John T. Willis

Saturday, August 25, 2012

God overpowers demons and evil spirits--Luke 11:14-26

Following three paragraphs about the importance and power of prayer in Luke 11:1-13, Luke relates two stories about Jesus' power over demons and evil spirits. These two stories appear in Luke 11:14-26. This falls into two paragraphs. I. Jesus casts out a demon, and a controversy arises. Luke 11:14-23. a. On the way from Galilee to Jerusalem, at some unnamed place, Jesus cast out a demon that possessed a person who could not speak. When Jesus cast out the demon, the mute person spoke, and the crowds were amazed at Jesus' miracles. 11:14. b. People in the crowd responded in two ways: Jesus casts out demons by Beelzebul; some demanded that Jesus perform a sign from heaven. Beelzebul is the name of an old Canaanite god meaning, "Baal, the Prince" or "Baal of the Exalted Abode." Beelzebub is derived from the name of a Philistine god of the town of Ekron according to 2 Kings 1:2-16. This seems to have been a deliberate caconymic, a polemical distortion of the foregoing name to depreciate the pagan god, making it "Lord of the Flies." 11:15-16. c. All the while, Jesus knew what they were thinking. God [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] knows very well what we are thinking in our hearts even when we do not say or do anything (1 Samuel 16:6-7; Psalm 139:1-6; John 2:23-25). Jesus uses two figures to expose the fallacy of his opponents: a kingdom divided against itself, and houses falling on one another. Both figures graphically describe civil war. The point is: If Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebul, then Beelzebul would be opposing demons, which is counterproductive. Jesus observes that exorcists cast out demons. Do the people believe that exorcists are allied to Beelzebul? 11:17-19. d. Jesus declares that he casts out demons by "the finger of God," i. e., God the Father. Exodus 31:8; Deuteronomy 9:10; Psalm 8:3 use the expression "the finger of God." The idea of this figure is that God the Father can do anything with ease because of his sovereign power. 11:20. e. The "one stronger" in Luke 11:21-22 is God the Father. God alone has the power to overthrow Baalzebul, who is Satan. 11:21-22. f. Hence, every hearer must make a decision. One must take sides with Jesus or with Satan. Anyone who tries not to make a decision casts his or her lot for Satan. 11:23. II. The heart is a receiver of some possessor. Luke 11:24-26. a. Jesus now tells a simple story. God casts an unclean spirit out of a person. That evil spirit wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place. If the unclean spirit cannot find a resting place, he will return to the person in whose heart he dwelt to see if he can re-enter into that person's heart. 11:24. b. If the heart of this individual is not filled with someone or something else. God wants to fill our hearts with God himself and with God's word. When we do not do this, an evil spirit will re-enter our heart and bring into seven additional unclean spirits. In such a condition, the last condition of that person is worse than before. See 2 Peter 2:20; John 5:14. Some people reject the idea that evil or unclean spirits actually dwell in our hearts. What a travesty. This reality avoids what really exists. Let us fill our hearts with God and his word. Share YOUR insights and beliefs and holdbacks and reversals to others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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