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There is no neutrality – only greater woe

Luke 11:24-28

This seems an odd passage. When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it finds no rest in waterless wilderness places and seeks to restore to the person it previously inhabited. Finding a person in a clean and orderly state it seeks to restore uncleanness and chaos by bringing in seven other spirits worse than itself resulting in the final state of that person being worse than the first – woe!

The passage seems to be teaching that while being unclean with demonic influence is bad, neutrality is not sufficient. One must not simply be restored to cleanliness but to holiness. Mere unoccupied cleanness is no guarantee of continued wellbeing – one must be holy. This links back to earlier in the chapter when Jesus spoke about being given the Holy Spirit and such contrasted with having a demon that caused one to be mute. Neutrality toward Jesus is not a possible option as such a condition may give way to something much worse.

The contrast with the above state is seen in the following periscope. Here a woman cries out how blessed Jesus’ mother must be to have such a great son. For Jesus though A woman is blessed not by having a great son or having children – but rather by hearing and guarding what it heard. Receiving Jesus’ word in this way brings happiness that contrasts with the woe described above.