17: Oppositions and Admonitions (11:14-54)
This passage is the most extended
recording so far of oppositions to Jesus and His works. The occasion for the
first part of the passage was Jesus’ driving out a demon (14-36). The second part
took place while Jesus dined at a Pharisee’s house (37-54). In each case, Jesus
confronted those who accused Him or questioned His conduct and revealed the
inner motives of their hearts. Through His strong admonitions, Jesus challenged
them and made them come face to face with their own callousness and wickedness.
“But if I cast out demons with the finger of
God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (11:20).
Did You Know…?
Beelzebub (11:15): Satan, the ruler of demons.
The queen of the South (11:31): The queen of
Sheba (cf. 1Kgs 10:1-10).
The washing before meals (11:38) refers to the
ceremonial cleansing mandated by the tradition of the elders (Mk 7:3)
Graves which are not seen (11:44): The Jews
whitewashed their tombs so that no one would accidentally touch them and be
defiled (cf. Nu 19:16; Mt 23:27).
From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
(11:51): Abel was the first Old Testament martyr (Gen 4:8). Zacharias was the
last martyr (2 Chron. 24:20-22) in the Hebrew Bible, where Chronicles appears
last in the list of books.
1. What were the three different
responses to Jesus’ healing of the mute?
2. According to the Lord, why was
it absurd to claim that He cast out demons by Beelzebub?
3. What do the Lord’s words in 20
teach us about the significance of Jesus’ miraculous power?
4. What is the point of the
analogy in 21-23?
5a. What does the illustration in
24-26 refer to? How does it relate to 23? (cf. Mt 12:43-45).
5b. How can we avoid the fate of
the demon-possessed man in the illustration? (See also 27-28)
6. Why did the people ask for a sign?
Why did Jesus not comply with their demand? (cf. 16)
7a. How was Jonah a sign?
7b. How was the Son of Man
likewise a sign?
8. Explain why the queen of the
South and the Ninevites will condemn the evil generation.
9. What do the light and the eye
refer to? How can we make our eye good?
10. How does this paragraph
relate to 29-32?
11. What does the Lord teach
about true cleanliness in 39-41?
12a. What do the actions of the
Pharisees, as described in 42-43, tell us about them?
12b. In what ways do we sometimes
act like the Pharisees?
13a. What do the unseen graves
refer to (44) ?
13b. How could our hypocrisy
“defile” those around us the way unseen graves defiled those who walked over
14a. What might have motivated
the people to build the tombs of the prophets?
14b. Why would the blood of all
the prophets be required of that generation?
15. Explain the charge in the sixth