Israel loses the Kingdom of God
Luke 11:14-20 New King James Version (NKJV) **
A House Divided Cannot Stand
14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
** All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Let’s consider what is presented here.
Jesus comes upon a man indwelt by a mute demon.
- Demons inhabit the body and use the vocal cords of the person to speak.
- The demon had chosen to remain mute, meaning either the man himself could not speak or the demon merely refused to speak.
- In Israel, casting out demons was not unheard of.
- God had long given men the ability at times to cast out demons.
- You see evidence of this in verse 19 and you also see a reference to Jewish exorcists in Acts 19.
The point of chapters 11-13 in the Gospel of Luke is to illustrate in detail the way the nation of Israel came to the point of rejecting their Messiah.We can see Luke carefully moving along to explain to his Gentile, Greek audience why God would be rejected by His creation (the Jewish nation) and eventually be put to death. (The death of Jesus) Therefore, Luke had been guiding the reader patiently through a description of the deceit and hypocrisy of the people and their leaders.
But removing a demon had a very specific process according to how God made it possible.
- Before a demon could be removed, the person performing the exorcism must first learn the name of the demon.
- Then once he knew the name, he could case out the demon by name.
- You see examples of Jesus following this pattern in many cases where He cast out demons.
- Remember when Jesus met the demon possessed man in the tombs and learns the name of the demon is Legion.
But what if the man was mute or the demon refused to speak? This created a dilemma for the exorcist, because without the name of the demon, no one could remove him.
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
Being mute, the boy’s demon could not be removed by the disciples’ power. Then Jesus cures the boy and the disciples ask Jesus how He did it.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb (mute) spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
Base on an earlier post concerning prayer, you should know why it is prayer alone (doing God’s will) that heals this boy.
- Because only God Himself has the power to remove a mute demon, since this is a power that God has reserved for Himself.
- He granted men the power to remove demons under certain circumstances.
- And the reason God withheld it directly relates to the coming of the Messiah.
The ability to cast out a mute demon was something the Jewish culture had long associated with God Himself. So Jewish tradition concerning the Messiah had taught that one of the signs of the Messiah was that He would have the power to cast out a mute demon, since it would be a miracle only God could do.
In verse 14 of Luke, Jesus casts out a mute demon and the crowds are amazed. Their amazement stems from the fact that this is one of those Messianic miracles. But as the crowds stand amazed at Jesus, some in the crowd scoff and declare that this just proves Jesus is the devil himself.
A House Divided Cannot Stand
22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
Here, from Matthew’s account we learn two important additional details to add to Luke’s account. First, the crowd makes an important exclamation in response to watching Jesus perform this miracle. They exclaim, “This can’t be the son of David, can it?” The term son of David is a Messianic reference, a term for Christ common in Jewish teaching concerning the Messiah.
So when Jesus came declaring the coming of the Kingdom of God…He did so with an expectation that man would first repent and receive the Holy Spirit on the basis of faith. And then having come to Him in faith, He would then usher in His Kingdom and with it all the material blessings they expected. But the people of Jesus’s day had reversed this formula. They wanted to see proof of Jesus’s power. They wanted signs and evidence of His deity and strength to fulfill scripture. In verse 16 of Luke we’re told the others in the crowd were asking Him for a sign – they were testing Him, looking for Him to satisfy their demands for proof. And until He was willing to demonstrate His power, they would withhold their approval and allegiance.
And people today are still following that same pattern. For too many, the promises offered in the gospel aren’t believable. They demand proof before faith. But that requirement nullifies faith. By definition, faith is a conviction of things unseen. Being certain about the unprovable, about something that’s yet to be revealed. That’s why faith must be something of the heart, not the mind… We don’t weigh the facts, study the arguments, sift through the proof, and then come to an intellectual decision that the gospel is true. We may study scripture and recognize how it supports our faith. We might see how history, science, archaeology and other areas support or enhance our understanding of our faith. But in all cases, faith comes first or it isn’t faith at all.
That’s why the crowd said what they did upon seeing the miracle.
- They didn’t say Behold, the Son of Man.
- They didn’t say, this must be the Son of Man.
- They didn’t even say, this could be the Son of Man.
No, they said, this can’t be the Son of Man, can it? The sad thing here is they knew what to look for. The sign of the miracle (healing a mute man) had done it’s work, the crowd had received what they were looking for. But when it came, they denied it.
– In the next post we will see Jesus’s response to the Pharisees leading to Israel’s rejection into the Kingdom of God.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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