Vol. 19, No. 10 – March 8, 2020
F. Instruction on Prayer, Luke 11:1-13.
2. Instruction for Persistence in your Requests to God, vs. 4-13.
G. Rejection by the Nation, Luke 11:14-36.
1. The Divided Kingdom, vs 14-26.
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c. A final argument that God will answer prayer even more readily than a human father will respond to his children’s requests, vs. 11-13.
Some ancient texts have added an additional object lesson to the beginning of this passage that reads, “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?” But, it is not found in the most reliable texts and should not be included. The addition is due to Matthew having this as the first object lesson in his account of our Lord’s teaching, Mat 7:9. Interestingly, Matthew did not record the second objection lesson of the egg and scorpion as Luke did. They both record the object lesson of the fish and snake / serpent. It is Matthew’s 2nd lesson, and Luke’s 1st.
The first point we see here is the relationship factor. Above, we had a friendship relationship in the parable of the Friend at Midnight. Here, we have a father-son relationship. Like the prayer template in vs. 1-4, we see the relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father, as we are His beloved children and He is our heavenly Father.
In all three verses, we have the word AITEO, once again, for “ask,” which reemphasizes the continued lesson of our prayer petitions to our Heavenly Father. In these examples, these petitions are for ourselves; not intercessory prayer as used in vs. 5-8.
In vs. 11, the first of two examples, we see a request by a “son,” HUIOS, for a “fish,” ICHTHUS, where it is said that the “father,” PATER “will not instead,” ME ANTI, “give” EPIDIDOMI, “him” AUTOS, a “serpent,” OPHIS, “snake or serpent.”
Interestingly, one of the main symbols for Christ and Christianity is the fish, and one of the main symbols for Satan is the serpent, as Luke used figuratively for Satan and His cosmic system in Luke 10:19. Therefore, allegorically we could say, “if a son asks for salvation through Jesus Christ, the Father will not give him sin and condemnation through Satan.”
In vs. 12, the second of the two examples in Luke’s account, (Matthew did not use this one), we also see a request (AITEO), by the son, but this time “for an egg,” OON, ᾠόν, which is only used here in the NT. OON is the ordinary Greek word for “egg.” Next, we have the antithesis, “will he give,” EPIDIDOMI, “him,” AUTOS, “a scorpion,” SKORPIOS?
We noted SKORPIOS in Luke 10:19, and it is only otherwise used in Revelation 9:3, 5, 10, to describe the fallen angelic attack on the human race during the Tribulation. As such, if the “serpent / snake” represents Satan, the “scorpion” represents the fallen angels. Therefore, allegorically, as the egg represents new life in Christ, the scorpion represents torment in the eternal Lake of Fire.
Interestingly, a scorpion rolled up with the tail tucked in resembles an egg. Therefore, the emphasis is upon deception, as Satan is the great deceiver, as we have noted above. No normal human father would deceive his child in this way. It is unnatural. Nor would he try to harm his child in any way. The Heavenly Father, being absolute good, would also never try to harm or deceive His children, as noted in vs. 13.
Our Lord gave His disciples power and authority over serpents and scorpions in Luke 10:19, therefore, we have power to overcome the deceptions and temptations of Satan and his cosmic system so that we do not enter into sin.
Therefore, our Lord asked a rhetorical question: What sort of person would give his own child something harmful or useless when the child asked for his basic needs? Fish and eggs could be obtained easily. The question begs for a negative answer. No one would do such an evil deed.
Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Mat 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
These two parallel verses have slight variations as underlined above. The main difference is the gift of the Heavenly Father to His children. In Luke, it is the “Holy Spirit,” HAGIOS PNEUMA, and in Matthew, it is “good things,” the Plural of AGATHOS.
In addition, there is a contrast between earthly fathers who are “evil,” PONEROS, because they have an OSN, who “know,” OIDA, “how to give,” DIDOMI, “good gifts,” AGATHOS DOMA, “to their children,” HO HUMEIS TEKNON, and our “heavenly Father,” OURANOS PATER, who gives His children “much more,” POSOS MALLON, that includes the Holy Spirit, as noted here.
And, as it concludes, our heavenly Father gives these good gifts, including the indwelling and enabling power of the Holy Spirit, “to those who ask Him,” HO AITEO AUTOS. This means that when we have prayer petitions to God the Father, especially for our own needs and benefits, which is the context in these verses, He will dogmatically answer them, and the answer will be greater than what our earthly fathers could ever do.
In addition, the context of the “gift” here is the Holy Spirit, which means that the Holy Spirit will lead you in whatever is necessary for the petition and desire of your prayer request to be fulfilled, which many times will be the empowering of your soul to overcome the situation with the Word of God resident within your soul; as God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you,” 2 Cor 12:9. Therefore, God is anxious to respond to our spiritual needs, as much as He has promised to provide for our physical needs. With the allegories of Satan, fallen angels, and the eternal Lake of fire, in contrast to Christ, the new spiritual life, eternal life in heaven, and the Holy Spirit, God is ready to provide for all of our prayer petitions.
Throughout this lesson, Jesus was emphasizing that faith is not the only criterion for success in prayer; it is sometimes necessary to be persistent. His final point was that in prayer, believers are coming to a loving, holy, and righteous heavenly Father, not earthly fathers who sometimes fail. Our heavenly Father will never fail us, Deut 31:6; Heb 13:5; Cf. Rom 8:31; Josh 1:5; 1 Sam 12:22.
Deut 31:6, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Heb 13:5, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”.”
God gives us, His children, the best answers to our prayers. He gives Himself. He gave His Son to us on the Cross, and He gives His Spirit to us for daily living. He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will he not along with Him freely give us every good thing? Philemon 1:6; Heb 13:21; James, 1:17.
Heb 13:21, “Equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen”
James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
“The human father who gives his children snakes and scorpions is sadistically cruel, which is barely conceivable in a human father, much less a righteous, loving, heavenly Father. On the contrary, our heavenly Father delights to give good gifts to His children. God will always behave righteously. In fact, He wants nothing more than for us to do what is right, and He will not withhold anything to help us behave righteously. And where we fail, He has promised to succeed through His Holy Spirit.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
This all relates to the attitude and confidence we should have when we are praying. When we make our petitions, we are not coming like a slave groveling in front of a master, or like a neighbor to a neighbor, or as a friend to a close friend, or as a child to an earthly father. Each of these could provide a reasonable explanation for not answering our requests. They might be willing but not able to help. But, we are coming to our Heavenly Father who is always willing and able to answer our every righteous petition.
1. Always count on God to answer your prayers clearly. I did not say quickly, although that could happen. Some people seem to get quick answers to their prayers. They might ask at breakfast, “Lord, please provide the rent money,” and they go to the mailbox that afternoon to find it waiting. But typically, when you make a request there is a fairly long period of waiting. And in the waiting period, you grow, and your trust in God expands.
2. When there is a longer wait, do not hesitate to become increasingly more persistent. God tells us to be emboldened in our prayer requests, because it demonstrates our faith in Him. He did not say, demanding, but shameless audacity. Therefore, never hesitate to be bold in your prayer requests, even though the odds are stacked against you. You are talking to a Father who has never met His match. Therefore, never hesitate to be bold in His presence, because it comes from assurance in the goodness of God. His answer may be no, to either or both the petition and desire, but He will nonetheless honor your confidence in His ability and always give you clear answer.
As we celebrate our communion service this morning, I wanted to bring to your attention an interesting impact that Luke 11:13, had on a certain gentlemen, and I would say, every Christian in the last two centuries.
Do you know what the inspiration for the song “Amazing Grace” was? Well, in great part, it was Luke 11:13.
The story behind “Amazing Grace,” is not a song of theology per se, it was a man by the name of John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude toward God, who helped him turn from his profane and wicked life and eventually fight against the ills he practiced. Written almost two and a half centuries ago in 1772, the words for the beloved song were borne from the heart, mind, and experiences of this Englishman.
Having lived through a rather unfortunate and troubled childhood, (his mother passed away when he was just six years old), Newton spent years fighting against authority, going so far as trying to desert the Royal Navy in his twenties. Later, abandoned by his crew in West Africa, he was forced to be a servant to a slave trader but was eventually rescued. On the return voyage to England, a violent storm hit and almost sank the ship, named the Greyhound, prompting Newton to begin his spiritual conversion as he cried out to God to save them from the storm.
The Greyhound had been thrashing about in the north Atlantic storm for over a week. Its canvas sails were ripped, and the wood on one side of the ship had been torn away and splintered. The sailors had little hope of survival, but they mechanically worked the pumps, trying to keep the vessel afloat. On the eleventh day of the storm, sailor John Newton was too exhausted to pump, so he was tied to the helm and tried to hold the ship to its course. From one o’clock until midnight he was at the helm.
With the storm raging fiercely, Newton had time to think. His life seemed as ruined and wrecked as the battered ship he was trying to steer through the storm. Since the age of eleven he had lived a life at sea. Sailors were not noted for the refinement of their manners, but Newton had a reputation for profanity, coarseness, and debauchery which even shocked many a sailor.
Upon his return, however, Newton became a slave ship master, a profession in which he served for several years, until 1754-55. Bringing slaves from Africa to England over multiple trips, he admitted to sometimes treating the slaves abhorrently. At that time, Newton abandoned his life as a slave trader, the slave trade, and seafaring, altogether, wholeheartedly devoting his life to God’s service, and became ordain in 1764. Later in life, Newton became a supporter and inspiration to William Wilberforce who lead the fight to pass the British Slave Trade Act in 1807, which abolished the slave trade in that empire.
John Newton had rejected God and Biblical teachings and had led other sailors into unbelief. Certainly he was beyond hope and beyond saving, even if the Scriptures were true. Yet, Newton’s thoughts began to turn to Christ. He found a New Testament and began to read. Luke 11:13, seemed to assure him that God might still hear him: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” Then later, for a New Year’s Day sermon in 1773, he spoke these words to illustrate his lesson. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and (and his good friend) Cowper’s Olney Hymns. In 1835, American composer William Walker set it to the tune known as “New Britain.” This is the version most frequently sung today.
That day at the helm, March 21, 1748, was a day Newton remembered ever after, for “On that day the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” Many years later, as an old man, Newton wrote in his diary of March 21, 1805: “Not well able to write; but I endeavor to observe the return of this day with humiliation, prayer, and praise.” Only God’s amazing grace could and would take a rude, profane, slave-trading sailor and transform him into a child of God. Newton never ceased to stand in awe of God’s work in his life.
With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. And now, we see how lyrics like:
“I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind but now I see. (And) Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
carry a much deeper meaning than a sinner’s mere gratitude. Close to death at various times and blind to reality at others, Newton would most assuredly not have written “Amazing Grace” if not for his tumultuous past. And many of us would then be without these lovely words that so aptly describe our own relationship with Christ and our reliance on God’s grace in our lives: “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed.”
Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that the song is performed about 10 million times annually.
G. Rejection by the Nation, Luke 11:14-36.
1. The Divided Kingdom, vs 14-26.
2. Observers of the Word are the Blessed Ones, vs. 27-28.
3. Prophecy of Judgment against the Nation, vs. 29-36.
a. Jonah a sign of Jesus as the Messiah, vs. 29-30.
b. Various Judges against that Generation in the Judgment, vs. 31-32.
c. The Lamp Analogy; Encouragement to Believe, vs. 33-36.
1. The Divided Kingdom, vs 14-26.
This scene in vs. 14-23, is paralleled in Mat 12:22-30, but another similar incident is recorded in Mat 9:32-34; 10:24-25. Mark 3:22-27, records this incident as being very early in Jesus’ ministry.
Mat 9:32-34, “As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons”.”
Mat 10:24-25, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!”
In vs. 14, there was a “dumb or mute,” KOPHOS, individual who also could have been “deaf,” as the word use includes that too, “deaf, dumb, and speechless.” In our passage, this agent of evil was no match for the power and authority of Jesus, and immediately, the man began to “speak,” LALEO. This was the result of Jesus “casting out,” EXERCHOMAI, the “demon,” DAIMONION, that was causing this condition and thereby healing the man.
This caused the people who witnessed this miracle, “the crowd,” OCHLOS, to “marvel,” THAUMAZO, at what Jesus did. This has an indication that many came to believe in Jesus as a result, especially in contrast to vs. 15.
In vs. 15, those who did not believe that Jesus was from God or the Savior/ Messiah / King, accused Him of being in league with Satan because of the exorcisms He performed, cf. Luke 7:33, (John the Baptist). In Mark 3:22, the reference is to scribes from Jerusalem.
“Beelzebul,” in the Greek is Βεελζεβούλ, Beelzeboul. It has variant English spellings; either Beelzebul, as in the NASB, or Beelzebub, as in the KJV. This is the first time Luke uses this term. It identifies with Satan, as the ruler of the fallen angles, like Abaddon, or Apollyon of Rev 9:11.
As we noted in Luke 9, Beelzebul was a Philistine deity. The name is a combination of Baal, “lord” or “master,” and Zebul, “of the height or of the house.” This Philistine deity was primarily worshiped in the town of Ekron. And, as we have noted in 2 Kings 1, one of Israel’s kings, Ahaziah, fell ill and sent messengers to that city to “inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness,” 2 Kings 1:2. They were turned back by Elijah, and because the king did not acknowledge the God of Israel, he died of his illness rather than receive the healing that could have been his by faith, 2 Kings 1:16-17.
As Jewish history progressed, Beelzeboul was the name Jews gave to “the prince of devils,” Mat 12:24; Mark 3:22, which is, Satan. The first half of the word comes from the Canaanite deity Baal, spelled “Beel” in Aramaic, the language that largely replaced Hebrew among the Jews after the Babylonian Captivity. Consequently, the full designation appears both as Beelzeboul and Baalzeboul. Baal means “lord,” or “master.” In addition, in contrast to Zebul, as noted above, Zebub is the Hebrew word for “fly,” therefore, combined it means, “lord of the flies.” This is equivalent to the Greek god Zeus Apomyios, “fly averting Zeus,” and the Roman god Myagros.
This name could also mean “Lord of the habitation” or “Lord of manure,” two other derogatory terms applied to Satan by the Jews. The former may have some merit when comparing Mat 10:25, “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!”
The term does not appear outside the Synoptic Gospels except in later writings based on them. To show contempt for Jesus the Pharisees called Him this name along with others like, “gluttonous, winebibber, Mat 11:19; Luke 7:34, and “Samaritan,” John 8:48. But this one was especially piercing, as it was the leader of the fallen angels. Therefore, it had a double sting, calling Him the devil and doing so with a derogatory term. According to them not only did Jesus have a demon, Mark 3:30; John 8:48, 49, 52; 10:20, 21; cf. Mat 11:17; Luke 7:33, that made Him crazy, John 10:20, but here He exorcised demons by the power of the prince of demons. The religious leaders were trying to denigrate Jesus’ miracles by associating them with the power of Satan.
“Prince of the Demons,” is ARCHON HO DAIMONION. ARCHON, ἄρχων means, “ruler, prince, or leader.” Its cognate ARCHE is used in Eph 6:12, for “rulers,” that speaks to Satan’s hierarchy of fallen angels, which constitute our true struggle or warfare.
Eph 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Yet, ARCHON, speaks of the leader of these rulers. That being Satan himself. Therefore, first they rejected Jesus’ healing ministry through exorcism, and then call Him names, and next they wanted Him to prove Himself to them with a sign. This is “tempting the Lord your God.” They were so concerned with legalistic details of religious life they were blind and insensitive to the truth of the Word of God. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark record that Jesus called this unbelieving blasphemy unforgivable.
In vs. 16, this “testing,” is the Verb PEIRAZO, πειράζω a cognate of the Noun PEIRASMOS, “temptation or testing,” that we noted in Luke 11:4; Mat 6:13, that also means “try, attempt, put to the test, tempt, or entice to sin,” James 1:13-14; Luke 4:2.
This crowd wanted to get Him to do or say something that could be used against Him. They either believed He was a charlatan who played tricks and wanted to expose Him as such or, more probably, believed He was a false teacher going against the Law and teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. They wanted another “sign,” SEMEION, “sign, token, signal, miracle,” a demonstration of power. Luke’s writing suggests that the exorcisms performed by Jesus made a sign from heaven unnecessary.
Nevertheless, they were “seeking,” ZETEO, ζητέω for a “sign” SEMEION, σημεῖον, “from heaven,” EK HOURANOS. This was not the kind of “seeking,” Jesus instructed them to do, and was looking for them to perform regarding their prayer life in vs. 9-10. This was a “prove to us that you are the Messiah,” type of seeking, which in fact was tempting the Lord God to prove to them who He was.
“By requesting a sign the people were demonstrating a trait Paul alluded to in 1 Corinthians 1:22: “The Jews require a sign.” Their history may have predisposed them to such an attitude. They remembered the escape from Egypt and the miracles performed there. The journey through the wilderness on the way to Canaan was a 40-year-long parade of miracles. Elijah, considered one of their greatest prophets, had brought fire from heaven. It is doubtful, however, if any demonstration would have changed their minds.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
In vs. 17, Jesus “knew their thoughts,” OIDA DIANOEMA, which here means He knew their unbelief in Him as the Messiah / King / Savior. The Son of God knew what they were thinking as if they were expressing their views in words. This is what is meant by the term “omniscience,” which is a characteristic that God alone possesses. Jesus, being God, knew their thoughts; even their evil ones. It is funny that this is a sign all by itself as to who He was, which they totally missed.
As such, He gave them six arguments, (the number of man), that begins with an object lesson, rather than a sign. Later, in vs. 29, He will give them the sign of Jonah, to prove who He is.
First, He replied to the charge that His miracles had a demonic source, in vs. 17-20. Here He demonstrates that even Satan’s kingdom is not divided against itself. Otherwise, it would fall and fail. The Lord said that if a kingdom is divided, it destroys itself with the same effect as a conquering army totally levels an enemy city, complete anarchy reigns and the city is destroyed from within where no population is left.
In vs. 18, Jesus speaks to the absurdity of “Satan,” SATANOS, σατανᾶς, casting out his own demons. He states that for Satan to act against himself would be self-destructive. The argument here is, “why would Satan perform a miracle that would result in his losing his power over his victims? Why would he want to bring this man back to sanity and restore his powers of speech?”
Some people try to deny the existence of a personal devil. Throughout this entire discussion Jesus assumed the presence of an evil kingdom which was opposed to God’s rule that was led by Satan, Luke 4:3; 10:18. Here, Jesus rejected the accusation that He was in league with Satan.
Therefore, Jesus answered both the accusation and the challenge with logic:
- Satan desires to control people, as evidenced by demonic possession.
- The mute man has been relieved from possession.
- The power to remove demonic possession must be against Satan’s desires.
- If this act was Satan’s idea, then his entire plan will fail.
If any organization hopes to remain intact and achieve its goals, everyone involved must rally together in unity. If, on the other hand, some work for the objectives while others work against them, failure is inevitable.
In vs. 19, the implication is that there were others who cast out demons and that too must be from demonic sources, if His source was. Jesus knew they would not put their own in this category. As stated earlier, others were claiming to cast out demons, and some did, as we noted in Luke 9:49-50. The exorcisms performed by others Jesus notes here, were ritualistic and used magical formulas. Jesus and His followers did not use incantations, but trusted in the power of God to overcome the power of darkness.
Notice what Jesus said about the man casting out demons in Luke 9:50, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” This reminds us of vs. 23, below and speaks to the unity they had, which is the counter argument Jesus is using here against His accusers. If His power comes from God, then His authority over demons proves that He is the Messiah / King / Savior, and that He has brought the kingdom of God to earth.
“So they will be your judges,” uses the Noun KRITES, κριτής that means, “a judge, umpire, or decider.” It is where we get our word “critic,” from. In other words, Jesus is saying, “There is your answer. If they are not working in league with Beelzebub, then neither am I.”
In vs. 20, Jesus tells them where His true power to exorcise and heal comes from, “the Kingdom of God.” In this third proposition, He noted that if the miracle was not performed by dark powers, it must have its source in the power of God, i.e., “By the finger, DAKTULOS, of God.” This is a way of referring to the direct power and action of God in the situation.
This phrase occurs throughout Scripture and refers to the power of God at work, cf. Ex 8:19, and what Pharaoh’s magicians said to him about Moses’ miracle of the gnats; they were from The God. See also Ex 31:18, (the writing of the 10 Commandments); Dan 5:5; Psa 8:3.
Psa 8:3, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained.”
In Matthew’s account, Jesus equates the “finger of God” to the power of the Holy Spirit. He shows the Holy Spirit is the source of His power, Mat 12:28, and is the source of our power too!
Mat 12:28, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
“Then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” This statement emphasizes the result; that the kingdom of God is among them. If Jesus’ exorcisms have been carried out by the power of God, then they constitute evidence that the kingdom of God has arrived. The point is that the Kingly and saving power of God has drawn near to the hearers and is there for them to grasp; and the proof that it is near to them is that its power has been evidenced in the lives of other people, namely in those who received exorcisms.
This is the alternative to vs. 19. “If Jesus does not cast out demons by Beelzebul, then the alternative is that he does so by the finger of God, and, if so, then the (correct) consequence which should be drawn is that the kingdom of God has appeared.” (The New International Greek Testament Commentary)
This reflects on the theme in the opening of Chapter 10, the proclamation of the Seventy Two that the kingdom of God was near. In other words, if you believe that I am casting out these demons by the power of God, then salvation has come to you. Likewise, if you do not believe this, then salvation has come near, but you have not received it.
Luke 11:21, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.”
In our Lord’s 4th argument, He gives a brief parable about a strong man protecting his home that is overpowered by a stronger man, in vs. 21-22.
“Fully armed,” is the Middle, Perfect, Participle of the Verb KATHOPLIZO, καθοπλίζω, “arm fully, equip, or array.” It is only used here in the NT, a hapax legomenon. It is a compound verb with the intensifying prepositional prefix KATA, “according to”, and HOPLON, which means “tool or weapon.” The emphasis of the word is on outfitting or the full provision of necessary tools or weapons. It stresses having the armor and weapons necessary for victory. But in this case, it is not the “full armor of God,” Eph 6:13-17, for the believer. Here, it is used literally, but gives us the idea of trusting and relying upon our human resources and assets, thinking we are ok in this world and in this life with what we have.
This “strong man,” is the Adjective ISCHUROS, “strong, powerful, mighty, able, forcible, vehement,” is confident because he is “fully armed,” with the materialism and/or intelligence of this world. This is the “cosmic man.” And, really is Satan.
This fully equipped cosmic strong man or Satan, “guards his own house.” This phrase uses PHULASSO, “guard, defend, protect, keep safe, etc.,” and AULE, “courtyard, palace, corral, an open space.” Notice, it is not the word OIKOS, that means, “house,” which is typically used for God’s house, temple, people, etc. In classical and Koine Greek, it is an “enclosed space without covering,” in close proximity to a house, or temple. So, we see this being an unbeliever or Satan, without the protection of God in his life, yet protecting his own with his own power and resources.
Even more poignant to the people Jesus was speaking to, this word is used in the NT for the courtyard of the high priest where the trial of Jesus was conducted, Mat 26:58, 69; Mark 14:54, 66; Luke 22:55; John 18:15. Once it refers to the palace of the high priest, Mat 26:3, and once it refers to the courtyard of the Praetorium, Mark 15:16, the official residence of the governor. This was a direct point to Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees who were denying and attacking Him.
It is also used in John 10:1, 16, for the sheep that Jesus is seeking, which means He reaches out to the unbeliever, including the gentiles.
John 10:1, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.”
John 10:16, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”
Getting back to the cosmic strong man, it says that “his possessions are undisturbed,” which is a bad translation. In the Greek it reads, EN EIRENE EIMI HO HUPARCO AUTOS. Literally it reads, “In peace are his possessions,” cf. Mat 19:21; 25:14. We could read this as “because of his efforts his possessions are at peace,” meaning they are protected. Or we could say, “his peace comes from the possessions he owns, guards or protects.”
In either case, this is the cosmic man who trusts in himself and the materialism of this world. He has a false sense of security. Yet, when this condition is changed because he is overpowered by another, he then is defeated, as noted in vs. 22. The implication is this: Peace can suddenly come to an end, so do not become overly confident that you are fighting for the right side just because things are going well in your life.
The ease with which Jesus disposed of the demon should have served notice to all witnesses that the “strong man’s” days of peace were about to end.
Luke 11:22, “But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.”
Here, we have the “stronger” man with the Adjective ISCHUROS once again. Because it is used again, it is a comparative and means, “stronger than the first man.” Our Lord is the stronger man here. Jesus, as the stronger man, has supremacy over Satan, demonstrated in the casting out of the evil spirit in exorcism.
“He attacks him and overpowers him,” uses the Verbs EPERCHOMAI, “come upon, approach, or overtake,” and NIKAO, “be victorious, prevail, conquer, overcome, or win.” This is figurative for Jesus’ victory, overpowering Satan’s house, and taking away the spoils.
Then we have, “He takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied.”
“Armor,” is the Noun PANOPLIA, πανοπλία that means, “full armor or complete armor,” which is only used here and Eph 6:11-13. So, we see the contrast between the “armor” the unbeliever carries, (his cosmic human resources and assets), and the “armor of God” in Eph 6:11-13, that the believer carries.
The cosmic armor of the unbeliever is “taken away,” AIRO, “carried off;” that “in which he had trusted,” PEITHO, “convinced, persuaded, conciliated, appeased, satisfied, or depended on.” It is a word that also means, “faith,” that which he trusted in. Therefore, Jesus defeats the cosmic man and removes his worldly possessions, that which he so trusted in.
Given the context of the following verses, we also understand this as the demons who are possessing a man that Jesus overpowers with the power of God the Holy Spirit to exorcise the demon.
“And distributes his plunder,” uses the Verb DIADIDOMI for “distribute, give out, hand over,” and the Noun SKULON that means, “spoils, loot, or booty,” which is only used here in the NT, an hapax legomenon. In early classical Greek it referred to armor and weapons stripped from the slain enemy after a battle. By the time of the NT, it was generalized to refer to anything taken from its owner after a violent struggle for it. Hence, in the warfare against demonic powers, Satan’s “palace” is invaded by “a stronger than he,” (i.e., Jesus Christ). He takes the “armor wherein he trusted” and completely disarms him and “divides his spoils,” (i.e., the people under Satan’s control in demonic possession, and sickness). Cf. Psa 69:8; Eph 4.
In this parable, the Lord could have been looking forward to the ultimate defeat of the evil one, when Satan will be bound and his possessions stripped from him and redistributed. The immediate application is that as Jesus cast out demons, Satan was defeated and bound. Therefore, He could not have been working for Beelzebul, but instead was working against Him.
Remember that when the power of God scatters the power of darkness, the kingdom of God increases and the kingdom of darkness decreases; in your soul, in the souls of others, and in the world. Jesus’ victory when tempted by the devil illustrates this. Using the Sword of the Spirit each time Satan presented an evil suggestion, Jesus defeated him. The devil learned that though he is mighty, the Son of God is almighty, and he fled.
Therefore, we believers should be glad that we have the “stronger man,” Jesus Christ, on our side. He is stronger than Satan, as the apostle John assures us in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-024, 20-025, 20-026, 20-027
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!