Drawing the Circle Larger

Luke 11:14-20         
14 Jesus was throwing out a demon that causes muteness. When the demon was gone, the man who couldn’t speak began to talk. The crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He throws out demons with the authority of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons.” 16 Others were testing him, seeking a sign from heaven. 17 Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland, and a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 18 If Satan is at war with himself, how will his kingdom endure? I ask this because you say that I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul. 19 If I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul, then by whose authority do your followers throw them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 20 But if I throw out demons by the power[a] of God, then God’s kingdom has already overtaken you.
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

That which we don’t understand we criticize. Yeshua was criticized for the healings that were taking place. Was he just a disciple of Beelzebul? His answer to the critics was not anger or rebuke, but teaching. The critics support other exorcists, without declaring them to be agents of Beelzebul. Rather than using this teaching-learning moment to enhance his status in their eyes, he says something rather remarkable. Acknowledging exorcisms is evidence, not of their identifying miracle workers, but of their having the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice dawn around them. Telling them that they are part of the Commonwealth suggests that there is now more work for them to do — namely, to integrate those exorcised of demons back into society or, more to the point, to join them in the Commonwealth.

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