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Luke 11 v 23. “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

The men who accused Jesus of operating by the power of the devil were on the verge of making a final, fatal choice. Jesus, however, was about to let them know that they could not attribute their choice to reason, morality, or even their idea of true religion, as they perceived it. In order to reject the plain evidence of the Holy Spirit working through Him, their opposition had to reject plain common sense, plain common morality and their own cultural and spiritual principles of behaviour as well. They must deny, what in every other context of life, they would affirm and accept.

To suggest that Satan would cast out Satan and divide his own Kingdom was an absurdity. Even Jewish religious leaders occasionally practised exorcism. It was generally held that they did so by the power of God. Then why not so with Christ?

Because Christ introduced one new major element. He claimed to introduce the Kingdom of God. This was the claim they rejected because if Jesus was right, it would have consequences for him.

The fact that Jesus had delivered a man from the clutches of the devil proved he was not on Satan’s side. He was stronger than Satan and had overpowered him, as far as the dumb man was concerned. The evidence of who Jesus was, was plain enough. In the light of their comments Jesus gives two strong warnings.

The first is in v 23: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” It was apparent that Christ’s critics were not on his side. If they were not on his side whose side were they on?

These words were uttered not merely to his opponents, but also for the benefit of those who were listening to the discussion. Christ was warning all of them that as far as he was concerned the position of neutrality was impossible.

We all know people who are decent and upright and who want to live without conflict or controversy. Therefore when it comes to Christianity they are polite, but distant. They keep you at arms’ length. They wish to remain uninvolved and neutral. We can afford to be neutral about many things in life, but when it comes to Christ, the words of Pontius Pilate come crying through the ages: “what shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” One cannot be neutral about Jesus.

The second warning is for tomorrow.