Jesus was driving out a demon that could not talk; and when the demon went out, the man began to talk. The crowds were amazed, but some of the people said, “It is Beelzebul, the chief of the demons, who gives him the power to drive them out.”
Others wanted to trap Jesus, so they asked him to perform a miracle to show that God approved of him. But Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to them, “Any country that divides itself into groups which fight each other will not last very long; a family divided against itself falls apart. So if Satan’s kingdom has groups fighting each other, how can it last? You say that I drive out demons because Beelzebul gives me the power to do so. If this is how I drive them out, how do your followers drive them out? Your own followers prove that you are wrong! No, it is rather by means of God’s power that I drive out demons, and this proves that the Kingdom of God has already come to you.
“When a strong man, with all his weapons ready, guards his own house, all his belongings are safe. But when a stronger man attacks him and defeats him, he carries away all the weapons the owner was depending on and divides up what he stole.
“Anyone who is not for me is really against me; anyone who does not help me gather is really scattering.
Jesus gets accused of being in league with Satan after he drives out a demon. His interesting defense is, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Whose house is he talking about? On one hand, he’s talking about the realm of the demons. His defense is that one demon would not drive out another, for those kinds of divisions would weaken the realm of demons. But on another hand, he’s talking about the house of the people. If the people allowed those who sought to trap Jesus to divide them from him, this would mislead and weaken them. And in another way, Jesus is talking about your house. If you let anything divide you from Jesus you, too, will be misled and weakened.
That Jesus brings up division when the topic is demons is no accident. The goal of demons is always scattering; it is to break up communion. Jesus is always the voice of communio, of bring things back together.