Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020.12.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 11:14–28

Read Luke 11:14–28

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Jesus do in Luke 11:14? What did some say about it (Luke 11:15)? What did others seek (Luke 11:16)? What did Jesus know (Luke 11:17a)? What point did He make in Luke 11:17b-18? What point in Luke 11:19? What point does He make about the danger of their reasoning in Luke 11:20? What does a strong man do, and with what results (Luke 11:21)? But what can change this, and with what results (Luke 11:22)? Whom is Jesus implying Himself to be, and what binary choice do the people have (Luke 11:23)? About whom/what does Jesus speak in Luke 11:24, and what has happened to it? Where does it go, and what does it find there (Luke 11:25)? Whom does it bring along, and with what result (Luke 11:26)? Who cries out what in Luke 11:27? About whom is she talking? But how does Jesus say people may come into the blessing that He brings (Luke 11:28)?

There was no denying the power of Jesus (Luke 11:14). Those who refused to believe in Him only had the option of trying to explain it away (Luke 11:15). Those who were still resisting asked for a sign (Luke 11:16), but Jesus confronted them with the fact that the evidence that they already had was enough to put them in a place where they had to choose (Luke 11:17-18). Not only had He come, casting out demons, but He had twice sent out (the 12 and the 70) otherwise ordinary men whom He had empowered to do the same (Luke 11:19). This was an event of critical and permanent spiritual moment (Luke 11:20).

But it wasn’t blessing for everyone. Suppose this One, Jesus, stronger than the devil himself came, and Israel did not receive Him? Lost in people’s attempt to understand what Luke 11:24-26 might mean about the mechanics of demon possession is that, as a whole, this saying was an illustration of what was about to happen to the Jews as a spiritual household. 

The Messiah came, astonishingly as God in the flesh, and dislodged the kingdom of the devil (Luke 11:20-21), but His own did not receive Him (Luke 11:25, cf. John 1:11–13). When we read the history of the Jews from Moses to the Messiah, it is deeply sobering to think that Jesus said that their state after His coming is worse than their state before!

Oh, dear reader, there is such a danger in coming face to face with Jesus Christ, the God-Man and Deliverer. You must come away with Him firmly installed upon the throne of your life. He is the Stronger One of Luke 11:22. And you have a binary option: either you are with Him and gathering with Him; or, you are against Him and scattering (Luke 11:23).

The question of Mary’s blessedness was not a question of Whom she had birthed or Whom she had nursed. It was a question of whether or not she trusted in Him as her King and served His kingdom. Have you bowed the knee to Him as your King? Are you gathering with Him?—Serving His kingdom in all that you do? This is the great question of your life, and there is no neutral ground. The only alternative is profound bondage to a defeated less-strong (but stronger than you!) one, and to share in his coming destruction.

In the context, Jesus is identifying Himself as the One stronger than the devil, and Whose arrival and ministry have brought the kingdom of God. Some said that He was doing so by a competitive demonic force. This woman apparently accepts His teaching about His identity but mistakes the manner in which one comes into His blessedness. 

Mary was blessed not so much by her biological bearing and nurturing of her Son, as she was by hearing His divine words about Himself and appropriating them to herself. She heard His Word and kept it. She believed in Him as God Who came to liberate her from the devil and take up residence upon the throne of her life, preserving her as His own forever, by His almighty strength. And this proclamation of blessedness He extends to you, dear reader, who may even now in response to what you are reading, do the same as Mary and be just as blessed as she.

What have you done with the claims of Christ? What place does serving Him have in your moment-to-moment thoughts? How are you making sure to be hearing His Word? How are you seeking to keep it?

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH374 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name”

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