We are familiar with the several times the gospels have some sort of criticism of Jesus’ healing and driving demons out of possessed people. In Luke’s gospel, it is not the usual suspects, the scribes and Pharisees, that Jesus is responding to but rather to the crowd who witnessed the event. Some in the crowd say it is by Beelzebul that Jesus heals the man: others say it was to test him, to ask for a sign from heaven. Jesus counters by challenging them to answer his question: “If Satan is divided against himself how will his kingdom stand?”
The crowd then hears Jesus describe the two Kingdoms in the event: the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan.
For those who seek a sign from heaven, Luke’s gospel just ten verses earlier gives us Jesus’ version of the Lord’s prayer which ends with “and do not put us [God] to the test!”
And for those who question from where Jesus gets his power and authority to heal others and rid them of the devils that inhibit them, we should trust in the Lord, have faith in him even if we don’t understand. We should not judge others rashly for what they are doing as if they do it for selfish reasons. We should acknowledge “the finger of God” which is in the good works of others and not be so judgmental.
In this gospel story we see Jesus teaching us to see the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. We need to take up our cross and follow him – completely.
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