Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. Now, if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
…As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” – Luke 11:14-28
Today we explore what “the Kingdom of Heaven” meant to Jesus and His world. The phrase meant something much different in Jesus’ day than it does today, and Marc uses the historical and spiritual context of Scripture to help us understand this.
He explains that “Kingdom” in Hebrew is a verbal noun, more accurately translated as “rule” or “reign.” Because Jews in Jesus’ day avoided saying the name of God, they used other words to refer to Him, including “heaven.” Therefore, the “Kingdom of Heaven” literally means “the rule or reign of God.”
The place where God rules and reigns is where His people choose to submit to His rule and reign! Jesus punctuates this in the first passage that we will study this week, when a woman in the crowd shouts out a blessing to Him and He replies, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28).
Question: Is there any area of your life that you have consistently refused to submit to the lordship of Jesus?
Prayer Starter: Jesus, I repent. Please forgive me for those areas where I have not submitted to You. I don’t want to be rebellious toward You. I want to grow. I believe that real freedom will come to my life as I choose to submit to Your rule and reign from my heart. So I choose to do that, and I receive Your power and strength to walk in Your way today.
Family Chat: Picture yourself standing under an umbrella, protected from a storm. When you move out from under the umbrella, you walk out from under its protection. It’s the same in your life. When you obey God, your parents, and your teachers, you are staying under protection. Ask God to help you have a heart that desires to obey the first time you are asked to do something.
Take Action: Every morning when you wake up this week, choose to verbally articulate your desire to love God today with all your heart, soul, and strength, and to submit to His rule and reign. Pray through Deuteronomy 6:4-9 every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed.
Challenge: Meet with your life group and talk through both the questions you’ve answered this week and the challenges you have faced (or are still facing!) as you follow Jesus. Be honest about what’s worked for you, as well as areas where you may have missed the mark.