Swivelling heads, Guttural voices, Projectile vomiting, Rude words, Levitation, Power of Darkness – and all the “things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-special-effects” (along with a scared and plaintive “help me”). I remember that film as being so collectively “you must not see it” – that we all had to see it and forevermore be scared of things that go bump in the night (Jaws did the same thing for things that go “snap in the sea”).
“No one comes to the Father but through me”
This morning we moved away from Love, Law, Rules, Faith, Belief, Religion, Church – all the “stuff” that makes God impenetrable – that relies on Jesus being our bridge over troubled theology (thanks Melissa). And GSHJ took me with Him to Capernaum.
“Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.” Luke 4:31-37
Authority. What a sad reflection that we still respond to “authority” with such amazement. Authority not of this world, this politically correct culture, this anything goes society. Not that “authority”.
This is the authority of one who is connected. Who makes sense. Who sees within and without (and all about). One who connects something to which we all connect. At a very deep level. Inside. A connection not of this world – but so of this world. A bridge over troubled theology.
Forget “Love” for the moment. In Capernaum this “bridge” also disturbs troubled spirits. An unclean demon – IN THE SYNAGOGUE NO LESS! An unclean demon in “church”? How can this be? Only righteous people are allowed into church – those are the rules!
A demon. Not of this world – but so of this world. In church. Quietly minding its own indwelling business. Just like we allow (so often) our God Soft Hands Jesus. Quietly minding His own business, quietly indwelling in us in church, so quietly that no one would ever know.
“Let us alone.”
How much that cry of pain could be the same cry of pain we make. Let us alone. Stop making this so complicated. Stop telling us “Love is the always the answer” – it’s too simple. Too demandingly simple. Too all-embracing demandingly simple. Too much down-to-me all-embracing demandingly simple. It’s too much! Let us alone. Just give me the rules and leave me be.
I hear that cry of pain. I read that cry of pain. I know that cry of pain. We have become so skilled at insulating that “too simple” with excuses, isms, ologies, God clubs and denominational social clubs.
Let us alone.
And Jesus’ response? No drama, no sweat, no fear, no “Hollywood blockbuster” … Jesus “rebuked him”.
And the demon responded in kind. No Swivelling heads, Guttural voices, Projectile vomiting, Rude words, Levitation, Power of Darkness – and all the “things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-special-effects”.
”When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm.
No harm done.
“No one comes to the Father but through me.”
What would Jesus do? What would Jesus have done? What would Jesus have said? What would Jesus say? Where are the words Jesus used that we can use? How can we copy Jesus better and better each day so we can be “like Jesus”?
Isn’t that a weird kind of “Let us alone”?
Isn’t that “us” deciding how “we” will present ourselves to Jesus? So that on “the Day of Judgment” when our name is called, and we stand with fear and dread before God, not knowing the verdict, hoping for “God on a good day” as He passes sentence upon us … hoping we have a good enough alibi to slide into heaven by the skin of our teeth?
Authority. Where is the authority in that?
Jesus was teaching and preaching to “the workers”. The ones who had only rules. The ones who hoped to slide into heaven by the skin of their teeth. The ones who had perfected God to the point where He “cannot be improved upon” – who had evolved a life of law – with every second ruled by a clause and an appropriate sub-section.
“Let us alone.”
How much do we still live that same life? A life where we have perfected a life of law. In which we aspire to be vessels polished on the outside, always abstaining on the inside, convicted (like penal convicts) of our rightness. And always making sure we do not walk ahead, behind, sideways or backwards – that we stick firmly in the middle – that the approval of others is our litmus-test of rightness.
Let us alone please Jesus, we have this covered!
“No one comes to the Father but through me.” This morning He gave me four words:
”I Am the Father.”
And I heard our response: Too simple, Jesus. Want to expand on that? Make it something we can all “get”? Put it in terms we can make our own? Just so we don’t have to keep referring back to You (and God – obviously)?
And He said again:
”I Am The Father.”