Luke 11:19

ESV And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
NIV Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.
NASB Yet if by Beelzebul I cast out the demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges.
CSB And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges.
NLT And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.
KJV And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

What does Luke 11:19 mean?

Scribes from Jerusalem watched Jesus cast a demon out of a man and decided He did so under Satan's authority. Jesus has already explained how this is counter to Satan's intent and, therefore, illogical (Luke 11:14–18). Now He gets personal.

Demonic activity seems to have been more common in Jesus' era. We know of one man who cast out demons in Jesus' name (Luke 9:49). We also know that sons of a Jewish priest tried to cast out demons under the name of "the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (Acts 19:13). It didn't go well; the demonized man attacked them, ripped their clothes off, and sent them running out of the house (Acts 19:14–16). We also know that Jewish "healers" charged a lot of money for useless spells and treatments (Luke 8:43). What we don't know is whether all these exorcists truly did what they claimed.

To Jesus, right now, the legitimacy of Jewish exorcists is not the point. It's that the sons of at least some of the religious leaders in the crowd claim to cast out demons by the power of God. If these fathers affirm their sons' abilities, then they affirm that the power of God casts out demons. And if it's the power of God that casts out demons, how can they claim that Jesus uses the authority of Satan?

This echoes the extended point of Luke chapters 9—11. The arrival of the power of God corresponds with the kingdom of God, and Jesus' ministry is its inauguration (Luke 11:20). So, if Jesus heals and casts out demons by the "finger of God," why aren't these scribes listening to Jesus' teachings?

Commentors vary regarding who is said to be judging in this verse. Jesus may be saying that His disciples, who accept the truth about Him, will judge the Jewish religious leaders. Conversely, He may be saying that the assertion of the sons' ability to cast out demons stands as evidence that the leaders are wrong. Either way, this separation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders takes a step in fulfilling Simeon's prophecy in Luke 2:34–35 that "this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed…so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

"Beelzebul" was a Philistine deity, "lord of the flies." The lawyers used the term to refer to Satan.
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