Read Luke 11 here or click on the speaker icon below to listen to it.
Watching Jesus pray, one of His disciples asks Jesus to teach them to pray. Father God, Holy is YOUR name. May YOUR kingdom come. Give us what we need to sustain us today...our daily bread. Forgive us our sins…as we forgive those who are indebted to us. Lead us not into temptation.
Ask. Seek. Knock. God is a good good Father who wants to give good gifts to His children.
Observers continue to be stumped by Jesus, wondering how He does the miraculous healing and where He is from. Is He from God or the demons? There is no divided kingdom when it comes to Jesus. He is not just on God’s team…He is God. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” He says. There is no fence-straddling in God’s Kingdom. We are in, or we are out. We are with Him, or we are against Him.
Jesus tells a story about an unclean spirit that leaves a person. Good news, right?
Unable to find rest, the spirit returns to find it empty, swept, and put in order. Still good, right?
It brings with it seven other spirits even more evil than itself to dwell there, leaving the state of the person even worse than the first. Wait, what?
Isn’t it a good thing to get rid of evil? Isn’t it good to have a clean “house”…empty, swept, and put in order? We spent a lot of time breaking these habits and cleaning up our mistakes, after all. Shouldn’t that count for something? Or at least NOT be an invitation for more evil?
The truth is, when we leave something empty, it becomes ripe territory to be filled. And if we don’t fill it with Jesus, the devil is happily waiting to find some temporary things to take His place.
Do we do as much filling as emptying? Deep abiding in God. Prayer. Meditation on His Word.
Jesus spent His days emptying Himself, always teaching, healing, mentoring. But He also constantly fills Himself. Jesus -- God in the flesh -- regularly gets quiet time alone to pray and talk to His Father. No mission could be more important than His, and He always found time to get filled.
Lord, empty me of me…both in the worldly things I cling to and in lovingly serving others…but don’t leave me empty. Fill me with Your power, Your peace, Your wisdom, Your discernment, Your love. Fill me with YOU.
Jesus says blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. The crowds increase…looking for more miracles…more signs about who He is. He says the sign of the Son of Man to this generation is as the sign of Jonah to the people of Nineveh. “Behold, something greater than Jonah is here,” Jesus says.
The Pharisees, watching and waiting to catch Jesus at something to stop His growing influence, have perfected the cleansing on the outside…the polished outward appearances of rule and ritual following for show. They load people with burdens that are hard to bear and do nothing to help them. But you can’t hide from Jesus. He calls them out. Indignant, the religious leaders press Him, provoke Him, and wait to catch Him in something He might say….
What needs to be emptied in your life? How can you make sure it is filled with the goodness of God?
Why do you think the religious leaders are so hostile to Jesus and dead set on catching Him in something they can accuse Him of?