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Casting out of the Dumb and Blind Spirit

I. OBSERVATION

A. Passage Selected: Luke 11:14-26

Also in Matt 12:22-32 and Mark 3:22-30

B. Progression Stated: Logical

The effect of the miracle on the audience is the emphasis.

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

In Matt 12:9-17 Jesus healed the man with the withered hand and the pharisees were upset because He healed on the sabbath. Then Matthew quotes from Isa 42:1 in which Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would minister to the Gentiles. This prediction is related to the pharisees reaction to the healing of the man on the Sabbath, but I think it is primarily setting us up for what follows – the miracle we are studying now.

This miracle is extremely important because it is the turning point in the ministry of Jesus. After this miracle He begins to focus more attention on the Gentiles.

2. Content
a. Revelation of the miracle (14a)

The demon was characterized by its effect on the man. Luke mentions that the demon caused speech impairment. If the Matthew account is the same one, we see he was also blind. I think they are the same because the reaction of the religious leaders is the same in both miracles and Jesus’ words are very similar in the following comments.

b. Reaction to the miracle (14b-16)

(1) Marveling

According to both Luke and Matthew the crowds were amazed. People openly question whether or not this is the Messiah. Their questions force the religious leaders to decide or at least voice their already formed opinions. And the fact that the common people are close to accepting Jesus as their Messiah leaves the Jewish leaders with less of an excuse for their response to Jesus and much culpability for leading the common people to hell.

(2) Muttering

The Pharisees reaction is that Jesus gets his power from Beelzebul. In Philistia Baal ze bul meant Lord of the flies. The Jews began to use this term as a derogatory name for Satan. So they are saying that Jesus is casting out demons by the power of Satan.

(3) Mandating

Others ask for a sign from heaven. How could they? Jesus has shown his power and authority over every single sphere possible and this latest miracle was a miracle over the spiritual realm. That seems to me to be as close a sign from heaven as possible.

c. Response to the reaction of the miracle (17-26)
  • Jesus shows the self-defeating logic of a divided demonic kingdom. If Satan is casting out Satan, then why are you worried. Satan is defeating himself. Of course that is ridiculous. Satan wouldn’t do that.
  • Jesus asks, “If I cast out demons by Satan’s power, how do you do it?” The question is this: How do you know what power is evident for exorcisms? There were Jewish exorcisms happening at that time. What was their standard of evaluation?
  • If Jesus is casting out Satan by the finger of God, then it indicates that the kingdom of God is at hand. That is what the strong man illustration which follows is about. Satan is the strong man, but Jesus is stronger and is taking Satan’s possessions (the demon possessed people) away from him. The kingdom has come in power.
  • The unpardonable sin - There has been much discussion about what the unpardonable sin is. Ryrie explains it this way and it sounds good to me. He says that although people might misunderstand Jesus’ ministry, there is no excuse for misunderstanding the Holy Spirit’s ministry since His power and ministry were known from OT times. Accusing Jesus of getting His power from Satan was not just a sin of the tongue. It was a sin of the heart. They were rejecting the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction.12
    3. Conclusion

    No other sign would be given except the sign of Jonah. What does this mean? We have at least 20 more recorded miracles that we are going to study. Weren’t those signs?

    From here on out, the miracles are really repeats of earlier miracles, with just different contexts. When he says in Luke 11:29 that no other sign would be given, that doesn’t mean no more miracles would take place. It means that no new type of miracle would occur. There is one remaining sign that hasn’t been performed. He has dealt with death, disease, the demonic, nature (fish), etc. The only sign left is the sign of his own resurrection.

    Also, in the context of Matthew’s gospel, what follows this is Jesus begins speaking in parables. Matthew 13:10f says why. He speaks in parables to obfuscate the message for those who don’t want to hear. If you are hungy and listen, you can understand. Otherwise, they just sound like nice stories.

    This is the turning point in the ministry of Jesus. From this point on He is secretive in Jewish territory and very vocal in Gentile territory. Prior to this (Matt 10:5f) he had told his disciples not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans.

    Structure of Matthew

    5-7

    10

    11-12

    13

    14-19

    20-25

    Sermon on Mt

    Lost of Israel

    Rejection by
    the Jews

    Parables

    Discipleship Miracles

    Olivet
    Discourse

    Kingdom

    Ethic

    No Gentiles
    No Samaritans

     

    Mystery of Kingdom

    Preparing Disciples

    The Church

    Israel rejected

    2nd Coming

    Tribulation

    II. INTERPRETATION

  • The official rejection of Jesus by Israel’s leaders is documented here when they charge Jesus with being in league with Satan.
  • Jesus shows himself to be superior to both Solomon and Jonah. If something greater than Solomon and Jonah is here, then what two aspects of greatness are demonstrated? He is superior to the wisest king (he has just confounded them with the logic of His argument). Jonah is a sign of judgment and power. Therefore, it will be his own resurrection which will qualify him to sit in judgment over this generation.
  • Jesus believes that Jonah existed. Jesus believes the men of Ninevah who repented were real people. If you are a critical bible scholar and do away with Jonah, then you do away with Jesus. Jesus is not credible because he believes in Jonah. If you can trust Jesus, then Jonah, Noah, and creation are not a problem.
  • The Kingdom of God has come. Jesus was defeating Satan and taking his victims away from him.

    III. APPLICATIONS

  • We are either with Christ or against him. There is no neutral ground.
  • Sometimes affliction is the result of demonic activity.
  • If Christ can defeat Satan, I need to be aware of but not afraid of the forces of darkness.
  • If you clean up your act, but don’t fill the vacancy with the right thing - Christ - then what you will replace it with will be worse than the first.
  • There is blessing for those who hear the words of God and do them. vs. 28
  • Demanding a sign from God is wicked. It doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the signs God gives, but don’t demand it. We might call this “the no fleecing principle.”
  • What does this miracle say about second chances? Can you pass a point of no return where you are so committed to your own way that you would never turn to God no matter how long He was gracious enough to leave you on the earth? I think the pharisees passed that point right here in their reaction to this miracle.

    12 Ryrie, The Miracles of our Lord, p. 67.

  • Related Topics: Miracles