This has been quite a long section that Matthew has focused on the blind and mute man who Jesus set free from demon possession. The religious leaders never let Jesus alone always trying to trip him up and looking for more ways to accuse him of blasphemy etc. They too had their exorcists and as Torah preservers they were keen to see change in people’s lives. They have accused Jesus of serving Satan by driving out demons. In the last parable that Jesus uses to speak judgment on them we see the importance that it isn’t what comes out of a person that is as important as what enters.
‘When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.’(Matthew 12 v 43-45)
- Make sure it is Jesus who owns the house.
The ESV and the literal translation of v44 is “I will return to my house”. The demon has been exorcised and has left but he hasn’t given up his rights to the house, he owns it, this life is his. We only rent this life we don’t own a thing. Jesus must be the owner.
- What looks good may only look good.
When the demon returned to the house it looked to everyone else, swept clean and put in order. It was literally empty. Compared to having the demon previously being unoccupied looks favourable. But it isn’t. Empty could be the perfect storm. We need a life filled with God not a good life.
- It will get worse if there is no wholesale change.
The demon finds re-entry easy but knows that this time he needs to strengthen his position so goes looking for 7 friends. Then there are 8 demons in the house and will be more resistant the next time. When the Spirit of God fills the house then there is never a re-entry. The next lot of squatters may come in larger number unless this house has a new owner.