The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 11:23-30 ~ Rejection of Jesus Leads to the Last State Being Worse than the First ~ We are Blessed When We Learn & Apply the Word of God ~ The Sign of Jonah Speaks to Our Lord’s Death, Burial & Resurrection.

Vol. 19, No. 11 – March 22, 2020

3 22 20-Luke 11 vs 23-30-Rejection of Jesus Leads to Last State Being Worse than First-We are Blessed When We Learn and Apply Word of God-Sign of Jonah Speaks to Our Lord's Death, Burial, ResurThe Gospel of Luke
Chapter 11

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.

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Luke 11:23, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”

This is the 5th argument by Jesus. As noted above, this verse reminds us of Luke 9:50, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” There, Jesus was referring to a man exorcising demons in Jesus’ name. He was working for and with the Kingdom of God.

Here, it is railing against the unbelievers at this scene, mostly Scribes and Pharisees, who were rejecting and taunting Jesus. Jesus told the crowd that there can be no neutrality in matters of the Spirit. The kingdom of God is totally opposite to the kingdom of darkness. We each volitionally take a stance as to which kingdom we belong to. Everyone is in one kingdom or the other.

Therefore, we can “gather” with Jesus, which is the verb SUNAGO, συνάγω “to gather together or meet together,” This is where we get the word synagogue from; the gathering together of God’s people to worship Him. Here, it has the connotation of working for and with the Kingdom of God in conjunction with Jesus by His power and authority, and that of the Holy Spirit to lead people to Christ and walk in God’s plan for their life.

Otherwise, if we are walking in the kingdom of darkness, we “scatter” people away from Jesus and God’s plan for their life, which uses the verb SKORPIZO σκορπίζω that means, “scatter, disperse, scatter abroad, or dissipate.” It plays off of the “dividing of the plunder / spoils” above. But here, this is what Satan and his cosmic system do to people, John 10:12.

John 10:12, “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”

They remove people from entrance into salvation through Jesus Christ. This is another way of saying, Luke 8:12, “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.”

Yet, the believer should be working with Jesus to gather the sheep into the fold rather than working with Satan and his cosmic system to bar entrance into the Kingdom of God. As such, the Lord’s, and His followers’, word is constructive as seen in His calling it “gathering.” It also has the connotation of gathering in, such as netting fish. The Christian is called to become a part of this mission. As Peter and Andrew were called to be “fishers of men,” Mat 4:19; Mark 1:17, so are the followers of Jesus in every generation. In contrast, the work of those not with Jesus is “scattering;” no gain is made, destruction occurs instead.

Therefore, everyone must choose a side: either the Kingdom of God led by Christ, or the kingdom of darkness led by Satan. Each person must decide well, for the consequences of that choice are eternal.

Vs. 24-26

Jesus’ sixth and final reply to the scoffers in the crowd was a short explanation of the actions of evil spirits.

Luke 11:24-26, “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

The “unclean spirit,” is the Adjective AKATHARTOS, “impure or unclean,” with the Noun PNEUMA “spirit.” Our Lord has used this term many times regarding the possessing demons including, Luke 4:33, 36; 6:18; 8:29; 9:42. In fact, in Luke 8:29, “For it had seized him many times,” we saw how the demon(s) came and went; possessing the man in Gadara over and over again, as is the warning here. Our verse is the last time Luke records Jesus using this term.

Jesus then described the nature of evil spirits. They are restless, wandering beings seeking a body in which to live. They revealed this trait in the case of the demoniac of Gadara, pleading with Jesus that He would not send them off with no fixed place to live. It was then the Lord allowed them to enter the pigs which were feeding nearby.

Unclean,” is used to contrast the “clean” or holy angels, the elect angels who did not rebel or stay in rebellion against God. They received forgiveness of their sin and are now elect and holy angels unto God. But those that remained in rebellion against God have sided with their leader Satan, a.k.a. Beelzebul, and have sin upon their souls and are therefore “unclean” and unholy.

Remember, a demon cannot possess the soul of a believer during the Church Age, particularly because he or she is indwelt by all three members of the Trinity. But this was prior to the Church Age, so we see that the Old Testament believer who received the regeneration of their human spirit along with the imputation of Divine righteousness could not be possessed either. Therefore, for someone to be possessed over and over again, it means they never came to faith in Christ for salvation. As such, even though someone receives exorcism of a possessing demon, it does not mean that they are saved. Exorcism does not mean salvation. It only means the possessing demon(s) have been removed. Salvation is the result of faith in Christ, which must follow exorcism, if that person is not to be possessed again. But, if there is no faith in Christ after exorcism, even when Christ exorcised the demon(s), that person leaves themselves open to future attacks.

Waterless places,” is the Adjective ANUDROS, “dry or without water,” and the Noun TOPOS, where we get our word “topography” from means, “place, location, area, region, etc.” It means a dry place, desert, or arid country. ANUDROS is made up of the Greek negative AN, and the word for “water,” HUDOR. It is used in this narrative only in Mat 12:43, and here, and in 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 1:12.

Interestingly, Peter and Jude use ANUDROS in a metaphor which describes false teachers; “they are wells,” (Peter) or “clouds” (Jude) “without water.

The “arid / waterless places” spoke of the wilderness or desert areas that were considered to be the place where evil spirits lived. So, this was a poetic way of our Lord relating to the people, (using Hellenistic Jewish thought), of the abode of the demons. In other words, it was their home or dwelling place that was not very appealing. Who wants to live in a desert?

Because this was not a very good habitat, the demon(s) could find no rest there. The word for “rest” is the Noun ANAPAUSIS, ἀνάπαυσις that means, “rest, stopping, cessation from labor, or refreshment.” As such, they desired to find rest by possessing a person once again; “I will return to my house from which I came.”

In vs. 25,  when the demon returns to possess the individual they find it “swept and put in order,” that uses the Verb SAROO, “sweep,” and KOSMEO, “put in order, prepare, or adorn.” In classical literature, it was used as a technical military term for the placement of combatants. It is used metaphorically by Jesus to describe a house cleaned and decorated, but empty, which is the soul of this unbeliever. It means that there are no other demons possessing at this time, nor the indwelling of the Trinity, nor the regenerated human spirit and imputation of Divine Righteousness, so it was fit for possession by the demon.

In addition, the Greek word KOSMEO is a cognate of KOSMOS, which indicates this soul was adorned with the cosmic system as an unbeliever. Being inside of Satan’ cosmic system, i.e., walking in darkness, makes one ripe for demonic possession; providing the demon with a suitable dwelling place.

In vs. 26, we see the compounding effect of an unrepentant heart.

Luke 11:26, “Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

Here, the first possessing demon throws a party. He “invites other demons, more evil than himself,” which means they will do worse things with this person’s body and mind than the first demon did. This was most likely the case of the demoniac in Luke 8:29. As a result, “­the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

“Worse than,” uses the Adjective χείρων, CHEIRON that means, “a worse evil, or more severe.” It is used to compare degrees of evil, like a worsening spiritual or physical condition. This description is also noted in 2 Peter 2:20, for the person who consistently rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ. Cf. 2 Tim 3:13.

2 Peter 2:20, “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

2 Tim 3:13, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

This brief story is a warning that if they continued to reject God’s efforts to restore relationship through the ministry of Christ, they were placing themselves in a perilous situation. In addition, this was a warning to those in the crowd, to not take lightly the strength and determination of evil spirits. The people should take protection from evil through faith in Christ, not just in cosmic adornment. Protection comes by being a part of the kingdom of God, and living a life in the Spirit.

2. Observers of the Word are the Blessed Ones, vs. 27-28.

Vs. 27-28

Luke 11:27-28, “While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it”.”

Interestingly, this incident does not appear in Matthew or Mark, but both have at the end of the Beelzebul controversy, the story of the visit of Jesus’ mother and brothers in the same position as this narrative, with a similar teaching, Mark 3:31-35; Mat 12:46-50. Luke has already used the incident of His mother and brothers in Luke 8:19-21, so it seems that he substituted this similar story for it here.

“Raised her voice,” uses the Verb EPAIRO ἐπαίρω that literally means, “to lift something up,” like an object, but figuratively it means, “to exalt oneself with pride or arrogance.” Cf. 2 Cor 10:5; 11:20.

Therefore, when we see this woman shouting these things, she is not exalting Jesus, but herself, for being a woman, even though she uses words regarding Jesus’ mother, “the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.”

The word for “nursed,” is the Verb THELAZO, θηλάζω that is predominantly used regarding end times prophecy as a warning, Mat 24:19; Mark 13:17; Luke 21:23; 23:29. Jesus prophesied about these times with similar language, but in the negative.

Luke 23:29, “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed’.”

Mat 24:19, “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!”

In Mat 21:16, it was used in the fulfillment of prophecy when the children praised Jesus.

Mat 21:16, “And (the Pharisees) said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?” Cf. the Greek translation of Psa 8:2.

Vs. 28 
Luke 11:28, “But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it”.”

Jesus used this expression of praise as a way to emphasize what true blessedness is. He corrects the woman to say, this is better, this is the true basis of blessing in your life. It is similar to Luke 10:20, when He encouraged the disciples.

Luke 10:20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

True blessedness comes to the followers of God who keep His commands, thus accepting His rule over their lives. When we learn and apply Bible Doctrine to our lives consistently, we will be blessed with a fantastic relationship with God, with power, protection, and authority. This is a familiar exhortation from our Lord as we noted back in Luke 8:21.

Luke 8:21, “But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” Cf. Mark 3:31-35.

True relationship with the Lord is found through the intake and application of His Word. In Rev 1:3; 22:7, we see this exhortation in John’s writing regarding the end times.

Rev 1:3, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed/keep the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

Rev 22:7, “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Our Lord instructed Israel to be sure that they learn and apply His word in Lev 22:31, “So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the LORD.”

James 1:22-25, gives instruction to the Church Age believer to be diligent in the intake and application of God’s Word.

James 1:22-25, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

“Hear the word of God and observe it,” uses the Verb AKOUO for learning through the ear gate, and the Verb PHULASSO, φυλάσσω that means, “guard, defend, watch over, protect, keep safe; obey, follow, etc.” Therefore, the Word of God that we learn, we are to guard within our soul so that we do not lose it. Not losing it, means we are able to apply it in our lives.

To guard the Word means we commit it to memory and we do not override it with cosmic or sinful view point. We diligently keep the Word at the forefront of our minds so we use it and rely upon it in all situations.

In addition, Jesus made clear in this statement the proper view of Mary in relation to Himself. “There is no hint of the Roman Catholic idea of the veneration of Mary. If ever there were a place for our Lord to teach such a thing it would be here in this context. He would only need to “amen” her blessing. Instead, the Lord turns the woman’s attention and our attention away from Mary to God’s word.” (Christ-Centered Exposition.)

So, we see that though she was justly called blessed, Luke 1:42, 48, also blessed are those who learn the Word of God and do the will of God. This does not downgrade Mary; obviously she did the will of God and thus also qualified for the greater blessing. But, this exhorts every believer to learn God’s Word and apply it to their lives, as such they will have a wonderful relationship with the Lord, with power, strength, and authority to be an overcome in this life and receive their escrow blessings in the eternal state, 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10, 12; Eph 6:8. Therefore, the thing that counts is obeying the Word of God. That is the “blessed” or “happy” way of life. Those who hear God’s message and then heed it are the ones most deserving of honor. That is the promise.

John 13:17, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” 

John 15:14, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

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.

a. Jonah a sign of Jesus as the Messiah, vs. 29-30.

This passage, along with vs. 31-32, are paralleled in Mat 12:39-42. Mat 16:4 and Mark 8:12, give similar rebukes to the Pharisees when they persisted that He show them a sign.

Mat 16:4, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.”

Mark 8:12, “Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation”.”

Luke 29-30

Luke 11:29-30, “As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation”.”

Jesus has just said, “You have to obey the Word of God,” now He is referring to it.

“Were increasing” uses the Present, Middle, Participle of the Verb EPATHROIZO, ἐπαθροίζω that is only used here in the NT. In the voice and means “were gathering together unto him.” The idea is that many people were gathering together unto Jesus in increasing numbers so that they were crowding Him. This most assuredly caused the Pharisees, Scribes, and Lawyers much aggravation, which prompted them to demand a sign from Him.

“Wicked generation,” PONEROS GENEA, means an unbelieving people in that time. As such, Jesus rebuked them calling them out and condemning their demands for a “sign,” SEMEION. He pointed out that the people had turned from God. This is the nature of fallen man. Men still reject God and His ways even in the face of Divine demonstrations. Unbelieving people need a sign to be assured of things, yet the faithful need no signs, and believe without seeing, John 20:29; 1 Peter 1:8-9.

John 20:29, “Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed”.”

1 Peter 1:8, “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

In fact, even when the unbelieving see a sign, it typically does not convince them to believe. That is why Jesus says no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah, even though He has already shown them hundreds of signs.

“While many took no time in rejecting the Messiah, many others hesitated, perhaps wondering which way the political winds would blow. Most people choosing sides in a revolution don’t make their decisions based on principle, but by aligning themselves with the one most likely to win. There can be severe consequences to being on the losing side of a revolution, whether in politics, a boardroom, a church, a school, or a residential association. Consequently, the people Jesus encountered wanted a sign, a token of heavenly assurance that He would indeed win. That way, they could enjoy all the benefits of the kingdom without having to risk life, limb, or even their own comfort.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary.)

Jonah,” IONAS, Ἰωνᾶς is used 13 times in the NT and only in the Gospels. In the context of this Jonah, who was the prophet God sent to evangelize the Ninevites, which the OT book of Jonah entails, he is mentioned in this narrative only in Mat 12:39-41; Mark 16:4; Luke 11:29-32. The other 4 uses are in John’s gospel for the father of Simon-Peter which is translated as “John,” John 1:42; 21:15-17. Our Jonah is also mentioned one other time in the OT, in 2 Kings 14:25.

Both the deliverance of Jonah and the resurrection were miraculous. Therefore, this is a prophetic sign that He is giving them. Let us read the story of Jonah, in the Book of Jonah, to see the significance of this sign.

The sign of Jonah was being swallowed by a great fish and remaining in the stomach of the fish for three days and three nights and then being spat up upon the shore signifying new life. This correlates to our Lord as the “Son of Man,” being in the tomb for three days and three nights after His crucifixion and death upon the Cross. After that time period, He rose from the grave to eternal victory. As Mat 12:40 points out, the sign of Jonah is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Mat 12:40, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

In our passage, Jesus contrasted the repentant people of Nineveh and the “evil generation” of vs. 29, that had heard His preaching, seen His miracles, and knew the OT Scriptures. They had every opportunity to believe and yet did not. Jesus contrasted them with Nineveh and the “Queen of the South,” vs. 31, who did not in the least have the advantages of the “present generation.”

Therefore, there are three parts to this sign: 1) Being in the belly of the great fish for 3 days and nights that speaks to the resurrection, as we have noted above and in Matthew; 2) The preaching of Jonah for three days for the people’s repentance; and 3) The victory won where grace overcame sin in the repentant heart. Because of the success of Jonah’s mission, in spite of his personal feelings, in turning Nineveh to repentance, it was a sign of the victory of grace over sin in a repentant heart. This was also true of Jesus. He never turned away a repentant sinner, and in Him grace has reached its apex.

Even as Jonah was a sign, so also was the title “Son of Man” a sign. “Son of Man,” is a Christological title used extensively by Jesus to describe His ministry. He often used it to refer to His suffering and death, and also to His glorious return.

Nevertheless, the resurrection is the main sign, as both Jonah and our Lord were rescued by God and brought to victory. In Luke’s Gospel, we see that not only are Jesus’ works a sign, but He Himself is a sign of the power of life over death, because of His victory upon the Cross. Therefore, this sign was prophetic too about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If they saw that, they should know and believe that He is the Messiah! Those who would reject such a testimony could not expect to escape the judgments of God.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

#20-028, 20-029, 20-030

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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!

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