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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 1, 2009

Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany         
February 1, 2009                                   

                                                                                      + Jesu Juva +

St. Mark 1:21-28

Another epiphany today.  Another Sunday that Christmas Gift Jesus is unwrapped before your very eyes.  Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.  More of who this Jesus is and what He’s all about leaks out a little bit more today.

And He’s simply amazing.  Everyone’s at synagogue.  Church. 

Why do you go to church? 

Today’s text gives you the Jesus answer. 

Go to church and Someone’s already there.  His name is Jesus.  And He’s busy giving out gifts.  Divine Service.  His being there.  His speaking.  His doing.  His giving.  “I am among you as one who serves,” (Luke 22).   

And today the divine service comes as teaching.  Teaching the text says.  Jesus is teaching as one who has authority. 

Authority.  Authorized.  That’s Jesus.  He’s the all authority in heaven and on earth preacher, teacher Jesus.  To proclaim like He did last Sunday:  “The time has come!  The reign of God on the earth is here in Me!  Repent and believe in the gospel I preach!” 

The rabbis could never say such a thing.  Only Jesus.  For He’s God in the flesh.  To do the salvation job for the entire world and for you.  He is God reigning on the earth!  He is the King and the Kingdom – the whole enchilada of salvation!  No other Savior than Him.  And the congregation is amazed at such teaching.

What a teacher!  And with the authority His Father has given Him!  With Jesus there at Congregation Capernaum, everything should be hunky dory.  Smooth sailing.  No problems.  No anxieties.  No difficulties.

Oh really?  Not so fast.  There is one who opposes Jesus in their midst.  Causes a ruckus.  Screams at the top of his lungs.  Can’t stand preacher, teacher Jesus!  “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are!  You are the Holy One of God!” 

The man’s possessed by the devil. “What do you want with us?”  Full of unclean spirits he is and one of them is the spokesman for them all.

Then more epiphany!  More revelation!  We learn who this amazing Jesus is and what He has come to do!  But we don’t hear it from any of the disciples He called last Sunday, you know, Simon, Andrew, James or John.  We don’t hear it from his mother Mary.  Rather, we hear it FROM THE DEMONS!  “Have you come to destroy us?  I know how you are.  You’re the Holy One of God!”

Good thing you came to church today.  Now you know.  The secret’s out! 

Jesus is the Holy One of God.  He is Satan’s powerful adversary.  Satan’s enemy.  The most holy God in the flesh and blood of Jesus Himself.  Come to do battle.  The ultimate battle.  On Satan’s turf.  The wilderness of this world.  To fulfill the ancient Genesis promise:  crush serpent Satan’s devilishly pointy-head!

“Have you come to destroy us?” 
Yes, indeed.  And that, of course, will take place at Calvary.  As amazing Jesus hangs on that tree.  Yes, that tree of the cross!  Where Jesus gives His life into death for all sin, the Have You Come To Destroy Us question is answered.  The serpent brought death and damnation to the world by the tree in the garden.  But soon Jesus will destroy the serpent by His death on the tree of the cross and bring life and salvation to all who believe in Him.

“Holy One of God Jesus:  Have you come to destroy us?” 
Absolutely!  That’s Good Friday.

But for now:  “Be muzzled!  Shut up!  Say no more!  Demons come out of this man!”  Jesus does what He says.  His words do what they say.  “The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a loud shriek.”

An exorcism.  Right there in church.  “The people were all so utterly amazed.  ‘What is this?  A new teaching and with authority!  He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.’” 

What is this?  Like you need to ask.  You know.  The secret’s out.  The report about this amazing Jesus has spread.  Even to Murdock, Nebraska.

But not only the report.  More epiphany.  Jesus still shows up at church.  Yes, church.  The place of His Word and Sacraments.  There Jesus promises to be with you and for you.  When you hear His word you’re hearing Him.  He’s still the teacher and preacher as you hear His Word. 

Today He gathered you in His Name.  “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” the service began.  He’s there with His Name.  His show.  His service. 

The Triune Name put on you at the Invocation and then with the Absolution.  That’s the divine Name given to you in your Baptism.  Where at the font Jesus personally put Satan to flight with His mighty Word of forgiveness in the water. 

You too have been exorcised!  The reign of Jesus has come into your life.  You do not belong to Satan.  He’s been given the boot!  And Holy One of God Jesus has given you His Spirit.  And of that Spirit you drink today in the Supper with Christ’s most holy body and blood.  Holy One of God Jesus holies you with these gifts. 

You have a different Lord:  Jesus.  And He lords His death and resurrection over you.  He says you’re forgiven.  He says you’re clean.  And He says salvation is yours. 

Listen carefully at the altar in a few minutes.  Listen to His words.  As you hear His words you hear Him and His promises.  And He gives you what He promises.

Isn’t that amazing?  Sure is.  And with authority too!  Christ’s!

Aren’t you glad you came to church today?  What joy! 

In the Name of Jesus.    

From → "B" Sermons

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