In our fast-paced media-driven world, we are inundated with ‘claims’. Claims like "this diet will not only help you lose weight, but vastly improve your personal life." Or, "You will be fulfilled if you buy…" Or even, "this particular car will not only be safer, it will make you a better parent!" We exist in a marketplace of ideas in which goods and services are being utilized to make the claim that they can, in some way, complete you. And these are all claims of power.
In modern societies, our sterilized versions of the gospel can lead us to forget that Jesus made claims of power as well. Claims to have lordship over sin, death, and spiritual forces of brokenness. He exercised that power to forgive, to heal and even to raise people from the dead. Yet, it did not go unchallenged.
As we see in this passage, even after seeing a miracle, many will question the source and extent of the power of Jesus. Is this really from God or somewhere else? This week, we will explore the claims that Jesus makes about the power of God (and the manner in which that differs from the powers of this world). We will also seek to understand that agreeing with Jesus’ claims of power are not the same as claiming the king and offering that king the ultimate lordship over the domain of our lives.
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14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”