel desert-like and ‘vacant'. He calls us to search our hearts, find the route of our pain in order to allow God in.

That simply swapping our bad habits for new ones or ‘tidying up' ourselves doesn't really cut it. Heavy stuff! But what an amazing call to act that Jesus is asking of us.

We shouldn't be on the fence when it comes to God, we're either with him and walking with him, or we face doing things on our own and making a mess of things for ourselves.
Lord, thank you that you call us closer to you each day. Thank you that we're able to see the countless miracles and amazing acts of healing in the name of God.

I pray that we can allow you to search our hearts in order for you to find the route of our problems, so that your love, grace and peace can allow us to enjoy the fullness of your word.
Amen

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