“But some of them said, ‘He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons!’” (Luke 11:15)
Someone once said: “There are only two days the whole world would speak well of you, the day you were born, and the day you will die. In between, you have to manage!” This saying is so true that it even applies to Jesus Christ himself. By accusing Jesus of operating by the power of demons, they insinuated that only demons can cast themselves out. Jesus asked: “Can a kingdom be divided against itself and still stand?”
Jesus’ critics knew He was more powerful than these evil spirits, but they wanted to give Him a bad name. Some people spread rumours about you not because you did wrong but simply because of jealousy. Jesus explained: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, he takes away his armour, which he trusted, and divides his plunder.” (Luke 11:21-22).
In other words, demons are like strong men fully armed, but God is stronger. Do not be deceived into thinking that demons do not exist. It is foolish to deny the power and workings of demons. However, there is no need to fear them when we know that “He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world.” (Cf. 1 John 4:4). To be scared of demons is to behave as one who does know God. Listen to what Jesus has to say to such persons: “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26)
After falsely accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, they wanted Jesus to work a sign. Jesus refused to work any sign because this would mean falling into the temptation of using the power of God for vain glory (which is exactly what magicians do). This is why He refused to jump from the pinnacle of the temple.
Why were they trying to test Jesus after seeing that He had just healed a demon-possessed man? Even if Jesus had worked another sign, many would still doubt Him. When people speak ill of you, do not be in a rush to try to prove your innocence. Those who hate you will never be convinced, no matter what you say or do. Know that truth is powerful; it cannot be hidden forever.
Jesus also warned about leaving our hearts swept and tidy, giving room for evil spirits to attack. Strive each day to be close to God; do not accommodate evil thoughts in your mind. Joel warns in today’s first reading that neglecting God has dire consequences.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, I repent of my fears and falsehood. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Joel 1:13-15,2:1-2, Ps. 9:2-3,6,16,8-9, Luke 11:15-26).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu