“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” 27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11.24-28
The discussion is about demon possession. Jesus has been explaining what happens when those who are possessed by a demon find the demon vacated. When this demon doesn’t find a place to settle, it often returns to it’s original host saying, “I will return to the house I left.” It often finds “the house swept clean and put in order.” But then, says Jesus, it take seven more spirits more wicked then itself and returns to live in that person. “The final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
I don’t know about you but that’s terrifying! The “habitation of dragons,” (referring to demons), as the title of Keith Miller’s book suggests, is in my opinion a great description of the battles we face with demons both real and imagined. The wrestling with sin, the struggle to do what God called us to do, the attempt to be holy [https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8129462-habitation-of-dragons]. Jesus is addressing demon possession and what might happen if God’s Spirit is not allowed to replace the sin in our lives.
Yet near the end of this discourse, a woman from the crowd shouts something unexpected saying, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Now this is intend as a nice and worthy gesture. The reference is to Mary, Jesus’ mother, and much of the Christian-Catholic world would support such accolades. It’s not that I don’t, Mary was an amazing woman, but a servant like any of us, having the opportunity to give birth to the Messiah but not sinless in her own right.
And Jesus tends to agree — I mean, she’s his mom. He loves her, she’s godly, but his reply is surprising — “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
So how did we just shift from demon possession to the Mother of the Christ? Jesus answers the concern about demon possession, sin and wickedness in this one reply — “Hear the word of God. Obey it.”
How are we, like Mary blessed? We hear and obey God’s holy, written and living Word. How do we avoid being filled with a demonic presence that on our own we have no defense? We read and live into God’s Word. And then, as Jesus says, we will be blessed.
Why not lean into God’s Word? Why not allow it to resonate in our hearts, minds and souls, becoming all Christ has called us to be by his grace and for his glory?
“O Lord God, you are faithful. Thank you for loving me and for the purpose of each day. Come now, Holy Father, I find my significance in you. I know you are kind and true. I trust in your Word and grace to save me. Fill me now, with the power of your Holy Spirit, that might I abide in you all the days of my life. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen