Lent 2016

Matthew 12

We’re reading through Luke, from Jesus conquering temptation in the desert to the Passion, His crucifixion and resurrection.

Jesus and Beelzebub (Luke 11:14-28)

Who was Beelzebub? Beelzebub was a Philistine god worshiped in the city of Ekron in the time of the Old Testament. The translation of Beelzebub is “lord of the flies”, Baal was the Caananite fertility god. Zebub, Hebrew for flies, was often used as a name for Satan. He is mentioned in 2 Kings 1:2, when Azaziah sends his servant to ask the lord of the flies if he will recover from his back injury. It sounds ridiculous, but Azaziah must have been pretty confident in the lord of the flies, as confident as folks are today in the idols d’jour.  (Spoiler alert- Azaziah, presented with the opportunity to choose God and live, denies God and dies.)

As Jesus was casting out demons, naysayers who watched slandered Him and said that His powers were satanic. Jesus points out that his powers are from God, that casting out demons would certainly not help Satan, and says:

Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” (Luke 11:17)

Jesus tells His followers to expect similar slander as those watching Him perform miracles had just heaped out. Jesus conquered Satan time and again, in the desert, here in the events of Luke 11, and ultimately and triumphantly during the Passion. He says:

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.(Luke 11:23)

Both Jesus and those who follow Him will find persecution at the hands of those who oppose His message. The teachers of Jesus’ time referred to His work as coming from Beelzebub, essentially claiming His work was demonic. The followers of Jesus were also often persecuted. Church history claims that all but one of the apostles died for their faith, with the one remaining member (the apostle John) sentenced to exile on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). (Compelling Truth)

Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28)

Choose God, be for Him and not against Him. We were made to be courageous!

Tomorrow we’ll finish Luke 11. We’ll pick up with the Jesus talking about the sign of Jonah. If you weren’t with us for the Jonah series “God answers our prayers, especially the “whale belly” ones!” you can read it here.

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