The onlookers respond to the exorcism of a
demon that made a man mute, in different ways. While there are some who are
amazed, others attribute Jesus’ power to cast out demons to Beelzebul and still
others ask for a sign from heaven. This is an indication that no one doubted
Jesus’ power to exorcise and heal. They attributed it to different sources. In
his response to this charge and test, Jesus says that since exorcisms
represented a direct assault on Satan’ power and kingdom, it is clear that he
cannot be on Satan’s side. Also, if Jesus’ exorcisms’ were performed by the
power of Satan, the same would have to be said of other exorcists belonging to
their community. Instead Jesus’ works indicate that the
Once he has answered his critics (11:17-23), Jesus moves on to exhort his listeners to fill their lives with the kingdom of God, because it is possible that despite the exorcism, if a person persists in his old ways, he will be possessed once again and this will be ever worse than before.
While there is no doubt that Jesus did exorcise people who were possessed by demons, we must avoid getting caught up with exorcisms ourselves. Rather, today there are many subtle forms of “possession” which are more dangerous than “external possession”. Some of these are consumerism, selfishness, ignorance and a better than thou attitude. We need to ask the Lord to exorcise these demons from our lives.