Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Luke 11:14-23 (NRSV)
Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Here’s your sign! This passage can be difficult for the modern free-thinker. We are not comfortable with the idea of demon possession—that is best left to the movies or tabloids. Whatever your take on the subject, it is undeniable that Jesus performed a miracle here. The crowd, spurred on by the Pharisees, demanded a sign from heaven—as if driving out a demon wasn’t sign enough!
Are we too different? Don’t we demand signs from God on a regular basis? Even though most of us have experienced God’s grace and guiding hand in our lives, we still demand more. We want proof.
Jesus brilliantly turned the situation around on the questioners. He pointed out that a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan were responsible for driving out the demons, then Satan was divided against himself. It was by the “finger of God” that Jesus cast out demons; therefore, the kingdom of God had arrived (in the person of Jesus Christ). He then finished with a strong statement: “Whoever is not with me is against me….”
I hope that I’m counted as being “with him.” I want to hold up a sign that proclaims my allegiance. Our cars become mobile advertisements with bumper stickers like “Jesus is my Co-Pilot”; “My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter”; “Got Jesus?”; and “Real men love Jesus” showing our commitment. Hopefully our lives reflect the sentiments of our bumper stickers.
Lord, we pray that our lives reflect you in all that we do. Help us to be Christ-like in all aspects of our lives. Help us to be mindful of the struggles of others. We pledge to do all things for your glory. Aid us in bringing others to you. Amen.
Go with God.