“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 armor 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.” Luke 11.14-23
I like the way this passage begins. The first sentence is, “Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute.” It’s so mater-of-fact as if it happens every day. The very fact that Jesus could drive out demons (that they really do exist) is pretty spectacular. So this particular day, he is casting out a demon from a man who had been mute, and so apparently, the demon was mute as well.
After Jesus did this and “the man who had been mute spoke, the crowd was amazed.” Rightly so! I would be amazed as well. But not everyone was impressed with Jesus that day. Some said, “By Beelzebul, the price of demons, he is driving out demons.” Which, we know, is ridiculous. “Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.” Even in those days human beings were impossible to please.
But Jesus takes the offensive. He “knew their thoughts” and began to say “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” He was making the point that if Satan drives out Satan then “how can his kingdom stand?” It’s an irrational thought. But if Jesus drove out the demons “by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
The miracle is the healing of the man who was demon-possessed and mute — but that is overshadowed by the argument, and a good one at that, which Jesus makes about a kingdom divided against itself and how God’s kingdom is among us. He concludes his argument by saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
I don’t know about you, but the One who casts out demons, who can set people free from all kinds of infirmities and restore us to a right relationship with God is the One I want to follow. Jesus’ final point in this passage, “whoever is not with me is against me,” compels me to be “with him.” I do not want anything to do with being absent from God or scattered from his hand.
Jesus not only has the power to drive evil spirits from humans, he has the power to save our souls from death and from separation in Hell. Jesus has the power to do what only God can do.
Have you accepted that gift? Have you said yes to the Lord? Are you allowing him who moves mountains to move in your heart? Why not invite him to take control of your life today?
“O Lord God, you are good. I am but a vessel used for your glory. I have a limited number of years on this earth but in eternity, I will live with you forever. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for your power and presence. For you have redeemed my life from the pit and put my feet on solid ground. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me, guide me, lead me into the path of righteousness for your names sake. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen