Based on Luke 11:14-26
These words of Jesus about demons and Beelzebul, the prince of demons, seems alien to most of us. While we believe in the reality of Satan, demons and evil, thankfully, most of us have not witnessed possession or exorcism. What then, is the relevance of this passage to our observance of Holy Saturday? We have observed Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we are anxiously awaiting the first light of Easter morning. Why now this text from earlier in Luke, bringing to mind Satan, demons and the “house” from which they came?
It brings to mind the Creed when it mentions we believe in Jesus, who, after crucifixion and burial, descended to hell. What did Jesus do after His body was laid in the tomb? Traditionally, the Church has believed and taught that Jesus went to hell to proclaim victory over sin, death and the devil. Certainly, no one was there to see such a descent or the presumed exchange between the Lord Jesus Christ and the prince of demons. Was it a battle? Did Jesus attack the strong man, Satan, protecting his own palace? We can’t know the details, but from early on, this was the understanding, whether literally or figuratively, when Jesus, on Holy Saturday, “descended into hell,” declaring, proclaiming, asserting that the kingdom of God had come upon the forces of evil, and the victory now was won.
Do you sometimes worry about the reality of Satan, demons and evil in our world and in our lives? Never, never fear! Christ, the crucified and risen one has overcome death and hell and Himself, announced His victory over the prince of demons. Thanks be to God we have hope and promise of new life now and eternal life with the Lord Jesus, forever.
Prayer: On this Holy Saturday, Lord God, give us courage and strength in the face of evil, sin and death, in the name and by the power of Jesus’ name! Amen.
Holy Week response: Turn on every light in your home tonight and give thanks for the Light of Christ which overcomes all darkness!
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Chron. 24:1–19
24:1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign. He reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother was Zibiah, who was from Beer Sheba. 2Joash did what the Lord approved throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. 3Jehoiada chose two wives for him who gave him sons and daughters.
4Later, Joash was determined to repair the Lord’s temple. 5He assembled the priests and Levites and ordered them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect the annual quota of silver from all Israel for repairs on the temple of your God. Be quick about it!” But the Levites delayed.
6So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief priest, and said to him, “Why have you not made the Levites collect from Judah and Jerusalem the tax authorized by Moses the Lord’s servant and by the assembly of Israel at the tent containing the tablets of the law?” 7(Wicked Athaliah and her sons had broken into God’s temple and used all the holy items of the Lord’s temple in their worship of the Baals.) 8The king ordered a chest to be made and placed outside the gate of the Lord’s temple. 9An edict was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem requiring the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses, God’s servant, imposed on Israel in the wilderness. 10All the officials and all the people gladly brought their silver and threw it into the chest until it was full. 11Whenever the Levites brought the chest to the royal accountant and they saw there was a lot of silver, the royal scribe and the accountant of the high priest emptied the chest and then took it back to its place. They went through this routine every day and collected a large amount of silver.
12The king and Jehoiada gave it to the construction foremen assigned to the Lord’s temple. They hired carpenters and craftsmen to repair the Lord’s temple, as well as those skilled in working with iron and bronze to restore the Lord’s temple. 13They worked hard and made the repairs. They followed the measurements specified for God’s temple and restored it. 14When they were finished, they brought the rest of the silver to the king and Jehoiada. They used it to make items for the Lord’s temple, including items used in the temple service and for burnt sacrifices, pans, and various other gold and silver items. Throughout Jehoiada’s lifetime, burnt sacrifices were offered regularly in the Lord’s temple.
15Jehoiada grew old and died at the age of 130. 16He was buried in the City of David with the kings, because he had accomplished good in Israel and for God and his temple.
17After Jehoiada died, the officials of Judah visited the king and declared their loyalty to him. The king listened to their advice. 18They abandoned the temple of the Lord God of their ancestors, and worshiped the Asherah poles and idols. Because of this sinful activity, God was angry with Judah and Jerusalem. 19The Lord sent prophets among them to lead them back to him. They warned the people, but they would not pay attention. (NET Bible)
93:1 The Lord reigns!
He is robed in majesty,
the Lord is robed,
he wears strength around his waist.
Indeed, the world is established, it cannot be moved.
2Your throne has been secure from ancient times;
you have always been king.
3The waves roar, O Lord,
the waves roar,
the waves roar and crash.
4Above the sound of the surging water,
and the mighty waves of the sea,
the Lord sits enthroned in majesty.
5The rules you set down are completely reliable.
Holiness aptly adorns your house, O Lord, forever.(NET Bible)
11:14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute began to speak, and the crowds were amazed. 15But some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, he casts out demons!” 16Others, to test him, began asking for a sign from heaven. 17But Jesus, realizing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a divided household falls. 18So if Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are safe. 22But when a stronger man attacks and conquers him, he takes away the first man’s armor on which the man relied and divides up his plunder. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a person, it passes through waterless places looking for rest but not finding any. Then it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’ 25When it returns, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so the last state of that person is worse than the first.”(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
On Good Friday, March 29 of the same year, Luther had completed his well-deserved coarse answer to Emser. Here he called the Holy Ghost the most lucid writer and speaker whose writings do not need the help of church and tradition in order to be under-stood correctly if they are only taken in their literal sense. (18–19)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.