Jesus vs. Beelzebub: Overpowering the Strong Man (Luke 11:14-28)
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, Jesus Walk.com
Luke 11:14-28 Read this passage
(The Jews did not accept Jesus as Savior. So, they explained his power by some other means. Some foolishly said He was empowered by satanic forces. Jesus warned them not to say this about the Holy Spirit. They were not to attribute Holy works of God to the works of evil).
When you’re trying to get to know a person, it is revealing to see how they respond under pressure. Years ago, when my former church was interviewing candidates for principal of our church’s elementary school, one of the things I sought to find out from the candidate’s references was how he handled anger. How did she respond under crisis?
The common view of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” is flat and two-dimensional. It misses the Jesus under fire that we see in this week’s lesson. What emerges is a direct and penetrating response to slander. Like it or not, you are faced with confrontations, too. How do you respond under pressure? How to do that is what we disciples are seeking to learn from Jesus.
Before we examine the incidents in detail, let me give you the big picture of what is going on here. I considered breaking these verses up into several lessons, but I think they’re better understood as a whole — if you can keep the lines of Luke’s presentation clearly before you.
- Some accuse him of driving out demons by the power of Satan himself (dealt with in 11:17-28)
- Others ask for a sign from heaven (dealt with in 11:29-32)
- If Satan were attacking his own forces, he would soon defeat himself.
- Jewish exorcists (of whom his opponents approved) would be subject to the same criticism.
- Jesus casts out demons by overpowering Satan who is oppressing the person.
- Those who don’t gather with Jesus, scatter
- Unless the “house” of an exorcised person is inhabited and guarded, it will fall to demonic forces again.
- Freedom from Satan is only possible through obedience to God’s word.
First, let’s examine how Jesus handles the slanderous charge that he is empowered by Beelzebub.
Devotion: Get Rid of that Clutter!
Thoughts and Reflections on cleaning up…
Need a little spring (or fall) cleaning? Sometimes there’s just nothing like a good clean. Whether we’re preparing for a yard sale, testing new disinfectant chemicals, or making something look new, we all have moments when we feel the intense need to tidy up, inside or out. It feels great and saves our toes from stubbing on things…but do we ever think of cleaning up our lives?
Clearing out the junk… what does this mean spiritually? What represents clutter or things we don’t need in our lives? How do we make room for God?
What’s the difference between things we want and truly need? Consider Matthew 6:
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We are told in many places to seek God’s kingdom first, and other things will follow along. What does that mean? Life is more than material; more than money.
How can we be sure our treasure is in heaven? What do we value? Consider this: What do we spend most time and resources on?
Why do we grow so intent on cleaning and organizing? How can we be sure that our own lives retain a sense of organization…And how can it represent our lives?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Sometimes even our thoughts need de-cluttering… How can we replace our thoughts?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
Are there any things you need to “Clear out” for God?
How will you do that this week?
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. -Psalm 51:10-12
Sometimes our dining room table gets cluttered.
For one, it’s a big table. Every time I have to squeeze around the end chair, sliding my back against the wall, I remind myself that it’s not for the table we live in our house. It actually takes up so much space in our dining room that it’s become the easiest place to set stuff. Toys. Mail. Homework. Cups. More cups. The generous tabletop makes it simpler to just move things around rather than move them away, and after a while, it accumulates a swath of unrelated, inordinate objects into one centralized location, which is called clutter.
Which can be a lot like life.
We are constantly piling on one thing after another onto the tabletop of our lives. There are always more things we should be concerned about, and give attention to, and make room for — somehow. Before long, it’s a life full of clutter. It’s a whirlwind of good intentions, but bad directions — maybe a load of participation, but a litter of purpose. And it stays this way until God’s arm intervenes, mighty to sweep, and clears the table.
Which he does for us in Matthew 7: 7-13
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 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 good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.