April 16 “Divided”


“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
The words of Jesus and they remain true to this day. Be it house or kingdom, anything that is intended to be a whole, functioning unit, when it is divided, is headed for failure.

Jesus, seeking anonymity, encountered a demon-possessed man. He was blind and mute but he was also someone’s son or brother, someone loved enough by others to be brought to Jesus. A unity of purpose had served to get the man to Jesus. Jesus drove out the evil spirit, restored the man’s vision and loosed his powers of speech—a three-fold miracle! This was not a step toward anonymity;

“…all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

Hearing of this spectacular event, the Pharisees went into high gear, grinding out the usual accusation—Jesus casts out demons because he is in league with Satan! Jesus knew these men to their core. His response dealt with the concept of division. The legions of hell had long ago learned the destructive power of division within their ranks. They were the fallen one-third of the heavenly angels who had rebelled against their Creator. They occupied hell and not heaven because of division. They were capable of all sorts of evil but not division. They formed an undivided kingdom of darkness.

The Kingdom of God
Tucked into a forgotten corner of the world’s greatest empire, the nation of Israel was just one of many conquered kingdoms. Perhaps at one time they were a great kingdom, in the time of David and Solomon, but that was history long-since assigned to the record books. Any thoughts of Israel as the Kingdom of God was for dreamers, half-wits, and zealots. That was why the leaders of Israel had to stamp out any hint of Messiah. There was now a balance between Jerusalem and Rome. They could keep their one-god religion if they just kept the peace. Messiah would certainly spoil that—He would divide the people and bring destruction.

Enter the Stronger Man

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God,
surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

He said the Kingdom of God, not Israel. Jesus was threatening more than the power structure in the Temple or in Jerusalem; He was threatening Rome itself. He was seeking to divide the Empire in order to bring in down. To do this He would prove Himself the master of all empires, of all kingdoms. If we are to follow Him, we must never be divided from Him or from each other. The home should be an undivided kingdom and certainly the church should be as well. This is why any attack of the enemy will be divisive, any strategy will be one of division.

Society is defined by division in every possible way: youth from age, race from race, party from party. These divisions seek entrance into the church. We must be wiser than the world. We must allow the Strong Man to rule our lives.  Jesus is the only One who can bind the enemy from harming us and bind us together as the undivided Kingdom of God.

Matthew 12:22-30
Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
John 17:9-12
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
1 Corinthians 1:10-11
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Lord Jesus, You are the Strongman! Overrule the enemy of my soul and bind him! Overrule my own selfish heart and bind me to You. Help me be a unifying one in Your marvelous Kingdom. Let me speak against unhealthy divisions in the Body of Christ. Help me encourage unity among my brothers and sisters. Let us love one another as You have loved us. Let us be the answer to Your prayer that those who follow You would be One just as You and the Father are One. In Your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Bind Us Together
Words and Music: Bob Gillman

BIND US TOGETHER, Lord, Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord, Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.

There is only one God,
There is only one King;
There is only one Body,
That is why we sing:

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.