Reading: Luke 11
Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons," while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first." As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!" But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:14-28)
Reflecting and Thinking
We are reading from a section of Luke's gospel that is unique. In this section (chapters 10-18), Luke shares many events from Jesus' life that are not recounted in the other gospels. More than in any other section of Luke's Gospel, we read the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus teachings make clear that we are in a spiritual battle. The battle involves prayer, the Holy Spirit, loyalties, and perseverance. It involves repentance and attitudes. Many details of the spiritual battle are difficult to discern, but one principle is clear: God blesses those who hear and keep the word of God.
Can success in the spiritual battle really be that easy? Are we among those who want some difficult thing, as did Naaman in the Old Testament (2 Kings 5)? Are we less than satisfied with the admonition to simply keep the word of God? Notice how this theme continues in the following paragraph which describes those who would prefer miraculous signs rather than accepting the simple teaching of the Bible.
Heavenly Father, we ask your help as we wage the spiritual battle that surrounds us. We ask your strength that we might hear and keep your word. We ask your presence as seek to develop the mind of Christ. We humbly repent believing that your word convicts us, and we ask your forgiveness, in Jesus' name, Amen.