Lukeby Mike Raiter
On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus gives a man born mute a voice for the first time, and the crowds are amazed (v. 14). However, as we will see, “amazement” can be positive or negative.
First, some accuse Jesus of being in league with Satan (v. 15). They wickedly claim that His ministry is destructive. A man has just been set free and filled with joy, and some call it demonic.
Jesus points out the logical absurdity of this accusation. If, by Satan’s power, He is defeating Satan’s own hosts, then Satan is fighting against himself. No, what Jesus is doing is destroying the hold Satan has on people. We have just seen one of Satan’s captives, locked up in a prison cell of lifelong silence until Jesus breaks in, overpowers the jailer, and sets the man free. What He has done with this man is a picture of His whole ministry (vv. 17–20). Supremely, it will be through His death and resurrection that Jesus will defeat Satan and set His people free.
You will notice that the context here is one of warfare. Jesus uses military language because Christians are involved in a spiritual battle. When you are at war, the question of whose side you are on is black and white. “Whoever is not with me is against me”, says Jesus (v. 23).
Another danger in spiritual warfare is that of aligning yourself with Jesus but not continuing with Him (vv. 24–26). According to ancient tradition, demonic spirits preferred to live in a host, like a person or an object, rather than have some independent existence. Jesus refers to this in verses 24–26. His point is simple: if God has set you free from any affliction, you can’t remain empty or neutral towards Him. The right response is to fill this emptiness with His Holy Spirit, or else another spirit will move in.
In this passage, Jesus is warning against the dangerous belief that a person can maintain a stand of neutrality when it comes to Jesus (v. 23). Ultimately, the choice is a blunt one: the one who does not follow Jesus follows Satan. Anyone who is not a friend of King Jesus is, in the end, an enemy of King Jesus. Whose side are we on?
What amazes you about the Lord Jesus? How can we ensure that we never lose that sense of wonder?
What evidence can you see of people today still calling the good works of Jesus and His followers evil or demonic?