As we read through Luke each week there will be two devotions focusing on particular passages. Click here to read past devotions.
Focus Point: Kingdoms (Luke 11:14-28)
“Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” (v27)
This comment is out of left field and just a bit awkward. I am sure it is one of the many facepalm moments for Jesus. But Luke isn’t jumping to a new idea, this becomes the climax for the two kingdoms dialogue.
Beginning in 14, when Jesus is accused of being in league with demons, the passage moves between the two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God, that has “come upon” the world with Jesus. And the kingdom of this world that is ruled by Satan (see John 12:31).
Here is a quick outline: Jesus responds to the accusation that he is using the power of Beelzebul with Abe’s famous line, a kingdom divided can not stand (17-19). Instead with Jesus the Kingdom of God has come down (20**)! This Kingdom is stronger than the kingdom of this world (21-22). But it is only found with Jesus (23). There may be temporary healing apart from Jesus, but the healing won’t last. You will be consumed again by the kingdom of this world (24-26)!
Then comes the woman shouts. She understands Jesus is the way, but she is still stuck on lineage – along with all of the Jews. So Jesus clarifies what it means to be with him: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
** Verse 20 is a key verse. The phrase “finger of God” is a quote from the OT, specifically the finger of God wrote the 10 Commandment Tablets (Exodus 31:18, Deuteronomy 9:10) – now what once brought the Law is releasing people from captivity! And the verse declares the Kingdom has “come upon you” — it is not far and distant, but here and now!
Connecting to Today: What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? Of course we don’t think you need to be a Jew – we know that race and nationality don’t matter. But we can still be seduced by the kingdom of this world! It can become about your denomination or fringe theologies or social issues. All of which matter, but if they become our ruler… then the world is our kingdom.
The blessed are those with Jesus. Those living in the in-breaking Kingdom. Those who hear and obey.
Which makes our faith simple and yet complicated. We are in relationship with Jesus. Each hearing and obeying… so one may be called here, another there. We hear. We obey. But there is not a simple step by step recipe.
Sometimes I wish there was… for instance, am I spending our money wisely? We just bought a new-to-us minivan. Nothing fancy… but then again, I have been to Haiti. So in that context it is the utmost luxury. And so it became – as does every moment – a time for prayer. A time to listen. To hear. To obey.
- 12:32 is one of my favorite verses (and the subject for Sunday’s message). It also fits with today’s focus on the two kingdoms: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”