Prepare to Listen. Be still and ask: Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. (Ps 119:35)
Prayerfully Read Luke 11:24-28
24‘When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting-place, but not finding any, it says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” 25When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.’ 27While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!’ 28But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’
The author of a commentary I read demeaned the woman’s burst of praise as a typical female sentimental comment, lacking substance. But that criticism fails to recognize that Luke, throughout his Gospel, is affirming of women, showing them in a positive light. This unnamed woman saw beyond the surface of Jesus’ act to the wisdom in his teaching and she couldn’t help but burst into praise in the way she knew how. I think she saw far more than others in the crowd that day and far more than the author I read.
It’s all very well to have a demon (think evil) cast out but, Craddock writes, “Unless the removal of the evil is followed by filling the life with good, even more evil will return and the last condition is worse than the first. An empty life, like an empty house, invites intruders.” Jesus’ wisdom amazed the woman. But I wonder how many of us get it today. Are we thrilled when evil has been removed but then fail to work to ensure good fills its place? How do we work to fill the space with good? Perhaps Jesus’ response to the woman gives us a hint. Jesus never worked in order to get praise or heal as many as possible. His goal was to bring in God’s kingdom. Therefore, what he desired most was obedience not applause. We fill the space that once held evil by living in obedience to God’s Word as Jesus proclaimed it.
How can you practice obedience today and thus fill the space where you live with good?
Respond to Jesus
Thank you, Lord, for helping us all see that what matters most to you, is not our praise but our obedience to your Word. Help me live obediently today. Amen.
Live obediently. Hear and obey Jesus.
 Craddock, Fred B. Luke. Louisville, KY. 1990, p. 157.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.