Summary: The authority of Jesus flashes in our hearts and minds and brings light and deliverance from demonic darkness. But beware! Armor is essential to spiritual survival!
At the heart of Luke 11 is a message about the battle for the heart.
This chapter contains 54 verses of 1,314 words with 10 paragraphs in the NASV, or 1,311 words with 6 paragraphs in the KJV, or 1,244 words with 25 paragraphs in the NIV. I didn’t get a count of these in the Greek New Testament. My word count function has a problem working with the Greek text that I have on my computer.
NIV divides this chapter into 5 sections or headings:
Jesus’ teaching on Prayer
Jesus and Beelzebub
The Sign of Jonah
The Lamp of the Body
Jenny, Jennifer, Rachel and I read this chapter over and over this week for our devotional time. After reading and studying this chapter all week, I’ve come to see it as a progression from peace to persecution, from prayers of Jesus to plotting against Jesus. What is in between these is a series of presentations by Jesus that build to a crescendo of warnings and woes against the scribes and Pharisees who are trying to discredit his ministry. At the end of this chapter Jesus openly accuses them. He doesn’t hold back any punches. He’s not trying to make them look bad, he’s just trying to make them look at themselves. He is also helping his disciples see who the enemy is, what he stands for, where he is headed and some of how he works.
The chapter opens with Jesus praying and then instructing his disciples on prayer after one of his disciples asked him to do so. We will talk more about that tonight. After that, beginning in verse 14, Jesus casts out a demon and gets three reactions: multitudes marvel, some accuse him of being in cahoots with the devil, others demand he show them a sign from heaven. Excuse me? Isn’t that what has just occurred? Have you ever noticed that, for those who do not want to believe, and for those whose minds have been poisoned against the gospel, there is a sort of fault finding mindset against it?
Now this is common and it happens with anything we chose not to believe in. We come up with rational reasons and arguments for our positions. This is especially seen within upper level educated circles, such as the scribes and Pharisees. Today, in the guise of expanding their students thinking, unbelieving teachers confuse and cloud the simplicity of faith in Jesus by clever questions or accusations that are sometimes open and sometimes concealed attacks on Jesus’ character. You see unbelief has to defend itself just as belief does.
It goes like this… Jesus casts out a demon and the crowds marvel, but the unbelieving ones look for excuses to remain in their unbelief. The arguments here are stated, “You know, it could be that Jesus is using the Devil’s power to perform these exorcisms. Have you ever considered that?” Or, “You know if Jesus really were from heaven he would be doing this kind of sign or that kind of sign to prove it, but you don’t ever see him do that, do you… He must not be from heaven then.” And so it goes.
There were these sorts of subtle and not so subtle attacks against Jesus. But Jesus knows their thoughts and openly addresses them. He comes up against the strong man and takes away his armor and releases his captives. In doing so, he issues a few attacks of his own.
Honest questions deserve honest answers, but these are not honest people, they are unbelieving faultfinders who neither want to follow Jesus nor let others do so. They are looking to punch holes in Jesus’ ministry and discredit him. Why? Because they don’t believe and they want to justify their unbelief. By the way, this still happens. The higher the education level the more cleverly crafted and convincing the attacks we see against faith in Jesus Christ. For all of you who send your kids to the elite private schools in this area, beware! If there are those who teach your children that do not believe in Jesus Christ and are not committed to following him, do you think they keep this unbelief and all it’s symptoms to themselves? They can’t! And they may poison your children’s minds with unbelieving arguments in the guise of expanding their thinking. Unbelief has an agenda! It is to discredit faith in Christ! You don’t think this happens? Wake up and smell the enemy! Belief and unbelief always determine our attitudes and behaviors. And we tend to influence those around us in the direction of what we strongly believe. Beliefs are like this strong man in verses 21-22. If your children’s belief in Christ is weak someone stronger comes along and overpowers them. Sometimes it is openly done, but many times and most dangerously, it is subtle and tacit like hidden cancer cells that grow unnoticed until they have spread beyond control. Would you trust your child to a witch doctor for brain surgery? Then don’t trust their minds with unbelieving instructors!