Thursday March 31
Scripture: Luke 11:14-23
What is the best protection which brings lasting security to our lives? Scripture today tells us that true peace and security come to those who trust in God and obey his word. The struggle between choosing to do good or evil, yielding to our will or God’s will, God’s way or our way, cannot be won by human strength or will-power alone. Our enemy, the devil, conspires with the world and our flesh, to lead us into hurtful and sinful desires. St. Peter tells us: our enemy, the devil prowls the earth seeking the ruin of souls (1 Peter 5:8-9). God offers us grace and protection if we are willing to obey his word and resist the devil.
Jesus’ numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressed by the work of evil. Jesus himself encountered with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before his public ministry. He overcame the evil because of his obedience to the will of his Father. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted strongly to Jesus’ healings 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 union with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God.
Jesus answers them with two arguments. There were many exorcists in Palestine in Jesus’ time. Therefore 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 cannot 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 power and authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign of God. Jesus’ reference about the finger of God points back to Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh and his magicians who represented Satan and the kingdom of darkness (Exodus 8:19). Jesus claims to be carrying on the tradition of Moses whose miracles freed the Israelites from bondage by the finger 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.
Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties. 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 door to the power of sin and Satan in our lives. If we want to live in freedom from sin and Satan, then our house, our life and all we possess must be occupied by Jesus where he is enthroned as our Lord and our Saviour.
O Lord, grant us, we beseech you, patience in troubles, humility in comforts, constancy in temptations, and victory over all our spiritual foes. Grant us sorrow for our sins, thankfulness for your benefits, fear of your judgment, love of your mercies, and mindfulness of your presence; now and forever. (Prayer by John Cosin)