Summary: The incident relayed to us in Luke 11:14-28 presses three relevant questions upon us. The first is, “Is Jesus The Son Of God As He Claims?” The second is, “How Do I Know That He Is Who He Says He Is?” And the third is, “What Must I Do In The Face Of This
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 30
“Who Then Is This Jesus!”
Dr. John R. Hamby
Several years ago (1972) Christian author Josh McDowell authored a book entitled “Evidence That Demands A Verdict.” This book is about the historical evidences supporting the Christian faith. God does not ask us to accept the claims of Jesus without evidence. The Bible gives us overwhelming evidence that Jesus is indeed the son of God. But the truth is that many of those who have chosen not to believe have done so not because they were unable to believe but because they were unwilling to do so. Some of those individuals have not be willing to honestly consider the claims of Christ because they fear that they would be convinced and as a result would have to change their way of life.
We have just that sort of case before us this morning, the incident relayed to us in Luke 11:14-28 presses three relevant questions upon us. The first is, “Is Jesus The Son Of God As He Claims?” The second is, “How Do I Know?” And the third is, “What Must I Do In The Face Of This Evidence?”
1. Is Jesus the Son of God As He Claims? (vv. 14-15)
“And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. (15) But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons."
We are told that Jesus delivers a demon- possessed man, but we are not told much about this poor man. None of the Gospel authors, (it also appears in Mark 3:22-27, Matt. 12:22-30) tells us his name, where he came from, nor how long he has been tormented. All we know is that a certain man was demon-possessed, and that this demon caused the man to be unable to speak (the account in Matt also says that he was blind). Jesus healed this man and he immediately spoke. This miraculous cure was met with varied responses. We are first told that “the multitude (crowd) marveled,” they were amazed and began to wonder who this Jesus was. The crowd was amazed by the deliverance of the demon possessed man but the religious leaders had a different reaction. The religious leaders present could not deny that an incredible miracle had transpired; a miracle that required explanation and interpretation. Since they could not deny the power that Jesus possessed, the man had indeed been delivered, they question the source of his power. The parallel account in Mark (3:22) tells us that the accusations came from “the scribes which came down from Jerusalem…”.
The scribes level two accusations at Jesus. First, they say that he is “possessed by Beelzebub” - the identity of Beelzebub is found in the Old Testament (II Kings 1) the name meant “Lord of Flies or Lord of Filth” and came to be another name for Satan. I agree with Kent Hughes when he says in his discussion of this passage that “It is a fitting name for Satan, but a monst-rous slander when used for Christ. . . It was a calculated blasphemy of immense perversity.” [R Kent Hughes. Luke :That You May Know the Truth. Vol I. (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1998) p. 426]
Secondly, in verse fifteen they take that reasoning one step further saying not only that he is possessed, but He is empowered by Satan. “But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." By saying this they were ascribing the gracious works of God to Satan. Matthew and Mark record that Jesus called this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit “the unforgivable sin.” (Matthew 12:31-31) "There-fore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. (32) "Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
A third response was the demand for more evidence. Some others, whether this is some of the crowd or some of the religious leaders we do not know which, do not want to make a decision about Jesus, they prefer to sit on the fence and ask for a further proof. Verse sixteen says, “Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven”
Perhaps like some today they thought of themselves as being open minded, willing to be convinced if enough evidence is presented. But they felt they needed more proof and they therefore requested some sort of cosmic sign from heaven. Don’t miss the irony here. Some of them have said that he performed miracles by the power of Satan, but they follow that accusation with the demand, “Show us more miracles.”