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What A Preacher! (Mark 1:21-28) Epiphany 4B

January 29, 2012

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St. Mark 1:21-28


God’s best-kept secret is out!  The most profound mystery in the entire universe is revealed!  Epiphanied!  Uncovered!  Unwrapped!  If you want to know what’s on God’s mind, you didn’t have to go to Wiki-leaks to find out!  Or take a rocket ship up into space!    What’s leaking out all over the place? 


Well, you better hold on to your hats!  Buckle your seat belts!  Because the most decisive period in the universe has come!  The most important moment in the history of the world foretold by all the Old Testament prophets is now fulfilled!  And the Great Epiphany is this:  God Himself reigns on the earth!  God has come down from heaven and has established His kingdom in the here and now!  His administration of peace!  His dominion of forgiveness! His giving of salvation!


How does all this happen?


A preacher shows up! 


“Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!  You’ve got to be kidding Reverend!  A preacher?  We’ve had it up to here with preachers!  They’re about as reliable as …  no offense Reverend Kuhlman!  And now you’re telling us that we have to put up with another preacher?”


Yes.  That’s right!  Another preacher!  You’d better listen to Him! 


Who is he?  Well, He’s Jesus!  The Virgin’s Son!  God’s own Son!  Only begotten Son!  God of God!  Light of light!  Very God of very God!  God in the flesh Jesus!  Word made flesh Jesus!  Very Word of God that dwells in our midst!  Preacher Jesus!


When you see Jesus you see God! When you hear Jesus you hear God!  Everything He teaches and preaches is God’s very own Word! 


And so Jesus isn’t like most preachers you hear!  Most preachers say:  “I’d like to share some thoughts with you today.  Give you something to think about.”  Or they drone on and on giving one illustration or tearjerker story after another. 


Jesus, however, declares categorically:  “Listen to me!  Truly, truly I say unto you!  This is the Word of the Lord!  The time has come!  It is fulfilled!  Repent and believe the good news!” 


Jesus preaches with “authority!”  And what authority He has!  The very authority of God Himself!  Because He is God — reigning and moving on the earth!  God in the flesh! 


So He preaches authoritatively:  Time to die to your sin folks!  This is it!  I warn you!  Don’t hold any of your sin outside My forgiveness!  You can’t deal with it!  You can’t handle it!  You think you can!  But that’s all a lie!  Don’t insist on dealing with your sin apart from Me – the Preacher! 


So confess it!  Tell the truth!  Get it off your chest!  Let me have it!  All of it!  That’s what I’m here for!  I’m here to forgive you!  I’m here to wrap you up in My bloody wounds!  I’m here to do the salvation job!  The Good Friday task!  For you!” 


“Your salvation is at stake here folks!  Heaven depends on Me taking all your sin, in fact, becoming sin, on the cross!  Because in the end either your sin will be on Me or on you!  If you insist on carrying them, then you will.  And you’ll die and be damned in them!  But I’m here to tell you – truly, truly I say unto you —  I’m here for you.  I’m here to give you My innocence in exchange for all your sin!”      


That’s when the synagogue / church service gets pretty dicey!  All hell breaks loose in the middle of the sermon! Satan raises his ugly head when that kind of categorical preaching goes on!  “Just then a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out:  ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’”   


Whoa!  The evil spirit gives a shout out!  Leaks out the truth about this Preacher named Jesus!  He is the Holy One of God!  And therefore the demon’s adversary!  Capable of unleashing the almighty power of God against himself and his red dragon master Satan! 


“Shut up!  Be muzzled you evil demon! You’re not allowed to preach here!  You’re not in charge!  I am!  So get out!”


And Preacher Jesus’ word does what it says:  an exorcism!  “The evil spirit shook the poor possessed church member violently and came out of him with a shriek.”   


What a church service!  Divine service!  The Lord’s service! Preaching, teaching, and an exorcism!  God’s roaming the earth! All heaven breaks loose!  His Word proclaimed, demons defeated, and people redeemed and restored!  Through the Preacher!  The Holy One of God — Jesus Himself!  Absolutely stunning!  Amazing!


He’s done it for you too!  You too are forgiven!  All your sin is His!  All His perfection is yours!  At your Baptism He put His most holy Name on you!  At your Baptism He told Satan to shut up – to be muzzled – and to come out of you!  You now belong to Jesus!  He claimed you as His own! 


How can all this be?  Is it really true?  Yes, it is!  Because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth!  Divine authority!  The only authority that holds!  That lasts!  The authority of His dying for you!  His rising for you!  And His authoritative words for you today:  “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” 


Now that’s a Preacher!  Thank God for this Preacher!  His words give what they say!  His crucified, risen and ascended Body and Blood!  For you!  And with Jesus’ words Satan is forevermore muzzled!  The red dragon is not allowed to speak!  Jesus does!  With His words a miracle!  A miracle of all miracles by the Lord Himself.  Forgiveness!  Life!  Salvation!  Through His authoritative and categorical promise: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” 


In the Name of Jesus.

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