Today’s article covers two short sayings by Jesus that were given to a crowd of doubters, cynics, and followers.
You will recall that there were mixed responses to Jesus’ healing of a man who was mute because of demonic oppression (Luke 11.14-16).
Some of the crowd believed that Jesus used magic in cooperation with Satan to produce deliverance. Others wanted Jesus to perform a sign that would authenticate his actions.
A Familiar Story
Jesus responded to the accusation that he performed deliverance in cooperation with Satan by basic logic and by declaring that the “finger of God” accomplished healing (Luke 11.17-20).
Jesus finished off his rebuttal of the cynics by reminding them of a familiar story that was told by Jewish exorcists.
— Luke 11.24-26 – “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’
“When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.
“Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
Rudy Ross has some interesting insights into “waterless regions” in today’s YouTube video. I hope you get a chance to listen to his thoughts.
While researching this passage, I learned that Jesus drew from existing Jewish thought and reminded his listeners of something they should have known about demons.
Jesus’ message warned the unbelievers, doubters, and accusers in the crowd that there were serious consequences for opposing God’s activity through his servant.
I have seen this story played out in the lives of people I know.
— They hit “rock bottom” through addiction.
— Through the program of Alcoholic’s Anonymous or some other 12 Step program they get free from the “demon” of addiction.
— For many, AA leads them to a relationship with Jesus.
— Sobriety enables them a level of prosperity. They have possessions and people they never thought possible while in addiction.
— At some point they stop doing the things that enabled their sobriety.
Their house is clean, but it is not filled with the attitudes and actions that produce a healthy life.
— Relapse is close at hand in this picture and often the fall is deep and painful.
What the person needed to do was left undone. They cleaned the house, but didn’t fill it with the Holy Spirit and good principles for living.
Alcohol and drugs come to mind when we think of this picture. Lust for power, pleasing people, materialism, and sex addictions are just a few “demons” that fit this picture.
Another Familiar Story
From the first century to the present, people have honored the mothers of important persons.
A woman from the crowd expressed a common theme about mothers.
— Luke 11.27-28 – While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!”
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
By no means did Jesus disrespect his mother. Not only did she carry the Savior of the world in her womb, but she also heard and obeyed God’s word.
The message for us is that there are no outsiders in God’s kingdom.
If we hear and obey God’s word, we will be included in the family of God.
No matter the status of our birth, race, economic status, or nationality, we have the awesome opportunity to be family members of the King of all kings.
These words are not ministerial hyperbole. This a fact that is straight from the mouth of Jesus.
Abundant Blessings from Jesus
A quick review of Luke 11 reminds us of two unequaled gifts that God wants us to have.
— Luke 11.1-13 – We are able to communicate with the Greatest Being of All at any time of the day or night.
God provides us an outline of what to say. He promises to answer our prayers and give us the Holy Spirit.
— Luke 11.28 – We are included in God’s family, as we hear his direction and follow it.
A central message of Luke’s Gospel is the need for a proper response to Jesus.
As we consider God’s gifts to us, let’s be sure to respond with gratitude and faith.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a short video on this passage. Rudy has insights that you will want to hear. The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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