Luke 11:14-36

In this passage, the themes seem to go all over the place. If there is some underlying structure, I can't honestly see it. The main thrust is that Jesus has two attacks made against him which he answers in turn, but there are some other bits scattered in there.

The first attack is that he can only drive out demons by the power of the Devil (v15). Jesus' answer is complicated, and I don't understand all of the logic going through it. He seems to say that evil forces wouldn't work against each other, and that if he drives out demons by the power of the Devil, then Jewish exorcists must be doing the same. But if he's not them it proves he is more powerful that Satan, so being against him (v23) is not a good idea. Verses 24-26 (from looking at various commentaries) seem to be saying that if an unclean spirit "goes out" (of it's own accord, rather than being cast out) the heart may seem to be swept but is not washed clean by the Holy Spirit coming in. The surface is clean but it is no deeper. The former spirit can easily return. This is put up as a contrast – possibly of the Jewish exorcists who had no real power but who the spirits could 'submit' to if it helped their cause – to Jesus who drives out spirits permanently and replaces them with the Holy Spirit (v 13). I'm still confused, though, so any suggestions on a postcard, or put a comment beneath.

The second is a demand for evidence that Jesus is from Heaven. He says that he won't pander to their requests, but that the sign of Jonah (refering to his death and resurection) will be given to them but they still won't believe. The city of Ninevah will condemn this generation for their lack of repentance despite that overwhelming miracle.

In between the two answers is the charge that the truly blessed person is the one who "hears the word of God and keeps it" (v28).

At the end is the part about the eye being a lamp. Again, I'm confused. Is it that the eye controls what comes into the body and so guides it as you use a lamp to guide your way? Or is it that the eyes let you 'see' the body – they are the lamp by which you see what's going on inside – which possibly makes more sense with verse 33?

I get the feeling I'm going to have to ask someone about this whole passage. In the mean time, Jesus is good, Jesus is powerful, Jesus beat Satan, Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is much smarter than me, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Heavenly Father, how far beyond me you are. I thankyou so much for the gift of the Holy Spirit without whom I would not be able to know anything about you at all. I pray he would continue to guide me as I try to study your word and learn more about you. Let me remember that I am totally dependant on him and can't work this out by myself. I thankyou that Jesus did rise from the dead as a dramatic proof of his genuiness and I pray that his protection from unclean spirits would remain with me. Amen.

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