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 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 12:43-45 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ephesians 2:8-10
  • Romans 8:12-14
  • Ephesians 5:17-20


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.