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Casting out demons

Luke 11:14-23

Contrasting with people who ask and receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus encounters a man with a demon who causes him to become mute. In the gospels a mute man represents those who cannot speak of God’s glory in Christ. Their being unable to speak reflects their natural inability to know the good news and in this case being under the influence of demons. By causing the mute to sing for joy, as prophesied in Isaiah 35, Jesus demonstrates the miracle he performs on spiritually dead persons as he reveals God and delivers them from the evil one.

This results in a two-fold opposition to Jesus. Some claim that his authority over demons in achieved through his being allied with the prince of demons, others express unbelief by requesting further signs.

Jesus makes it clear that he drives out demons by the finger of God and by doing so it is evident that the kingdom of God is being expressed in his person. This phrase ‘the finger of God’ is used of the power of God exercised by Moses in opposition to the magical arts of Pharaoh’s wise men at the time of the Exodus.

Jesus also tells a parable – a wise saying – about how to plunder the goods of a strong man, one stronger that he must first take the strong man captive and then he may plunder his goods. The point is that Jesus has taken the prince of demons captive, being stronger than he, and now Jesus plunders people for the kingdom of God. The same thought is expressed in the millennium passage in Revelation 20. Jesus has bound Satan and during the long period of the advance of the gospel, the nations are being brought not the light of the gospel.

Jesus is not aligned with the evil one but opposes him as the finger of God opposed the magic arts of Pharaoh’s wise men. He is not aligned with the evil one but, stronger than he, he has overpowered him. In doing so, Jesus, in his person, is the kingdom of God among people.