IF I CAST OUT DEMONS BY THE FINGER OF GOD

When you are trying to reach different people with the message of God, do you change how your teach based on who you are teaching?  God’s answer to that question is given to us in the different gospel accounts.  Matthew was writing primarily to a Jewish audience and his presentation of Jesus is very much tied to how he fulfills the prophesies and plans of the Old Testament.  Mark writing primarily to Romans doesn’t say much about his fulfilling prophesy.  He doesn’t even spend a lot of time on Jesus sermons or stories.  He focuses more on what Jesus did as he walked among us.  Luke, writing to Greeks primarily gives us a very different approach to either of the others.  They all tell the same story.  But it is amazing how they change the emphasis and even how they told the story because they were writing to different people who were in very different places in their life.  The obvious lesson for us is that we should present the same truth but the things we emphasize and how we tell the story is very much based on the people we are trying to teach.

In Luke 11 we have a scene that gives us a kingdom picture from the pen of Luke.  He started the chapter with the request from the disciples for Jesus to teach them to pray as John had taught his disciples to pray.  Luke recorded part of the Lord’s prayer revealed by Matthew in Jesus Sermon on the Mount.  Here is Luke’s account.  “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation.”  Luke goes on to tell about Jesus comparing our Father in heaven to how we would do as an earthly father and if we being evil know how to give good gifts to our children how much more will Our Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

Then Luke turns to Jesus dealing with the Pharisees and their reaction to his healing a man who was tormented by a demon who caused him to be mute.  Jesus cast the demon out of the man and he could now speak.  How did these religious leaders react to such a marvelous healing?  They said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”  Luke says others were testing him by asking for a sign from heaven.  Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them:  “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls.  If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?  For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul.  And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?  So they will be your judges.  But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Notice, that no one questioned the reality of the miracle.  The man was known to them and had been mute for some time.  When he was suddenly able to speak it was hard to deny that anything had actually happened.  Can you imagine how foolish they would have been to try to convince others that he hadn’t actually been healed or that it was just an accident?

Notice, also that no one denied that the cause of the illness was from the demons.  No one said, hey this is just a natural thing.  No one declared it was inherited or that he brought it on by some sin that he had committed.  They knew it was from a demon so when Jesus cast out the demon there was no discussion about whether or not it had actually happened.

Their only recourse was to claim that the miracle wasn’t from the Lord but from Satan.  It seems odd to me that you would look at an event where a man was hurting and he was healed by the casting out of the demon and anyone would declare it was the power of Satan that healed him.  Why would Satan cast out the very demon he had put into the man?  Satan doesn’t go around doing good thing for people.  But when you can’t deny the miracle and you are determined not to admit this man is from God with power that only God can supply you aren’t left with many choices about what to do.

Notice that Jesus says that Satan has a kingdom that is in operation right now.  He notes that the demons are ministers of that kingdom and are going about carrying out the work and wishes of Satan.  He even makes it clear that Satan’s kingdom is a united one.  Satan doesn’t cast out demons because they are his ministers sent out to do his work.  If Satan turned against his own workers or they turned on each other it would result in the fall of his kingdom.  It would result in his kingdom being laid waste.  Think about what that means to us.  If Satan’s kingdom is united and if division would bring on its fall, what does division in God’s kingdom bring about?  Imagine the demons getting into a fuss over some minor issue that caused them not to be able to work together on the big things that Satan wants to accomplish.  It doesn’t happen with the demons.

The big “IF” for Jesus was “If I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”  It isn’t just Satan who has a kingdom in operation on the earth.  Jesus said, when he demonstrated his power over Satan by casting out his demons and healing the ones he had afflicted, it demonstrated that God’s kingdom has come upon us.

The kingdom of Christ wouldn’t be fully operational until he ascended back to the Father and sat down to reign at God’s right hand.  In Acts 2:29-36 Peter points out that David was talking about Jesus when he said that one would reign on his throne forever.  He noted that he had been raised and “Exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.  For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for you feet.”

Christ’s kingdom was there as described in Luke 11 because He was exercising the authority of the king in casting out the demons and healing those afflicted by the demons.  He reigns as king and is over Satan in everything.  Satan’s rule only goes as far as God lets it go.  Satan’s kingdom is completely inferior to the kingdom of God.

Often we seem to act as though the kingdom of Satan was the most powerful kingdom ever.  We seem to live in at doom and gloom world where we think everything is heading to  hell in a hurry.  But we must grasp that Jesus Christ reigns as king of kings and Lord of Lords.  He is on the throne of God at the right hand of the Father.  The whole universe is under the authority of the Lord.  I’m not worried at all about the kingdom of Christ.  It will conquer.  The real question is whether we will recognize his kingdom and be part of it?  God never depends on how we do.  We depend both on how we do and what He does.

Isn’t it time we lived like children of the king?

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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