“Fear not, Little One”

Posted on 15 Mar 2020, Pastor: Randy Sturzenbecher

Lent 3  Oculi,   March 15th, 2020

 
Luke 11:14-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus and Beelzebul
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Return of an Unclean Spirit
24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.

True Blessedness”
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Jesus stronger than  (insert fear….hear) 

In the Name of +Jesus+ Amen.

We Pray. 

The text for today from St. Luke  But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 

In England during WWII air raid sirens were quite common.   When you heard it you knew exactly what to do.  You went to the shelter for protection and you prayed.   The Gospel reading for today is a warning siren for us.    We are under attack!   The attacks are as real as the bombs dropped on England.  The attacks do result in casualties and sometimes death.  

We are under attack.  Beelzebul,  Satan the father of lies, whatever you want to call him, he is attacking us.  Demon oppression, which is more common, or possession is a reality in our world.  The Spiritual warfare that wages on in our world has no neutral parties.  Either Christ reigns in your life or Satan does.   Remember a demon can only live in an empty house.  Where light is, darkness cannot exist.  Where Christ is demons cannot dwell.  

The demon in the Gospel reading was evicted and kicked out by a word from Jesus.  Where Jesus is…….. darkness, evil and demons can not live.  We are under attack, but the Stronger Man, the Resurrected Man, the First born from the dead, man fights for us. 

We are under attack.  We are under attack from an upside-down inside-out world that calls evil good and good evil.  Killing babies is applauded in the name of personal rights and career choices.  Large families are condemned and accused of squandering resources.

 Knowing and expressing the truth is called hate speech if someone disagrees.  Then we are called to be tolerant and accepting of false gods, false relationships and false doctrine.   If we disagree, we are bigots and hate mongers.  

In the Gospel, Satan pulls a basic play for the evil playbook.   Call good evil.  He accuses!  “The only way Jesus could cast out demons is by the Devils’ power.   Jesus can’t do it on his own.  He is evil calling on the evil one to cast out the demon”!  

Jesus cuts to the heart of the lie right away.  “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. The strong man, Satan protects what is his.  He calls good evil and tries to convince us he is right.   You have heard his lies. 

The 10 commandments are too oppressive or the much simpler argument.   God does not want me to have any fun!. 

He attacks the beauty and sacredness of Worship by saying you Lutherans are way too stuffy and formal.

Don’t forget Beelzebal also calls the evil good.   He lies are so believable when he says just be a good person, that what God wants.   Or, all roads, all religions, all spiritualities lead to heaven. 

The strong man can only protect what is his until the Stronger man breaks in.   At the very presence of Jesus, the stronger man, the demons tremble and say, “What would you do to us Jesus the most High God?”  As scary as the demons appear, they cower and immediately submit to the Stronger Man. 

We are under attack.  Covid-19 is now called a global pandemic.  This is nothing to take lightly.  But this too is the result of a broken sinful virus filled world.  In the midst of the virus spreading there is the threat of another pandemic.  Fear.   Not only does the evil one, the strong man, use his demons and the world to pull us from the peace of Christ, he is a master of using fear.   

With so much information in the world at our fingertips, it is hard to get a straight answer about the virus.  Should we cancel or not.  Should I go out or not.  Is the threat as serious as they say, or not?   All the unanswered questions feed our fears and the chokehold the strong man has on us.

Jesus says this.  21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 

The devil’s armor was stripped away when Jesus was nailed to the cross.  The stronger man suffered ……. willingly so we would be free and at peace.  The Stronger man died so death strong grasp on us would be broken.  The Stronger man descended into the Strong man’s house, kicking butt and taking names.   These people devil, ……. these people are redeemed by Jesus.  Hands off!   The Stronger man broke death grasp and rose on Sunday, the first day of the week just like He promised.  The Stronger man Jesus the Christ of God rose from the dead and said this to the disciples and to us.    “Peace be with you”! 

We are under attack.   The siren is sounding.   Dear child of God Remember the siren did not sound to incite fear.  The siren sounded as a warning.   There is danger, run to safety.  Go to where you are protected.  Not a bunker in the ground.  Run to Jesus your Rock of refuge.  

Listen how Psalm 46 describes the Stronger man. 

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

Dear Baptized Saints.  The strong man, the devil continues to howl and growl at us.  He wants us to let fear control us.  He wants to separate us from all that is good. 

Right now he is trying to convince many through the virus to stay away from God’s gifts.  Do not listen to his lies.   Come to worship regularly.    Read God’s Word daily.  Receive the body and blood of Jesus often.   If not here, call me and I will bring the body and blood of Jesus to you.   He is the Strongest man.  He is our life, our peace our salvation. 

Amen.