The Case of the Vacant House

John Maassen

READ : Matthew 12:43-50

Unoccupied houses are an invitation to vandalism. We don’t appreciate them in our neighborhoods. But sometimes undesirable tenants must be evicted and their dwellings must be cleaned.

Christ uses the figure of a house to describe the human heart. Depraved, our hearts become occupied by wicked tenants and are filthy with shameful thoughts, hatred, envy, every kind of disobedience before Him. Christ calls us to repent of these sins and when we do He begins a great house-cleaning operation.

But evicting the tenants and cleaning house is not enough. New occupants must be found. As an empty house falls into disrepair, so does an empty soul. Jesus says, “the unclean spirit . . . goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

When we become Christ’s disciples, we not only emphasize the negative, asking God to cleanse us of our sin. We also “accentuate the positive,” praying that the Holy Spirit with His miraculous transforming power may make Himself at home in our hearts. Empty souls are not only useless; they are vulnerable! Remember “The Case of the Vacant House.”


Dear Father, empty my heart of evil. Fill it with the goodness of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.