What Jesus Did! 'Something Worse' — Matthew 12:43-45

Sunday, June 18, 2017

"When an evil spirit {from the devil} comes out of a person, that spirit travels through dry places looking for a place to rest. But that spirit finds no place to rest. So the spirit says, 'I will go back to the home (person) I left.' When the spirit comes back to that person, the spirit finds that home (person) still empty. That home is swept clean and made neat. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself. Then all the spirits go into that person and live there. And that person has even more trouble than he had before. It is the same way with the evil people that live today."
— Matthew 12:43-45
Illustration of Matthew 12:43-45 — "When an evil spirit {from the devil} comes out of a person, that spirit travels through dry places looking for a place to rest."

Key Thought

Jesus' opponents were well known for being scrupulously righteous. But in the process of building their reputation, they lost the heart of what God wanted. They traded truth for legalism which helped them feel superior to others and which allowed them, on occasion, to displace God's will with their own legalistic interpretations of the law. They forced out what was noticeably evil, but replaced it with an evil of their own making that allowed them to reject God's Messiah. The pursuit of do's and don'ts, the passion to rid ourselves of sin, while a worthwhile pursuit, is not our ultimate goal. Merely ridding ourselves of unrighteousness only makes us more vulnerable to sinful forces invading our lives if we do not replace that void with Jesus' indwelling presence through the Spirit.

Today's Prayer

O Father, the Lord God Almighty, I desire to be your holy servant. Please rid me of evil and teach me to live in your righteous ways. However, dear Father, please protect me from self-righteousness and legalism and correct me if I fall into them. Most of all, dear Father, cleanse me and fill me with your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law answered Jesus. They said, "Teacher, we want to see you do a miracle as a sign (proof)." Jesus answered, "Evil and sinful people are the ones that want to see a miracle for a sign (proof). But no miracle will be given as a sign to those people. The only sign will be the miracle that happened to the prophet Jonah. Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights. On the judgment day, you people that live now will be compared with the people from Nineveh, and they will be witnesses to show that you are wrong (guilty). Why? Because when Jonah preached to those people, they changed their hearts and lives. And you are listening to someone greater than Jonah, {but you refuse to change}! On the judgment day, you people that live now will also be compared with the Queen of the South, and she will be a witness to show that you are wrong (guilty). Why? Because she traveled from far, far away to listen to Solomon's wise teaching. And I tell you that someone greater than Solomon is right here, {but you won't listen to me}! "When an evil spirit {from the devil} comes out of a person, that spirit travels through dry places looking for a place to rest. But that spirit finds no place to rest. So the spirit says, 'I will go back to the home (person) I left.' When the spirit comes back to that person, the spirit finds that home (person) still empty. That home is swept clean and made neat. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself. Then all the spirits go into that person and live there. And that person has even more trouble than he had before. It is the same way with the evil people that live today." While Jesus was talking to the people his mother and brothers stood outside. They wanted to talk to Jesus. A person told Jesus, "Your mother and brothers are waiting for you outside. They wantto talk to you." Jesus answered, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" Then Jesus pointed to his followers and said, "See! These people are my mother and my brothers. My true brother and sister and mother is any person that does the things my Father in heaven wants."

Matthew 12:38-50

Related Scripture Readings

I mean that you are saved by grace. And you got that grace by believing. You did not save yourselves. It was a gift from God. No! You are not saved by the things you have done. So no person can boast {that he saved himself}. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would do good things. God had already planned those good things for us. God had planned for us to live our lives doing those good things.

Ephesians 2:8-10

So, my brothers and sisters, we must not be ruled by our sinful selves. We must not live the way our sinful selves want. If you use your lives to do the wrong things your sinful selves want, then you will die spiritually. But if you use the Spirit's help to stop doing the wrong things you do with your body, then you will have {true} life. The true children of God are those people that let God's Spirit lead them.

Romans 8:12-14

So don't be foolish with your lives. But learn what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine. That will ruin (destroy) you spiritually. But be filled with the Spirit. Communicate to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give him thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:17-20

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.