THE PARABLES OF JESUS

The Divided Realm

Scripture:  Mark 3:22-27 (Luke 11:17-20)

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Be-el'zebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons." 23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.

Meditation:  Are you adequately protected from spiritual danger and evil? Jesus' numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressed by the works of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personal opposition and battle with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before his public ministry. He overcame the evil one through his obedience to the will of his Father. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus' healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could he get the power and authority to release individuals from Satan's power? They assumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God. Jesus answers their charge with two arguments. There were many exorcists in Palestine in Jesus' time. So Jesus retorted by saying that they also incriminate their own kin who cast out demons. If they condemn Jesus they also condemn themselves. In his second argument he asserts that no kingdom divided against itself can survive for long? We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own time to prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoples and their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished. How can a strong person  be defeated except by someone who is stronger? Jesus asserted his authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign of God.  God's power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performed and they give evidence that God's kingdom has come.

What is the point of  Jesus' grim story about a strong man's house being occupied by an evil force?  Our foe and the arch-enemy of God, who is Satan, is stronger than us. Unless we are clothed in God's strength, we cannot withstand Satan with our own strength. What does Satan wish to take from us? Our faith and confidence in God and our submission to his kingly rule. Satan can only have power or dominion over us if we listen to his lies and succumb to his will which is contrary to the will of God. Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. There are two kingdoms in opposition to one another the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God's word, we open to door to the power of sin and Satan. If we want to live in freedom from sin and Satan, then our house must be occupied by Jesus where he is enthroned as Lord as Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and his word?

"Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. Be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship."


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