Luke 11:14-23 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus and Beelzebul
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven.17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
My hope is that during this series of reflections on Lent that you have been drawn more experientially into God’s love for you. We are now at the halfway point in our Lenten journey that is revealing unseen patterns, or ways of thinking or living, that tend to rule our lives. As we learn to let go of these defense mechanisms and strategies to find life apart from God, we find the Kingdom breaking into our lives just as Jesus promised it would.
Today we read about Jesus casting out a mute demon who can now talk. Scripture is nothing if not surprising! As we’ve seen in other gospel places, the marveling of the people quickly turns to controversy.
We can be so enamored with our own mountainous logic we make no room for mystery and miracle.
And Jesus sees this inability to let go of their ordered way of thinking that leaves them in control and so He speaks to them in the language of logic. He’s translating His mission into their language so they can understand! Jesus understood the crowd was trying to shoehorn this miracle they had just witnessed into their own narrative of how the world works.
Well, one might say, “Show them some compassion, these people were just trying to make sense of something that made no sense to them?” Could it simply be they didn’t understand what this miracle meant and that they were just trying to make sense of it? Possibly.
But I think as we look at how Jesus addresses them we find him doing what he always does, which is to bring every person he encounters to an inflection point where they must answer, “Who do YOU say that I am?” If Jesus’ only goal was to answer logic with logic, there would be no need for verses 20 and 23.
Logic doesn’t always see everything.
I think these people knew intuitively, and maybe even explicitly, that the kingdom of God had come upon them. (v. 20) I think they knew deep down they either had to follow him or scatter. (v. 23)
Often when there is a cost involved with changing our lives we search for explanations for why the cost isn’t necessary after all. Change is hard.
I think this passage was less about the people trying to understand something that didn’t make sense and more about avoiding something that may or may not have made sense to them but they knew deep down was true. To accept what just happened meant they had to accept Jesus as Lord.
Now that we are halfway through this Lenten season, what patterns of life or ways of thinking is Jesus calling you to leave behind to go with Him instead?
Have there ever been a time in your life where you have loved your logic, worldview or theology more than Jesus? What has that posture been protecting?