the Finger of God



… if it is through the finger of God that I cast out demons, know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you (Luke 11:20)


The parallel in Matthew 12:28 has “… if it is through the Spirit of God that I cast out…”. The combination of Luke 11:20 and Matthew 12:28 gave rise to the identification of the Holy Spirit with the finger of God.

As Jesus nears Jerusalem, resistance to him becomes more pointed. He is even accused of working with the Devil. He therefore dismantles the accusation with a simple argument: if he is working with the Devil, and he casts out devils, then the house of Satan is divided and therefore won’t last. But if, on the contrary, he is exorcising with the finger of God, then the reign of God has broken out and is making itself felt in human history. Rather than thinking of him as being in cahoots with the Devil, it is easier to think of him as the Stronger One who binds up the owner of the house and is now at liberty to take all he wants and distribute at will.

Jesus had told his disciples that he saw Satan falling as they advanced, and before that, he had defeated the Enemy in the desert. The in-breaking of the kingdom of God has begun in Him such that wherever he goes, the reign of Satan recedes. To his detractors, he says, “those who do not gather with me, scatter” — referring to them as wolves that scatter the flock.


Wherever there is a sign of the kingdom of God, even if it is through the work of another, should be a cause for rejoicing. My attitude should be like that of Paul who rejoices that the gospel is being accepted even if it is not through him. Envy and jealousy should not characterize those who work in the ministry. It is even worse when people lie about another just to destroy his credibility and his work.


Lord, drive away all rivalry and division in your Church. Give us peace that the work you have entrusted to us may prosper. Send us your Holy Spirit that united we may gather in your flock.


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