In Luke 11:14-23, Jesus has to deal with two enemies-a demon and the Pharisees. Demons could be disguised in many forms, including physical ailments. In this case, the demons controlled the man’s vocal cords and prevented him from speaking. The demon was no match for Jesus’ power and authority.
This led to another kind of evil-opposition from the Pharisees. What caused people to hate Jesus? It was their pride, their vanity, and their sensuality. These are at the root of all of our sins. That’s why we stay the stupid things that we say and do the stupid things that we do. That’s why some in the crowd said the ridiculous things that they said and did the most scandalous thing possible-accusing Jesus of healing by the power of Satan.
Jesus’ opponents tried to discredit Him, claiming He had cast out demons by Satan’s power. Because the Pharisees had already rejected previous miracles, another miracle would prove nothing. Jesus used His harshest language for the audience in this passage. They represent the forces opposed to this Holy invasion. They were spiritually blind. In Old Testament times, sickness was considered to be a result of sin. When the man was healed, the people decided that the man was healed by the power of Satan. Satan doesn’t heal people and make them whole. He blinds, deafens, cripples, distorts, and destroys. Casting out demons by the power of Satan is ridiculous. Why would Satan fight against his angels? It would be like the Allies winning World War II by working with Adolph Hitler!
Jesus answered the Pharisees with this logic:
- Satan wants to control people.
- The mute man was freed from the devil’s control.
- The power to conquer possession of the devil is against the devil’s will.
- If this was Satan’s doing, then his plan will fail.
The time had come to choose sides. Earlier, Jesus said that those who were not against Him were for Him, but fierce and growing opposition from the religious leaders had changed the situation. His hearers needed to make a decision, either with Him or against Him. In this spiritual battle, the time for sitting on the fence had passed.
When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, He establishes a beachhead in our lives, just as invading armies establish a beachhead. Most invasions lead to resistance by enemy forces, and when Jesus rules our lives, Satan tries to resist. Satan’s attempts won’t succeed if we remain strong in our faith.
Jesus explained that His ability to cast demons out of people was proof that the kingdom of God had come upon them. Then He explained that what He was doing by casting out demons was casting out the strong man so that He could plunder the strong man’s goods. The strong man was Satan and the goods were the people that Jesus saved by casting demons out of them.
When we call evil good and good evil, we endanger our very souls. Today we tend to glorify all that is seamy and degrading in life. That’s why supermarket tabloids such as the National Inquirer are so popular.
Many people are like the crowd in this passage. Why? Perhaps we are so obsessed with our own selves. Perhaps we regard ourselves as we think that we are smarter than Jesus. Perhaps that’s why we don’t believe. Perhaps we believe but don’t follow Jesus’ teachings.
The consequence of not believing in Jesus is enormous. We can’t be neutral. We are either for Jesus or against Him. If we don’t support Jesus, Satan will reclaim our souls. God does not admire neutrality.
Jesus saw His miracles as bringing about something unprecedented-the coming of God’s dominion. Satan knows that a kingdom must be unified in order to succeed. One of his greatest attacks is to cause much division in our homes, churches, and communities. He will try to make us believe that the attacks are coming from those we are called to love and serve. Division leads to stagnation.
The first step to freedom in Christ is to renounce previous or current involvement with anything that involves the occult, false religions, or that denies Jesus Christ. Anything that offers guidance through any source other than the absolute authority of the written word of God or requires secret initiations must be forsaken.
Jesus is the strong man who defeated Satan on the cross and can still defeat Satan today. He equips us with the full armour of God that Paul writes about in Ephesians 6. With this equipment, we can have victory over Satan. Jesus has plundered the house of the strong man Satan. He has bound Satan. The final victory is coming. God’s kingdom is stronger than the devil and the powers of evil in this world.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1409)
- Larsen, B. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 26: Luke (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983; pp. 201-203)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible; New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- “God Does Not Admire Neutrality.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- “What Did Jesus Understand About His Own Miracles?” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- “Victory in Unity.” Retrieved from www.crosswalkmal.com/devotionals/beloved-women
- Br. Keith Nelson, “Breathing Room.” Retrieved from www.ssje.org/2017/03/breathing-room-br-keith-nelson/#comments
- “Jesus Flips a Vicious Insult.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “No Middle Ground.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Swindoll, Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament Insights n Luke (Carol Stream, IL: Zondervan; 2012; pp. 294-298)