Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dealing with Unclean Spirits, part 2

And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons." Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. (Luke 11:14-16 NASB)

The first time I read this passage, it didn't seem as remarkable as it does today. A man had come to Jesus with a demon of muteness, and could not say a single word. The demon had caused him to be completely mute. Jesus cast out the demon and the man began to speak. It was obviously a miracle and a dramatic one, as well. 

This was not the miracle of a changed heart that takes some time to recognize, but a dramatic miracle that could easily be seen at once. Some of the people said, "Yeah, Jesus cast out the demon, but the devil helped Him do it."(Leanna paraphrase) We will soon see Jesus' answer to that foolishness.

Others said something even more foolish. "That's not enough of a sign to show you are from God. Do another miracle. Do something more impressive." (Leanna's paraphrase) Maybe the mute man speaking didn't seem impressive to them, but surely using the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude was impressive. Both Matthew and Mark relate that, after Jesus feed the multitudes, the Pharisees asked Him for another sign. "That's not enough."

The Pharisees saw Jesus feed multitudes, heal the sick, raise the dead. They heard Him speak the truth on a regular basis. They had the opportunity to know who He was, but that didn't satisfy them. He had done more than enough miracles, but they still weren't satisfied. They were constantly asking for Jesus to do more. It wasn't that they wanted Him to be more active in their lives or to confirm a decision with which they were struggling. They wanted Him to do another trick to entertain them, another miracle to prove Himself.

Although I've been a disciple of Christ for many years, it is easy for me to get caught up in wanting to see something dramatic or to see a flashy miracle, when, in fact, there is nothing more dramatic than the resurrected Jesus or the radically changed life of a disciple. What He has already done is more than enough, so any test that I devise for Jesus to prove Himself to me is not necessary and demonstrates my lack of faith. 

Where are we in our walk of faith? Do we still need more signs to believe or have we moved past the point of needing signs to recognizing the great gift God has already given us in Jesus Christ? Do we still ask Jesus to prove Himself again?

Today, let us embrace the truth we already know and allow Jesus to reign in us. Instead of asking for a flashy demonstration of power, let's ask for the miracle of a changed heart and a transformed life. Jesus is enough for me and what He has done in giving me a lifetime of grace is more than enough. Isn't He enough for you, too?