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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2/4/10 Luke 11:13-23 Opposing Jesus

2/4- Luke 11:13-23 (pp. Mt 12:25-32; Mk 3:23-30)

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" 14 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.

Calvin abridged: Christ rebuked them with great severity because he saw their inward malice. To refute the charge against him, he first quotes a common proverb. It was absurd for the scribes to maintain that the devil, who tries by every method to make people his slaves, should destroy the power which he possessed over them. “By whom do your children cast them out?” refers to Jewish exorcists (cf. Acts 19:19). God often testified of his presence to his chosen people by miracles. Christ delivers them from physical bondage to the strong powers of evil as a symbol that he has come to rescue their souls. “He that is not with me is against me” Those who oppose him and his work are his enemies. “Whoever does not gather with me scatters” speaks against those whose half-hearted belief tends to slow down and ruin the kingdom of God, which all of us are called to advance.

Thoughts: Jesus was showing he knows how to give good gifts- driving out evil from them physically and spiritually. Jesus defends himself from those who say he uses evil powers to drive out evil powers. He ends his dialogue by talking about how we oppose Christ. Some oppose Christ actively as they did, accusing him of being evil. Some oppose Christ passively by leaving him out- not being “with him.” In our tolerant society- we assume everyone is or will be “with Jesus” even those who actively oppose him calling him and his works evil. Some just assume everyone deserves to go to heaven and God is forced to bless them even if they curse him. Jesus actually speaks of those who are not “with him” meaning- not following him- or not on his side. This sounds so narrow. In our culture we want everyone on the team- even those who don’t want to be on the team; even those who don’t want to listen to the coach; even those who aren’t interested in trying to play.  But Christ does not force himself against those who do not want him.  Those who aren’t on Jesus’ team (or those on another team)- they are against him. These are not my words, but his. The last part of this verse: “whoever does not gather with me scatters.” This refers to those who are on Jesus’ side, but who do not do what he says. They perhaps profess faith, but are perhaps ashamed of their faith. Jesus indicates that they work against him in that being a “half Christian” takes away from the faith. Those who “talk the talk but don’t walk the walk” not only don’t further the kingdom, they deplete the kingdom. In our day this is all too common.

Prayer: Lord, we want to be on your side. Protect us from evil, hurt, and harm. Keep us in your great care.

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