Prayer: We have seen the resurrection of Christ; let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, who alone is without sin. We venerate thy Cross, O Christ; and we praise and glorify thy holy resurrection. For thou art our God; we know no other save thee; upon thy name we call. Come, all ye faithful, let us venerate the holy resurrection of Christ; for lo, through the Cross joy has come to all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, we sing the praises of his resurrection; for he endured the Cross on our behalf, and has destroyed death by death. #662 Oxford Book of Prayer.
Read St. Luke 11: 14 - 28
This is one strong story. A man has a demon that kept him from talking. Jesus healed the man and suddenly the man can talk. In fact, the man is so excited that he can talk, he talks a “blue streak”. The crowd is completely surprised. But some of the crowd was sceptical and thought that the healing of Jesus was from the devil. Goodness! How did they think that? Hadn’t they seen the miracles of Jesus over and over again? Did they not know the power of God?
But aren’t we often like the sceptical crowd? We sit in meetings and an issue comes across that should raise a red flag but we let it pass. Sometimes we let an issue pass because we don’t want to be the one to create a stink in the meeting. Or sometimes we let an issue pass because we don’t think we have the wisdom to tackle the issue.
What did Jesus do to those who had raised an issue? Did he just ignore them and hope they would go away? Nope, Jesus tackled the issue right away by saying, “Any country in civil war for very long is wasted. A constantly squabbling family falls to pieces. If Satan cancels Satan, is there any Satan left? You accuse me of ganging up with the Devil to cast out demons, but if you’re slinging devil mud at me, calling me a devil who kicks out devils, doesn’t the same mud stick to your own exorcists? But if it’s God’s finger I’m pointing that sends the demons on their way, then God’s kingdom is here for sure!” (St Luke 11: 17-20 The Message, NavPress 2005).
Then God’s kingdom is here for sure. Jesus continues to teach that there is no neutral ground. If we sit and do nothing, then we are just making things worse.
And then from the crowd comes a voice of a woman. Not a man as was the tradition in Jewish culture, but a woman. Speaking out in public. A woman spoke up from the crowd. She understood that to stand by and do nothing is worse than doing something. She yells out over the crowd, “Blessed the womb that carried you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” This is a very traditional extravagant compliment. This compliment is heartily meant as well as a compliment more to butter up a person. The woman has a part understanding of what Jesus is teaching.
Jesus then says to her, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and keep it!”
Today, how will you hear God’s Word and keep it?
Prayer: Almighty God, who through Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ has overcome death, and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly beseech You, that as by Your grace preventing us You have put into our minds good desires, so by Your continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen. #663 Oxford Book of Prayer.