Jesus and His disciples went out once again to the cities around the Sea of Galilee. He proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God to everyone who came to Him. There was a group of women who came along with them as well. Jesus had healed some of them of evil spirits and terrible illnesses. Mary Magdalene was one of them. The Lord had set her free from the oppressive grip of seven evil spirits.
Imagine how her life had changed. She had probably spent years living with mental torment, bearing terrible shame and isolation because of the odd and destructive behaviors of demonic oppression. And then one bright and beautiful day, Jesus set her free. Imagine how she loved Him! Imagine how clear the difference between the deep, twisted darkness of this world and the straight, wholesome, unsullied goodness of Christ was to her.
There were a number of other women who came along with Jesus as He travelled. One of them was Joanna. She was the wife of a man named Chuza, who was the steward of Herold’s household. Imagine the extremed differences in her life. On one hand, her husband served the megalomaniac, amoral ruler of the land. On the other hand, she spent her days in the service of the radical young preacher who roamed the countryside performing wildly amazing miracles. Can you imagine the discussions in that marriage? Another of Jesus’ followers Susanna, and there were others as well. Some of them gave support to His ministry out of their private finances. It is kind of cool that the authors of the Bible made sure we knew about them.
These women came along with the Lord in His proclamation of the Kingdom of God. They were an important part of it, and He wanted them there. Even as many in Israel were rejecting their Messiah, God had given these women eyes to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! They were His precious ones. It would have been an amazing group to hang out with. It is the truest of family.
Jesus and His friends returned home to Galilee, to the town of Capernaum. They probably went back to Peter’s house. Such great numbers of people followed them that there wasn’t room for them to sit down to eat. Many had to stand.
Meanwhile, Jesus’ mother and brothers had started on a journey from Nazareth to Capernaum. They were coming to get Him. He was saying all kinds of things that were getting Him in trouble with the religious leaders. They thought He was out of His mind. Now that He was back in Capernaum and in the home of a friend, they were going to seize Him and take Him away. They had to stop Him before He got Himself killed!
As Jesus taught from out of Peter’s home, a man possessed by a demon was brought to Him. The demonic bondage over this man was so powerful that he was blind and dumb. Can you imagine the suffering this brought into his life?
But Jesus was the Messiah. He was anointed by the Spirit of God to break the destruction of the curse. When Jesus healed him, the crowds were astounded. The man could see! His darkness was lifted! He could enjoy the blueness of the sky and the sun flashing on the waters of Galilee. He could look on the faces of those he loved, and he tell them that he loved them with his own voice. What a beautiful transformation it must have been. The people saw it and wondered who this Jesus really was. What a marvelous sign! Could it be He was the Son of David, the promised Messiah? It was the only way they could explain such a powerful miracle.
Can you hear the rumblings of excitement and the wide, stunned eyes of the crowd? People must have left the miracle with nothing else to talk about for days and days. As they returned to their villages and cities, they told the stories of healing over and over again. Everyone in Israel would hear even more about this remarkable young preacher and His remarkable deeds.
Yet Jesus wasn’t a Pharisee, and He wasn’t a priest. He didn’t obey the Sabbath as the religious leaders told Him to, and He didn’t seem to think they were in charge. What did it mean? If this Jesus was from God, and He rejected their leadership, what did it mean about their leadership? But if He wasn’t from God, where did He get all of this breathtaking power?
The Pharisees heard about the miracle, too. Many of their hearts had already turned hard against the Living Son of God. They were so hard, in fact, that they couldn’t even enjoy the beauty of God’s glorious miracles. One of their own Jewish brothers was healed from a terrible oppression, but all they could see was how this power threatened their own positions. To make matters worse, they heard the people wondering if this Jesus was the Messiah. Things had gone too far. Something had to be done.
The ministry of Jesus was agitating the powerful religious leadership at the great Temple in Jerusalem as well. This was the same angry young man that had turned over the tables in the Temple courts. Who did He think He was? Clearly, He could not be trusted. They sent scribes from Jerusalem to test and question Jesus, and if necessary, to silence Him.
These religious leaders knew they had to give a reason for the amazing power that seemed to flow through Jesus, and they had to come up with a source other than God Himself. So the scribes from Jerusalem accused Jesus of being a partner with Satan. They said, “‘It is only by Beelzebub (which is another name for Satan), the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.’”
Wow! First Jesus’ own family said He was possessed by a demon. Now the religious leaders of the Jewish nation were declaring that He was in league with the ruler of all the demonic forces in the world!
Against these lies, Jesus had something very powerful on His side: the Truth. He also had an amazing ability to make the Truth clear, and He called them out. Imagine Him standing there with a crowd around Him. The disciples, the common people, those who had received healing, the powerful religious men, even His own family, all looking to hear what He would say:
“‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God had come upon you.’”
Wow. Jesus was brilliant. He was showing them how ridiculous their argument was. How could He drive out demonic spirits through the power of the one that the demonic beings were obeying? That would mean Satan had turned on himself! Why would Satan destroy his own team?
When Jesus used the word “household” here, He was not talking about just any home. He was talking about a royal household that governs over a nation. If the king and His prince turn against each other, it opens the door for outside invaders to take over the throne! Surely Satan would never allow that. Surely Satan would make darn sure that his followers would work with him in unity. The boundary between the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light is clear, and Jesus was moving powerfully for the Kingdom of Light! The religious leaders had also driven out demons by God’s power, so they should have known exactly where the power of Christ came from. They were without excuse.
Jesus is still in the business of healing, and He longs for you to come to Him in prayer about your every need.
Here is a song that celebrates and worships the Lord for who He is: