February 1, 2021
Pastor John Hering
On the next Sabbath day, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at his teaching, because he was teaching them as one who has authority and not as the experts in the law. 23 Just then there was a man with an unclean spirit in their synagogue. It cried out, 24 “What do we have to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 Jesus rebuked the spirit, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
26 The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and after crying out with a loud voice, it came out of him. 27 Everyone was so amazed that they began to discuss this with each other. They said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” 28 News about him spread quickly through all the region of Galilee.
The devil is out to get you! For many here today this isn’t exactly breaking news! You can tell stories of how the devil has been after you to say and do things that are against God’s holy will. Others here can even recite 1 Peter 5:8 “Have sound judgment. Be alert. Your adversary, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” So, if Jesus died on the cross to crush Satan’s head, how is it that he still chases after us? Think of it like this. When I was in Youth Group we would go camping at Roman Nose State Park. A few of us would go early to hunt down the rattle snakes. We used sticks to pin them down and then cut off their heads. Would you go and touch that snake’s mouth? Don’t play with it for it might hurt you. Likewise those who play with Satan who has been defeated by Jesus. He will still try to deceive you. That’s a fact that is going to continue until Jesus returns on the Last Day! Satan isn’t going to give up and he will work his hardest to get you. He will use every trick trying to tempt you to think God doesn’t love you, that you’re not that bad a person and you don’t really need a Savior. So, when Jesus came to crush Satan, Satan worked overtime to counter Jesus’ efforts. One of the more popular attacks of Satan in Jesus’ day was devil possession. An Evil spirit or spirits would take up residence inside a person and take over their thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. But, what about today? While cases of devil possession have been rare in our lifetime, I wonder how long that will last. Over history the cases of devil possession increases where the honor and respect of God’s Word decreases. If you don’t think Satan is active right now, then take heed, for complacency is one of the devil’s favorite tools. Let’s us stay on the side of Jesus rather than fall into the side of Satan. Watch what happens in today’s lesson and
Trust the One With The Truth
When Actions Match Words
Attend a gathering a people who were active around God’s Word in Jesus’ day and you would find people gathered around Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the law. Their delivery style was more hit and miss, speaking on whatever topics came to mind. They also loved to expound on God’s rules, even making a couple of hundred of their own, to lower the boom on people who were trying to get right with God. For instance, no work on the Sabbath meant you couldn’t walk any further than the distance to your local synagogue. Or this one: If you see a bug crawling across the table at lunch, you can sweep it to the floor, but you can’t squish it—because that’s too much work. You get the picture. When you count out your figs, every 10th fig goes to God, every 10th sesame seed, every 10th bagel (JK) belongs to the Lord. But, here’s the thing. Their actions didn’t match their words. They talked about obeying God’s laws, but they didn’t want to keep the basic and simple law God had given about loving God and loving their neighbor. Jesus was different!
“On the next Sabbath day, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at his teaching, because he was teaching them as one who has authority and not as the experts in the law.” When Jesus spoke it was different. We can easily imagine Jesus going to the synagogue with a smile on his face. He proclaimed God’s truth that touched people’s hearts. Jesus loved going to the synagogue to teach. It wasn’t rambling, for instance last week Jesus’ sermon was only 17 words long. He got right to the point using words that cut right into the hearts of people. Then he matched his actions to his words as he truly helped God’s people. The people that heard him were amazed because he wasn’t rambling about how many seeds to count, but about that which counted for eternity! They heard about their sin and they learned about Jesus—their Savior. They Trusted Jesus With The Truth and witnessed his Actions Matching his Works.
We see this often in Jesus’ work. Jesus’ works cracked the hard shells of greedy tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus. Jesus’ work hooked the hearts of fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James and John. Jesus’ work turned a sinful women of the street into a sincere worshiper of the Savior and gladly washed his feet with her tears because Jesus Spoke the Truth and his Actions Match his Words. Was there any doubt of this in Mark 1? “23 Just then there was a man with an unclean spirit in their synagogue. It cried out, 24 “What do we have to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 Jesus rebuked the spirit, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Do you understand what is happening here? Satan is trying to discredit Jesus’ words by giving him credit. In other words, who would ever want a liar to introduce you to others as a person of truth? And since the devil can never tell the truth, he will even use the truth to caste doubt into the minds of people by calling it the truth. Think of it like reverse phycology—If a liar says it’s the truth, then the truth must be a lie. However, Jesus Actions Matched his Words. Jesus told Satan, the liar, to be quiet and ordered him to come out of the man. This was Jesus’ love in action. Jesus’ actions match his Words about being our Savior.
But, Satan wasn’t finished. Today he is still working on the likes of you and me. He takes the holy will of God and whispers into our ears things like this: “What? The church is engaged in another stewardship appeal? That’s not your problem. Let someone else take care of that!” Or “What? Another sermon about sharing Jesus with others? Let someone else worry about that!” Or “Of course the Bible is God’s Word, but that passage about keeping the marriage bed pure doesn’t apply to you!” Lies! Lies! All Lies! And that’s why Jesus gave us this wonderful gift called baptism. Jesus’ truth is linked with water to tear us out of the devil’s camp and settle us in the mansions of heaven. That’s what the Lord’s Supper is for us next week—Jesus own body and blood together with the bread and wine is given to you as an assurance of his person, forgiving love for you. Yes, trust the One with the Truth because his Actions match his Words. And
When Words Match Actions.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and still many today, like to put on a show of piety. It sounds like this: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people, robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11). “Lord, today I’m going to take some extra time to pray and worship you, so you better listen to me, or I won’t favor you tomorrow with the privilege of listening to me!” Yykes! They talk a big game, but their Word didn’t match the Actions. They looked down their noses at everyone else, they turned their backs on the spiritual needs of people, they didn’t call sinners to repentance and trust in God’s forgiveness, and they avoided anyone who wasn’t a Jew like they avoided the lepers. They were pathetic indeed! Their Words did Match their Actions—and their actions were terrible. But, Jesus was different.
Jesus’ Words matched his Actions of mercy, love, forgiveness and healing. “26 The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and after crying out with a loud voice, it came out of him. 27 Everyone was so amazed that they began to discuss this with each other. They said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” What Jesus says, Jesus does. Jesus said he didn’t come to save the righteous, but the unhealthy. We don’t hear Jesus boasting about his own goodness even though he was the best there is. Jesus, true God with power over Satan, told him to come out of the man. And like most people who struggle with sin and Satan, fight to hold on to their sin. Jesus came to “throw away” your sin, but if you insist on holding on to it there’s going to be a battle! However, Jesus wins the battle because Jesus’ Actions match his Words. He doesn’t look down his nose at people, but he sat down with sinners at meals, healed them, loved them and lifted them up physically, spiritually and eternally! Jesus did not turn his back on people caught in sin, but turned his face toward them. He didn’t reject touching the lepers, but touched and healed them. Jesus did not avoid the Gentiles, but went out of his way to care for the spiritual needs of the Samaritan Woman at the well, the Roman soldier with a sick daughter, a Syrian woman with a devil possessed daughter, and Jairus with a dead daughter raised by Jesus! Jesus’ Words matched his Actions. Jesus said he was the Savior, and his actions proved he was indeed! Jesus practiced what he preached and what he preached and did had a powerful impact.
“27 Everyone was so amazed that they began to discuss this with each other. They said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey him! 28 News about him spread quickly through all the region of Galilee.” You know how quickly you lose credibility when your words don’t match your actions, for as the saying goes, “Your actions speak louder than words.” You know what I’m talking about! A guy who carelessly throws God’s name into every other sentence, a husband to treats his wife like cheap merchandise, will likely hear his little boy swearing and cursing and probably treating his sister like dirt. But, Jesus’ Words Matched his Actions. He spoke with all authority as the Son of God to cast a demon out of a person, and he spoke with all authority to proclaim forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus. This is our confidence, especially when we realize that Satan is still working so hard to distract us away from the truth of God’s Word. Dear Christian friends, Jesus is still the One with The Truth. His Actions Match his Words. Just ask Satan who is walking around with a crushed head by Jesus. And Jesus’ Words Match his Actions, just ask his Father. For through faith in Jesus, we receive forgiveness of sin, eternal life and deliverance from the devil. That’s the truth that will always protect you from Satan. Amen.