The Book of
Luke, Godís Clear Evidence that
Produced Various Verdicts, Part I - Lesson 142
Luke 11:14‑28, 14And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. 21When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. 23He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
27And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
If you were able to conduct a trial for an particular offense, and have several different juries weighing the evidence, you would most likely receive a different verdict from each jury.
We see in this passage a working out of different verdicts about Jesus Christ but those verdicts are all based upon the same event.
This is an example of how the same evidence produces different verdicts, different conclusions.
The evidence is the same for all to see.
Jesus has cast a demon from a man, a demon which caused him to be dumb, which means he could not speak while inhabited by the demon.
All who witnessed this event agreed that a great miracle had been performed, but after this agreement there is a great difference of opinion as to how this took place.
The crowd was amazed at the miracle.
Some in the crowd were Pharisees according to Matthewís Gospel, and some were, according to Mark teachers of the Law from Jerusalem, and these concluded that Jesus did this miracle through the power of Beelzebub.
Now in this time Beelzebub was the current name for the chief or prince of demons, and was identified with SATAN and the DEVIL.
Beelzebub was a god of Israelís neighbors and in the history of religions the gods of one nation became the devils of its neighbors.
Therefore to ascribe this miracle to Beelzebub was to ascribe it to Satan.
But others in the crowd were undecided, or at least uncommitted, and asked for ďa sign from heavenĒ (Luke 11:16).
And still others, like the woman who shouted from the crowd, missed the point of the miracle altogether for she took this opportunity to praise the womb from which this man Jesus came forth (Luke 11:27).
And these were witnesses to the very same miracle but came to different conclusions about the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is an example where unbelief in Godís Word always lead to wrong conclusions.
This passage is a passage of great importance for it reveals to us how far men can stray from the truth, and why they do.
It is a passage where we learn upon what we should base our conclusions about Jesus Christ.
The highest basis for our conclusions about Jesus Christ is his word and next come his works.
John 14:11 says, 1Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very worksí sake.
So this Luke passage is written to all who seek to know the truth which will lead them to the true verdict concerning the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It begins with this: Luke 11:14‑16, And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.
At some point in Jesusí ministry He cast the demon from this man, a demon which caused the man to be unable to speak.
Proof that a miracle had occurred was evident to the crowd immediately because the man began to speak for the first time since he had been possessed by the demon.
The manís words produced wonder in those who saw the miracle.
The crowd, Luke tells us, was amazed, which most likely brought some to the conclusion that Jesus had done this deed through the power of God.
But some saw this miracle though different eyes and arrived at a different conclusion.
These people, admitted that a miracle had occurred, but they credited the power to Beelzebub, that is to Satan, and not to God.
They could do nothing but admit that a miracle had taken place but because of their position this admission was done grudgingly.
A similar reaction would take place in later years as recorded by Luke in the book of Acts concerning a miracle performed by Peter and John.
Acts 4:16, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
The power of God working in otherís lives is a dilemma for those who will not believe.
I remember an occasion early in my Christian life when a skeptic told me, upon learning of my salvation, that he would give it six months.
There was no recognition by this skeptic of the power of God to save.
There was simply an explanation that things like a religious conversion experience could be explained away as some emotional outburst that would soon evaporate.
The skeptic has no confidence in the flesh but he also has no confidence in the Spirit.
Certainly we ought not to have confidence in the flesh but as believers we ought to have full confidence in the Spirit of God working in the believerís life.
So every thing is suspicious to a man or woman who does not believe Godís word.
But others in the crowd according to Matthew did not commit themselves to the same position as the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.
They were not willing to admit that Jesus was the Messiah of God, nor were they willing to deny it.
They thought of themselves as open minded and willing to be convinced.
But they also believed that they had not yet seen sufficient evidence to come to a firm conclusion so they requested a ďsign from heaven.Ē
Perhaps they knew the prophesy of Joel which linked the coming of the Lord with signs from heaven.
Joel 2:30‑31, And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
If this was what they based their request for a sign on they erred for this prophesy is for the second coming of Christ and does not refer to his first coming.
We have already learned in Luke 7 that even John the Baptist did not seem satisfied with the words and the works of Jesus, and wanted more positive proof that He was the Messiah (Luke 7:20‑23).
But Jesus was not willing to give John any greater proof than that of His teaching, his word, and of His works.
There were no signs from heaven not even for John the Baptist.
And Jesus would not give such signs here, for this was His first coming, when He came to save men, not to judge them.
Luke 11:17‑20, 17But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
In verses 17‑28 Jesus challenged the different verdicts of the crowd.
He first takes on the accusation that He has delivered this man from Satanís power through Satanís power.
Luke tells us he knew their thoughts which infers that their verdicts were not expressed publicly into his ears.
He tells them that Satan would not allow his power to be used against his power for casting out one of the devilís soldiers will lessen the power of Satanís kingdom.
No general will have his forces attack his own forces for that would be the greatest of foolishness if victory is sought.
So the opponents of Christ have a dilemma.
They must admit that a miracle has been performed by Jesus for a demon was indeed cast out and a dumb man has spoken.
They have preconceived notions which will not let them arrive at truth.
They are prejudiced against anything that goes against their mindset.
Prejudice indicates one who does not have the love of the truth.
And many are they of this crowd that do not have the love of the Truth and therefore regardless of what this man does they will not admit that he is the Messiah, the Son of God.
God will withhold truth from those who do not have the love of the truth.
Those who do not love truth will remain in darkness.
So if they cannot admit that this man Jesus is the Messiah they look for something else, anything will do, to attribute His power.
If He delivered a man from Satanís hold, perhaps He did so through Satanís power.
Here was the only ďrationalĒ explanation for Jesusí power His enemies could come up with.
This is what operating in darkness leads to. Arguments that are hollow and without merit.
Jesus must be operating in the power of Beelzebub, in the power of Satan.
Jesusí response quickly shows how foolish such a conclusion was.
It was as if Jesus had said, ďWho willingly and knowingly shoots himself in the foot?Ē
Satan would not do harm to himself, would he?
Why, then would they be so foolish as to think that Jesus was attacking Satanís kingdom (by casting out demons) with Satanís approval and power?
Any kingdom that fights against itself falls.
Satan would not fight himself.
The opponents of Jesus were foolish to make such a charge against Him.
Not only was it false; it wasnít even logical, certainly not reasonable.
Jesus does not stop with this argument.
If the power to cast out demons is to be attributed to Satan, then in whose power are the opponentís own children casting out demons?
Matthew 7:22 tells us of children of these very witnesses casting out demons.
John in Luke 9:49-50 complained to Jesus about a man casting out devils in His name.
If the sons of Jesusí opponents were casting out demons in Jesusí name, were these men willing to credit the power of their sons to Satan also?
Jesus presses their case much further than they wished to take the matter, but it was the logical conclusion of their argument.
Jesus was speaking in His defense, but in verse 20 He takes the offensive:
But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
Jesus has pressed his finger into their faulty logic and He has brought them to a very uncomfortable conclusion (their sons must also be operating by Satanís power, for they also cast out demons).
Now, He gives them one more logical argument: If they are wrong and He is operating in the power of God, then they must admit that the kingdom of God has come and that Jesus is the King.
This is the thing they hate to face, He is the King, whom they refuse to receive.