Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The first thing we can learn from the text for today is the reality of demons. Last Sunday, we read the story of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15: 21-28). She came to Jesus, asking for the help of the Son of David, because her daughter "had a demon". Now, in the text for today, "And He was castingout a demon, which was mute; and it came to pass that when the devil was gone, the mute spoke and the people marveled. "
Our Lord healed many diseases. In several cases, He restored the ability to speak to the mute, also the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind, but those texts do not speak of demons. But, in this case, it does.
In catechism class, when we speak of God as Creator of all things, visible and invisible, the invisible refers to the angels. They are spiritual beings, without bodies of flesh and bones, created before Adam and Eve. Now there are two types of angels: The holy angels who serve the Lord night and day; and Satan and his evil angels. In the beginning, Satan was the prince of all the angels, but he rose in rebellion against God with the third of the angels at his side. A third of innumberable angels and archangels is still quite a lot of angels.
The struggle of a Christian is against three enemies. First, our sinful nature. Because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, we all have a tendency to choose the bad over the good. Another enemy is the world, the multitudes of non-believers who mock and persecute believers. Underlying all these enemies are the devil and his angels. The devil is the adversary of God and humanity, as are his servants. They want to dominate, enslave and finally destroy human beings.
We find in the New Testament examples of people under the control of evil spirits, to the point that the demon directly controls the tongue and the rest of the body. Horror movies are made of this theme. The Scriptures say this kind of possession by demons is possible.
However, although not everyone is under the direct control of the devil, all who have not received the faith by baptism are slaves of sin. And if they are slaves of sin, they are slaves of the devil, the father of sin, in one way or another.
The Lord has power over the demons, so Jesus cast out the demons of the afflicted. But what happened?
"But some of them said: By Beelzebub, prince of the demons, he casts out devils." The world of nonbelievers includes those religious men who believe in their own righteousness. They rejected the prophets before the coming of Jesus. We read this in the Old Testament reading (Jeremiah 26: 1-15).
Thus said Jehovah to Jeremiah, "Stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the house of the LORD, all the words which I commanded you to speak to them; do not hold back word. Perhaps they will hear, and they will each turn from their evil way; and I will repent of the evil that I intend to do to them for the evil of their works. "
The house of the Lord was the temple of Jerusalem. Therefore, the Lord commanded Jeremiah to call to repentance the religious men in the city of Jerusalem. And how did they answer? Not with repentance.
“And the priests, the prophets, and all the people, heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. And it came to pass that when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that Jehovah had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, You shall surely die. Why have you prophesied in the name of Jehovah, saying, This house will be like Shiloh, and this city will be laid waste until there is no inhabitant? And all the people gathered together against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. "
The same class of religious men who threatened Jeremiah said that Jesus cast out the demons by the power of the devil (Beelzebub is another name for the devil) and eventually killed Jesus. What is the problem? Is not it good to be religious? If your religion consists of faith in your own works, this religion is in vain. Those who reject the Word of God, even the religious, reject their need for a Savior. They rejected John the Baptist, also, before Jesus, because he told them all they needed to repent of their sins.
Those who denounced Jesus did not really have problems with the act of casting out the demons because their children also tried to cast out the demons of the afflicted.Their problem was not the works of Jesus, but His message.
What did Jesus say about those who think of casting out demons by their own righteousness, or fixing their lives by their own strength?
"When the unclean spirit comes out of man, it goes through dry places, seeking rest, and not finding it, says: I will return to my house from which I came, and coming, finds it swept and fixed. Then it goes, and it brings seven other spirits worse than him; and having entered, they live there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
Only Jesus Christ has the power to overcome the devil and sin forever. “The Lord said to them: When the strong armed man keeps his palace, he is at peace with what he has But when someone stronger comes and overcomes him, he takes away all his weapons that he trusted and distributes his spoils. " The armed strong man is the devil and we are what he possesses, but Jesus defeated him on the cross, also the sin, the world and death.
Because of Adam and Eve, and our sinful nature, we suffer physical death, but for the sake of Jesus Christ we have the forgiveness of our sins and the promise of eternal life in heaven The best exorcism is baptism, when by the word of Jesus, the pastor casts out of our lives the power of the devil, sin, the world and death, but, look, "he is at peace with what he h as." They are in the hands of the devil, so he does not bother, their destiny is eternal death and the devil is happy with this.
We believers freed from sin and the devil by Jesus Christ, many times we have problems that non-believers do not have. The Devil has no direct power over us, but he has his agents, that is, the world, and he can use our sinful nature to deceive us into damnation.
But, in Jesus Christ, we have confidence, hope, and finally, victory. The struggle is worthwhile because we have peace inside that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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