14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists[a] cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
The Pharisees challenged Jesus authority, questioning how he was able to cast out demons accusing Jesus of being with or on Satan’s side.
He quickly put them in their place and gave a great teaching on unity and spiritual warfare.
But in this passage I have meditated on one verse, v23. I can’t help but reflect on the position of neutrality. In wars, some countries have declared themselves neutral. Which if they are geographically on the fringes fair enough but how about those in the middle and surrounded by battle? How can you stay neutral when your neighbour suffers? The problem for countries like Switzerland, they had the appearance of neutrality but if some reports are to be believed, being neutral helped the Nazis which by definition is not neutral.
It forces me to consider my own actions and at times inaction as a follower of Jesus Christ.
I can’t comfort myself by saying that I’m ok because I didn’t agree with evil, when I believe that God has positioned me to be a light for him. Not being against God is not the same as being for God. Whereas not being for God is the same as being against him.
As I a believer I can reflect on times when I haven’t stood up for God, I haven’t been the light that God has positioned me to be an have rationalised it by saying that I wasn’t working against God. As I reflect further, I recognise that God has positioned me to be his light, to be his voice in dark places.
There is no being neutral as a believer, just as there is no being neutral against God.
Lord, forgive me when I have chosen not to speak up for you, and help me to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit to seize the opportunities around me to be a light in a dark world.
Written by Andrew Martin