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The Scriptorium

Logic Lessons

Tables turned. Luke 11.14-23

Luke 11, Part 2 (1)

Pray Psalm 25.4, 5.
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Sing Psalm 25.4, 5.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Read and meditate on Luke 11.14-23.

1.What were His opponents saying about Jesus?

2. How did Jesus explain what He was doing?

The first definition of “stupid” is “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense” (Oxford Dictionary of English). In that sense, Jesus’ detractors were stupid. Resisting Jesus makes you stupid. I mean, here He is, performing miracles, casting out demons, doing good to others, and teaching about the Kingdom of God, and people viciously slander Him as working for Satan (v. 15)?

Such a conclusion is not only vicious, it’s just plain stupid – lacking in common sense.

So Jesus responded to their stupidity with two logic lessons. In the first, He challenged His detractors to consider the question, “Does it make sense that Satan would undertake efforts against His own realm and rule?” (vv. 17-20) – to get them to rethink their views about His casting out demons (v. 15). And, as a follow-up, “If not, then what’s the most logical conclusion regarding My works?” (v. 20)

Then a second lesson: “If I were under the authority of Satan, as you claim (v. 15), would He allow me to break into his realm, make a mockery of his power, and take away everything he owned?” (vv. 21, 22) And, “So doesn’t it make sense that, rather than My being under Satan’s authority, I have more authority than Satan? For, as you see, I have overcome and am overcoming him before your very eyes” (vv. 21, 22).

Put rather more bluntly: Are you so stupid that even common sense eludes you?

And, in fact, when someone is trapped in the lie of rejecting Jesus, the answer to that is “Yes.” And it’s our duty, following the example of Jesus, to expose and penetrate their veil of stupidity, using simple logic, to help them see the commonsense conclusion to be drawn from the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

That doesn’t mean they all will, no more than they did when Jesus reasoned with them. But it’s interesting that, after this episode, we don’t hear those stupid notions anymore. We must insist that people use their heads and reason clearly about Jesus, His claims, works, and demands. It’s not kind to leave stupid people to their stupidity.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Let’s apply this same logic to ourselves. If we have asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit of Jesus (Lk. 11.13), and we know that we will have that prayer answered in the affirmative, every time, would it make sense to think that we would have wisdom sufficient for dealing with situations like this that arise in our own lives?

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (Prov. 26.4, 5).

We have been given that bit of wise protocol from Solomon. It is wisdom free for the taking. Jesus, in all His dealings with the habitually foolish, lived this proverb out perfectly.

Jesus dealt with the complete truth. First, He rid an unspeaking person of a demon that caused muteness. The mute person then spoke. The people marveled. Good response.

Then there were the ever-present naysayers to deal with. They not only grumbled, but they added a layer to their grumbling that was so full of holes that everyone there must have been left scratching their heads in obtuse wonder. And Jesus in His wisdom and graciousness dealt with the foolish “lest they be wise in their own eyes”.

He also added a question to the mix: “By the way, by whom do your sons cast out demons? Are they also house and kingdom dividers of Satan’s realm? And do they do it by the power of the ruler of the demons, Beelzebub? Hmmm. Just wondering?”

And then Jesus turns His attention to all the rest of us and says: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Lk. 11.23). He does not want us to be wise in our own eyes. He wants us to see into our own hearts to understand if we are with Him, and if we are gathering others for the Kingdom. Are we all in? Or just partially in? Have we set our hearts to follow Him and His Laws to the very end? (Ps. 119.112) Do we “trust in the LORD with all our hearts, and never lean on our own understanding?” Do we acknowledge Him in everything that we do? (Prov. 3.5, 6).

The Kingdom of God has come upon us because He has cast out the demon of unbelief in our lives with the finger of God (Lk. 11.20). Let us always, with the first group of people (Lk. 11.14) be amazed and marvel at His grace and mercy and salvation and healing power over all that is evil. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7.25). We have been saved by faith; but when filled with the Holy Spirit we would do well to use the logic lessons learned daily in the Scriptures to guide and motivate our lives henceforth—albeit always at the behest of faith.

For reflection
1. How can we know whether we are “with” Jesus or “against” Him?

2. What did Jesus do to show His detractors that they were foolish in their thinking about Him?

3. What was foolish about their thinking?

Jesus’ ministry forces everyone to make a choice. Neutrality is not an option. Either Jesus comes from God or He does not. Not to align with Jesus is to be against Him. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Luke 11.23

Pray Psalm 25.11-18.
Seek the grace of God for your work in your Personal Mission Field today. Make the most of every opportunity to point others to Jesus, and be ready with reason and patience where needed.

Sing Psalm 25.11-18.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
For Your sake, Lord, forgive.  All they who fear You, Lord,
shall know Your blessings day by day and follow in Your Word.

Your friends are they who fear and seek Your holy face;
Your covenant with them You share and save them by Your grace.

Be gracious, Lord, to me; my heart is weighed with woe.
My troubles and affliction see; let my transgressions go.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

Two books can help you improve your practice of prayer. God’s Prayer Program shows you how to use the psalms to guide your prayers, and The Poetry of Prayer shows by a variety of metaphors what our prayers can be like. You can order a free copy of each by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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