Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 11:14-36

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Chapter 11:14-36

The Inside Scoop on Demons

  • And now for something completely different! Jesus exorcizes a demon from a guy who is unable to speak.
  • Proof of the demon's exit is that the guy's words start flowing, and the crowds are blown away.
  • But some of them have a different idea of what's going on here. They think Jesus exorcizes by the power of Beelzebul, one of the higher-ups in the demonic social order.
  • Others are looking for Jesus to perform a sign from heaven. Apparently making a mute man speak is not enough.
  • Jesus addresses the first of these half-baked ideas—that he's somehow working for high-powered demons.
  • Jesus of course knows their inner thoughts, proving Simeon right once again (recall 2:35; 5:22; and 9:47).
  • Here's his argument:
  • Civil wars destroy kingdoms. If he's combating demons under the orders of Beelzebul, then the demonic world is embroiled in a civil war. That would mean Satan's kingdom is falling.
  • Also, if Jesus is exorcizing demons by the authority of Beelzebul, then how are the achievements of other Jewish exorcists to be explained? They're not going to like this explanation very much either, that's for sure.
  • On the other hand, if Jesus is exorcizing demons "by the finger of God" (11:20), then God's kingdom is already here.
  • Here's a little story for you.
  • When a heavily armed warrior is guarding his home, it's a fairly safe bet that his stuff's going to be safe.
  • Well, until a mightier warrior comes along and conquers him, that is. Then the victor strips his opponent's armor and distributes the plunder.
  • Okay, so what's Jesus's point exactly? What do you think?
  • Jesus adds, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters" (11:23 NRSV). How does that jive with 9:50?
  • By the way, here's the protocol for unclean spirits.
  • Upon its departure from a person, it roams through waterless regions seeking a place to hang its hat. When no suitable place is found, the spirit thinks it's wise to return to his old joint, which he finds to be all nice and tidy. Perfect!
  • Then the spirit gets some still wickeder friends, and they all move in together.
  • The result? "The last state of that person is worse than the first" (11:26). Bummer.
  • A woman shouts from the crowd about how happy Jesus's mom must be.
  • Jesus corrects her. Happiness belongs to those who hear God's word and keep it.
  • TouchĂ©.
  • Despite this interruption, Jesus goes on to address the second of the half-baked ideas in 11:15-16.
  • This generation is wicked because it's looking for a sign. Well, guess what? The only sign they're getting is "the sign of Jonah" (11:29).
  • In a nutshell, Jonah told the Ninevites to repent or be destroyed (go read it for yourself in Jonah 3). That's exactly what the Son of Man's doing, and that's the only sign anyone's getting.
  • The "queen of the South" (11:31) will preside as the judge over this generation and give them a guilty verdict. By the way, she's a non-Jew.
  • She actually paid attention to Solomon's wisdom, and Jesus is more important than Solomon. Read all about this in 1 Kings 10:1-29.
  • The Ninevites themselves will join her as judges of this generation and agree with her guilty verdict. By the way, the Ninevites are also non-Jews. Are you catching Jesus's drift yet?
  • After all, the Ninevites repented upon hearing Jonah's message, and Jesus is more important than Jonah.
  • Oh, by the way, the body's lamp is the eye. Wait, what?
  • A quick lesson in ancient physiology might give you a better understanding of these sayings. Back in the day, people thought the eye could see by transmitting the light that resides within the body.
  • Healthy eyes = sufficient light within the body; sick eyes = darkness within the body. That means that 20/20 vision depends on inner light.
  • Of course, Jesus isn't an eye doctor, but he's using physiology as a metaphor for ethics. You do the figuring.

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