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

Friday, June 18, 2021

[Jesus continued his response to the Jewish leaders who asked for a sign:] "When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, 'I will return to the person I came from.' So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation."
— Matthew 12:43-45 NLT

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 replaced compassion with 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, thereby allowing 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 fill 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, today, dear Father, please cleanse me and fill me with your Holy Spirit so that my heart and my house are filled with your grace and holiness. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

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


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Illustration of Matthew 12:43-45 NLT —  And so that person is worse off than before.

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 and is available in book form.

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.