Jesus was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Luke 11:14–23 (LectionaryPage.net)
From Heather Stephens
“Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house.” – Jesus
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” – Abraham Lincoln
It’s hard to not hold up these words – both the Biblical and Lincoln’s speech – to current times, given how many times they have been quoted or talked about in the past year alone. I’ve seen outrage on the most innocuous social media posts, such as a pattern for a look-a-like pair of Bernie Sanders mittens and a puppy promotion. Who gets mad about puppies?
But just like the people asking Jesus in this story whose side he’s on, I’m missing the point. Something amazing happened – a man who was not able to speak was given his voice back. Instead of talking about how great that was, the people chose to spend their time dividing themselves up. The next time we find ourselves in a “house divided,” maybe we should look to see what miracles are happening around us and what good news we can talk about instead.