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The Stronger Man
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, you have won the victory over evil, sin, and death. Thank you for coming to save us!
- The Works of the Spirit: The Pharisees and scribes went to incredible lengths to discredit Jesus. They watched to see if he would heal people on the Sabbath. They listened to his every word to hear if he would blaspheme against God. And in these Scripture verses, they said he was possessed by a demon. Ironically, they themselves blaspheme against the Holy Spirit by attributing the good works of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Are there are times when we do not recognize the good things that God has done for us and instead chalk them up to good luck, coincidence, or our own efforts?
- Merciful Messiah: The Pharisees wanted to detract from Jesus to keep their own power over the people. They desperately wanted to discredit his works of mercy: “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them” (Matthew 11:5). The Pharisees knew that these were the works of the Messiah that Isaiah had prophesied (Isaiah 29:17-19, 26:19, 35:5-6). We recognize Jesus as our merciful Messiah and we have the honor and joy to continue his redemptive mission through our own works of mercy.
- The Stronger Man: In this parable, Jesus is not the strong man, he is the stronger man. Satan is the strong man, but Jesus has triumphed over Satan by tying him up and plundering, or stealing back what he possessed by expelling out the demon. Jesus was able to give authority to the apostles to drive out demons (Mark 3:15), because Jesus himself has complete authority over the unclean spirits. He has complete authority over our lives as well. Are there broken parts of our lives that we feel God cannot fix? Let us pray to have the faith and trust in God to hand those over to his powerful authority.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Holy One of God. Your mighty power leaves me in awestruck wonder. Help me to see what is broken, lame, or unclean in me and then let me hand that over to you. Heal my brokenness, and pour your joy and love into my heart. In my healing, let me pour out what you have given me to others so that they too are filled with your joy and love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will examine my conscience to see what is unclean in me. Help me have the courage to hand those things over to your authority in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
For Further Reflection: Pray along with this beautiful prayer for healing video.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and a new lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.