MARCH 11. LENT. WK. 3. THU. LK. 11. 14-23
Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.
‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.’
Why are God’s people so reluctant to believe, or follow, his teachings? He has clearly demonstrated his divinity by powerful miracles and yet many continue to try and explain them away; - in today’s example claiming they were the work of Satan?
Others asked for a “sign”, which is exactly what they had just witnessed, which shows just how “hard of heart” the people of God can be when faced with truths we do not want to believe; - or put into practice?
Christ gave a very wise response to these critics in telling them; - “Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses”; - as any kingdom, or organisation, or human heart; - that works against its own interests; - will never succeed in attaining its goals or desires.
This is particularly relevant to Christians, and the human heart; - when it comes to living the teachings of Christ and doing the Will of God. We so often “know in our hearts” what is the right thing to do, but so often we do not do it; - because it is not in accord with “my desires”.
This makes today’s teaching very relevant to Christ’s followers today who; - via the values of our modern society, and the influence of a powerful media; - we often find we have a “divided heart”; - knowing the truth, but not wanting or being prepared to live it!
What results from a divided heart is we find ourselves confronted with the problem of Mediocrity; - which results in a heart that is dissatisfied and lacking inner peace.
This leaves the soul vulnerable to attack from the world, the flesh, and the devil, a situation Christ highlights in today’s Gospel; - “ So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil”.
In order to be “a strong man who is fully armed” we need to not only believe in the teachings of Christ but we must be fully committed to living them; - leaving no room for mediocrity.
“Put on the armour of God, so you will be able to stand firm against the devil” (Eph 6.11)