Setting

This passage is the most extended recording so far of oppositions to Jesus and His works. The occasion for the first part of the passage was Jesus’ driving out a demon (14-36). The second part took place while Jesus dined at a Pharisee’s house (37-54). In each case, Jesus confronted those who accused Him or questioned His conduct and revealed the inner motives of their hearts. Through His strong admonitions, Jesus challenged them and made them come face to face with their own callousness and wickedness.

Key Verse

(11:20)

Did You Know...?

1. Beelzebub (11:15): Satan, the ruler of demons.
2. The queen of the South (11:31): The queen of Sheba (cf. 1Kgs 10:1-10).
3. The washing before meals (11:38) refers to the ceremonial cleansing mandated by the tradition of the elders (Mk 7:3)
4. Graves which are not seen (11:44): The Jews whitewashed their tombs so that no one would accidentally touch them and be defiled (cf. Nu 19:16; Mt 23:27). [ref]
5. From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah (11:51): Abel was the first Old Testament martyr (Gen 4:8). Zacharias was the last martyr (2 Chron. 24:20-22) in the Hebrew Bible, where Chronicles appears last in the list of books. [ref]

Outline

  • Jesus and Beelzebub
    (11:14-28)
  • Casting out demons
    (11:14-26)
  • True blessedness
    (11:27-28)
  • The Sign of Jonah
    (11:29-32)
  • The Lamp of the Body
    (11:33-36)
  • Woes
    (11:37-54)

Segment Analysis

  • 11:14-28

    1.

    What were the three different responses to Jesus’ healing of the mute?

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    See 14-16.

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  • 2.

    According to the Lord, why was it absurd to claim that He cast out demons by Beelzebub?

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    1. Beelzebub would not go against his fellow demons because doing so would be self destructive. 2. If Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebub, how would they explain their own exorcists’ power to cast out demons?

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  • 3.

    What do the Lord’s words in 20 teach us about the significance of Jesus’ miraculous power?

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    It was a sign that Jesus was the Messiah, and that the kingdom of God had come to the people.

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  • 4.

    What is the point of the analogy in 21-23?

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    Through His ministry and saving works, Christ overcomes Satan and renders him powerless. We must choose which side we want to be on. If we fail to accept the Lord Jesus, we are on Satan’s side and have become the enemy of Christ. By attributing Jesus’ power to Beelzebub, the people had chosen to side with the evil one.

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  • 5a.

    What does the illustration in 24-26 refer to? How does it relate to 23? (cf. Mt 12:43-45).

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    According to Matthew 12:45, the man was liken to the wicked generation. The ministry of Christ had overcome the power of Satan. But a person must decide whether to accept the Lord Jesus. Those who have witnessed the saving power of the Lord but do not invite Him into their hearts are like the house swept clean. Without Christ in their lives, they willingly make themselves the dwelling place of the evil one. Satan will once again take possession of them, and their condition would be much worse than before (cf. Heb 6:4-8).

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  • 5b.

    How can we avoid the fate of the demon-possessed man in the illustration? (See also 27-28)

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    We need to accept Christ and acknowledge Him as Lord. We need to keep the word of God after hearing it (28). With Christ as the Lord of our lives, Satan would have no power over us.

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  • 11:29-32

    6.

    Why did the people ask for a sign? Why did Jesus not comply with their demand? (cf. 16)

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    They demanded a sign to test if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Such testing came from a heart of disbelief. They had just witnessed a great miracle, but they still refused to acknowledge the Lord.

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  • 7a.

    How was Jonah a sign?

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    According to Matthew 12:40, Jonah was a sign because he was delivered from the belly of the fish. Here in Luke, the sign may also refer to Jonah’s preaching (cf. 32). Both the miraculous deliverance and the preaching testified that Jonah was sent from God. The Ninevites accepted this sign and responded to Jonah’s warning.

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  • 7b.

    How was the Son of Man likewise a sign?

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    The powerful ministry of Christ and His miraculous deeds testified that He was the Messiah. Not only so, His death, burial, and resurrection would be the ultimate proof that He was the Son of God.

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  • 8.

    Explain why the queen of the South and the Ninevites will condemn the evil generation.

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    If the queen of the South traveled such a great distance to hear Solomon’s words of wisdom, and if the Ninevites responded to Jonah’s brief preaching, how great would the people’s sins be if they refuse to hear or respond to the preaching of the Son of God?

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  • 11:33-36

    9.

    What do the light and the eye refer to? How can we make our eye good?

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    We need to open our spiritual eye to the truth of the gospel by being receptive to the message we hear.

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  • 10.

    How does this paragraph relate to 29-32?

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  • 11:37-54

    11.

    What does the Lord teach about true cleanliness in 39-41?

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    True cleanliness has to do with our hearts and our lives, not ceremonial observances. It involves removing the greed and wickedness in our hearts as well as helping the needy.

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  • 12a.

    What do the actions of the Pharisees, as described in 42-43, tell us about them?

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    They paid attention to external things that others could easily see and enjoyed men’s praise but neglected living a life pleasing to God.

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  • 12b.

    In what ways do we sometimes act like the Pharisees?

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  • 13a.

    What do the unseen graves refer to (44) ?

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    According to OT law, touching the grave or the dead made a person ceremonially unclean (Num 19:16). While the Pharisees were careful not to become ceremonially defiled, they themselves had become the cause of spiritual defilement by their hypocrisy.

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  • 13b.

    How could our hypocrisy “defile” those around us the way unseen graves defiled those who walked over them?

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    If our hearts are wicked and we live immorally but put on a false outward piety, others would follow our hypocritical example and believe that doing so was right. That is how many corrupt religious leaders have misled their sincere followers.

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  • 14a.

    What might have motivated the people to build the tombs of the prophets?

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    An appearance of honoring the martyrs.

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  • 14b.

    Why would the blood of all the prophets be required of that generation?

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    By killing the beloved Son, these people showed that they approved what their forefathers had done (cf. Mt 21:33-44; 23:29 32).

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  • 15.

    Explain the charge in the sixth woe (52).

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    Being experts in the law of God, these lawyers exercised certain authority and influence among the people by way of their knowledge. But by opposing the work of Christ, they shut up the kingdom of heaven from others (Mt 23:13). Their knowledge had become a hindrance for those who wanted to enter eternal life.

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