14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “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.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 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.”
27 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!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Some people will never believe. Their hearts are so hardened that, no matter how great a sign they see from the hand of God Himself, they still refuse to believe. This doesn’t mean that we should stop proclaiming the Gospel to them or stop praying for them. It is just reality. And, in fact, it is a call to further prayer because we recognize that conversion is always, always a work of the Holy Spirit chiseling away at sin-hardened hearts.
Jesus casts a mute demon out of a man. Some marveled. Some were still seeking from a sign from heaven. And some accused Jesus of casting out the demon by the power of Beelzebul (which means ‘lord of the flies’ a derogatory title for Satan stating that the devil is the lord of the dung heap).
Now, as illogical as the accusation is, we need to see how that it infinitely more blasphemous. Jesus delivers a man from a demon that made him mute. But people say, “Jesus is doing the devil’s work.”
And we need to pause here because nothing has changed. This world still calls good evil and evil good. If you are pro-life, you are sexist who just wants to control women’s bodies. If you stand for marriage as God created it or believe that men are men and women are women, you are homophobic.
Believer, this world hates God and hates Jesus, and it hates you too because you are God’s child. We live in a world that constantly stands good and evil on their heads. And the sooner you admit it, the better.
Jesus shows how ludicrous the claim that He is casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul. Instead, Jesus says it is by the finger of God that He is casting out demons which means that the kingdom, the reign, of God has come among those who scoff at wheat Jesus is doing.
This expression Jesus uses “the finger of God” is interesting. That phrase is only used four times in the Bible. You heard it in our Old Testament lesson (Ex. 8:16-24). Pharaoh’s magicians recognize that the plague of gnats is the finger of God coming in judgment against them. In Exodus 31[:18] and Deuteronomy 9[:10], Scripture talks about God’s finger writing the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets. Now here, Jesus talks about God’s finger casting out demons. The point is that Jesus casting out demons is a fulfillment of the Law and a plague on hell. Jesus tells demons to go and they have to go.
Then, Jesus tells something like a parable. He says that when a strong man [the devil] who is fully armed guards (and keep that word ‘guards’ in the back of your mind because it comes up again in a little bit) his house [the world] his goods [sinners] are safely under his lordship. But Jesus says that when one stronger than him [Jesus] is going to come and attack him, take away his armor, and divide the spoil [you].
Jesus says that He has come to rob the devil’s house and you are the spoils, the treasure, the plunder that Jesus is taking out of the devil’s cellar. He has won, redeemed, purchased, and grabbed you from the devil’s clutches. All by the power of His finger.
He has pulled you out of darkness and into His marvelous light. And notice what Jesus says, “Whoever is not with Me is against me.” There is no spiritual neutral ground. You are either rescued by Jesus and delivered into His kingdom, or you are held captive in the devil’s domain. And if you are not filled by the Holy Spirit, then the demons come back, and your last state is worst than the first.
So how do you know if you are in the kingdom of God or in the kingdom of the devil? Well, Jesus answers that. A woman says to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you.” Now, Mary was certainly blessed. She is the mother of our Lord. But Jesus says, even better than being His mother is to hear the Word of God and keep (there is that same word used about the devil ‘guard’) it.
Though you were guarded by Satan, Jesus has come and rescued you with His finger transferring you to His kingdom. Now, you guard the Word that Jesus used to deliver you from Satan.
Guard it. Keep it. Take it. Eat and drink it. Because Jesus joins that Word of deliverance and forgiveness of sins to bread and wine. With His little finger, He destroyers the stronghold and armor of the devil. He claims you as His own. And He guards and keeps you now and for all eternity. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.