Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oculi: A Devotional Commentary

Luke 11:14-28 Jesus was casting out a demon which was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the people were amazed. However, some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons!” Others put him to the test and asked from him a sign from heaven. But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls. If Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul! But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. However, if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you! When a strong man is fully armed and guards his own house, his goods are safe. But when someone stronger attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me! Whoever does not gather with me scatters! When an unclean spirit has gone out of a person, he passes through dry places, seeking rest. But finding no rest, the unclean spirit says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came out.’ When he returns, he finds it swept and put in order. He then goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that person becomes worse than the first.” As Jesus was saying these things, a woman called out from the crowd and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!” But Jesus said, “Yes, and more than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

Jesus casts out a demon from a mute man and what does he get in return? You're a Devil worshiper! What? Just think of how insane that is. Jesus rightly points out that the Devil doesn't go around trying to defeat himself. But this is the way we think by nature. The truth of the Gospel is so contrary to our man-made religion that we'll accuse someone of Satan worship if they bring the truth. Maybe we won't put it so bluntly. We'll call them a fanatic or a traditionalist or a liberal or even a Pharisee. The chief error of the Pharisees was that they taught that the law was doable but strangely enough if you start questioning those who teach that the law is doable (and Jesus did much more than question) you get accused of being a Pharisee or having some type of non-saving intellectual faith.

What is the response of Jesus to these accusations? If he were a modern religionist he would, "Just settle down. You have a truth but I also have a truth." But what does He actually say? Only one of two things is possible. Either I'm some nutty Satan worshiper with multiple personality disorder who actually goes around casting out demons or I am the Messiah and am casting out demons by the finger of God and the Kingdom of God has come to you! You are driving people away from the Messiah! You are acting as a tool of the Devil!

The Devil is strong--to strong for any mere man to conquer. But Jesus is stronger. Jesus binds the Devil. Jesus bound the Devil by hanging dead on a cross for you. Jesus binds the Devil in your baptism. But heed the warning that Jesus gives. Beware of thinking that it's all up to you now. Maybe you used to be an alcoholic or drug addict or just some ordinary everyday sinner. Then you gave your heart to Christ and found victory over your sins. Now you think you have the power to obey God's law and lead a morally decent life on your own. The demons will return and it will be worse than before. If God cleans you out but you are not united with Christ the demons just have a cleaner place to live in. If Christ does not occupy the house then something very evil will.

But blessed are those who hear the Word of God and believe! Christ has done it all! Christ has bound the strong man! Christ has conquered the Devil through the power of the cross! Christ paid the price for your religious sins!

1 comment:

Epiphany Lutheran Church said...

You wrote that Jesus rightly points out that the Devil doesn't go around trying to defeat himself. But this is the way we think by nature and that the truth of the Gospel is so contrary to our thinking. I think that gives everyone a lot to think about.