Truth is Truth
31 January Anno Domini 2010
By Rev. S.D. Spencer - Pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church
31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. 36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. 38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. 42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. 43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. 44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!
Many years ago in the Wild, Wild West sometimes an ornately painted wagon would roll into town. Such a painted wagon meant something exciting was about to happen. And quite often it would be the show of the medicine man. The west was full of these hucksters. Their claim was that their medicine would cure anything from abnormal breathing to warts. It you had it, it would cure it. The medicine man would make quite a pitch with his patter. “Come one, come all and see what the wonderful Dr. Watson’s Wonder Cure can do for you. Do you have fallen arches, we can help. Do you suffer from thrombosis, neurosis, psychosis, we have the cure. Yes just one tiny tablespoon 3x a day and you’ll sleep better, breath better, think better and be better than ever before. All this and mere for a paltry 2 bits. Isn’t your health worth it? Do you love that child, that husband, that wife, that ailing mother or father? Just 2 bits to bring renewed vim and vigor to the life of the one you love. Step and get your bottle of Dr. Walton’s Wonder Cure today and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it! Today’s special just 2 bits for 1 bottle or 5 bottles for a buck, first come first served.”
Always hidden in the crowd were a couple ringers ready to give testimony to how Dr. Watson’s Wonder Cure had cured them. “My leg was completely game; I couldn’t walk but now look. It’s completely cured, thank you Dr. Watson, thank you! Or, I was completely bald and started taking Dr. Watson’s Wonder Cure and look at my full bushy head of hair. But this ain’t nothing, you ought to see my sister’s head of hair”.
Of course the people were hired by the huckster. They weren’t reliable or proper witnesses to the validity of the product or of the medicine man. That brings us to our text. The question to be asked is what qualifies a person to be a proper witness. Webster’s Dictionary says it is a person who can give verification of a fact or event. Or one that gives evidence; specifically: one who testifies in a cause or case before a judicial tribunal without prejudice or material gain. In other words, those guys hired to promote Dr. Watson’s medicine don’t qualify as proper witnesses because they received material gain by promoting the product.
In out text today we read: 31[Jesus] went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32and they were astonished at his teaching, for His word possessed authority. 33And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34“AH! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
We are still in the season of Epiphany. And our text points to who Jesus is!
That sentence "You are the Holy One of God" occurs only twice in the New Testament, through the mouth of Peter in John 6:69 and again here through the voice of a demon, the mortal enemy of Jesus. Truth is Truth! This is a qualified witness to the fact. Although the words are the same as Peter’s witness there’s a great difference. James 2:19 reminds us of that. It says “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder”. "You believe that there is a God good, wonderful. But the belief of the demons and many in the purpose of Jesus coming is quite different that what yours should be. That's what this sermon is all about.
II. THE DEMONS BELIEVE THAT JESUS HAS COME AS A DESTROYER
The character of these demons in verse 33 tells us that this spirit was an unclean spirit. From the description in the text we know that this indicates a perverse and irredeemable character. In Jesus' presence the demon shrieked. He threw the man into convulsions and onto the ground. He wanted to harm and destroy the man and would have if Jesus had not prohibited him from doing so. In John 8:44 Jesus tells us that the devil is a murderer, that there is no truth in him and that he is the father of all lies. I Peter 5:8 - tells us that the devil is our adversary and that like a lion, prowls around seeking someone to devour. Remember what the devil did to Job. Remember what the devil did to Judas when he entered Judas' heart.
James. 2:19 reminds us that the demons believe that there is a God but it only causes them to tremble. The belief of these demons and the devil is that God is only a destroyer. The demon said: "Have you have come to destroy us" The word "us" can be taken in two ways. It could mean "us demons" or it could mean "us people." The victim was possessed by an unclean spirit. He identified both with the people and with the demons. If the demon meant "us demons" he was thinking only of the judgment day. If he meant "us people" he was thinking of Jesus only as a destroyer. In either case the thought of Jesus as Savior was totally foreign to his thinking. It’s true, of course, that Jesus will destroy the unbeliever but His purpose in coming was not to destroy but to save.
III. DISCIPLES BELIEVE THAT JESUS CAME AS THE SAVIOR
In St. John’s Gospel chapter 6, is the account of the feeding of the 5000 and what happened the next day. Many of the 5000 returned the next day to get more bread. In fact they wanted to make Jesus their "bread-king". But Jesus used the occasion to tell them why He had come to earth. He pleaded with these people to accept Him as their Savior. 4 times He promised to raise them up on the last day, but they didn’t want Him. All except the twelve disciples left Him. And so Jesus asked them: "Do you also want to go away as well?" And Peter answered: "Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the Words of eternal life. And therefore we have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Then John mentions that one of the twelve, Judas, was a devil. Even then already, a year before Jesus' death, Satan was working in Judas' heart.
What about the belief of these disciples. The devils believed and trembled. Jesus' disciples believed and were comforted. When Jesus turned the water into wine, His disciples believed in Him (John. 2:11). When He raised Lazarus from the dead the disciples and many of the Jews believed in Him. But these same miracles of Jesus caused His enemies and the demons to turn against Him. The record of the many miracles of Jesus causes us to believe that He is the Son of God and that He came to seek and save the lost. The report about Jesus spread in the country around where Jesus was working and preaching. We too should spread the report about Jesus in our country.
In our Old Testament text Jeremiah shares these thoughts: “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD."
Truth is truth. God knows you and loves you. He knows your faults, He knows your sin. Before you were conceived in your mothers womb (T) knew you! That why He sent the Holy One of God, Jesus the Christ. In Luke 4:42 Jesus says: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” Jesus was sent to share the Good News. The Good News of His love! A love so great, that it would lead Him from the city of Capernaum some 120 miles south to the wooden cross of Calvary. There on a cross (T) He would be your substitute, there on the cross (T) He would pay the price for your sin, there on the cross (T) He would die the death that you deserved so that you wouldn’t have too. He lived a sinless life so you might have eternal life. You are credited with His life, with His love. That’s the Good News of His love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abide faith, hope and love, but of these three; the greatest of these is love.”
No greater witness to love of God is this, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). Because of what Jesus has done, the price that He (T) has paid, you can know beyond any doubt that all your sins are forgiven for Jesus sake. That is the truth and truth is the truth in Jesus name. Amen and amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, AMEN.