12:38-45 Though Christ is always ready to hear and answer holy desires and prayers, yet those who ask amiss, ask and have not. Signs were granted to those who desired them to confirm their faith, as Abraham and Gideon; but denied to those who demanded them to excuse their unbelief. The resurrection of Christ from the dead by his own power, called here the sign of the prophet Jonah, was the great proof of Christ's being the Messiah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale, and then came out again alive, thus Christ would be so long in the grave, and then rise again. The Ninevites would shame the Jews for not repenting; the queen of Sheba, for not believing in Christ. And we have no such cares to hinder us, we come not to Christ upon such uncertainties. This parable represents the case of the Jewish church and nation. It is also applicable to all those who hear the word of God, and are in part reformed, but not truly converted. The unclean spirit leaves for a time, but when he returns, he finds Christ is not there to shut him out; the heart is swept by outward reformation, but garnished by preparation to comply with evil suggestions, and the man becomes a more decided enemy of the truth. Every heart is the residence of unclean spirits, except those which are temples of the Holy Ghost, by faith in Christ.
43-45. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, &c.—On this important parable, in connection with the corresponding one (Mt 12:29) see on Lu 11:21-26.
A charming little incident, given only in Lu 11:27, 28, seems to have its proper place here.
And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company—out of the crowd.
lifted up her voice and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked—With true womanly feeling she envies the mother of such a wonderful Teacher. And a higher and better than she had said as much before her (see on Lu 1:28). How does our Lord, then, treat it? He is far from condemning it. He only holds up as "blessed rather" another class: Lu 11:28:
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it—in other words, the humblest real saint of God. How utterly alien is this sentiment from the teaching of the Church of Rome, which would doubtless excommunicate any one of its members that dared to talk in such a strain!
His Mother and Brethren Seek to Speak with Him and the Answer (Mt 12:46-50).