March 15, 2009 - Oculi (The Third Sunday in Lent)

Today's Reading: Luke 11:14-28

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 27:30-45; 28:10-22; St. Mark 9:1-13

But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (St. Luke 10:20)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. The Lord isn’t in cahoots with Satan or Beelzebub. A kingdom which is divided against itself cannot stand. If Jesus cast out demons with Satan’s help, Satan’s kingdom would be divided, too. That’s just dumb!

But, what if...what if God’s hand was working through what Jesus was doing. What if the finger of God was doing the miracles He is doing? If that’s the truth, then the kingdom of God truly has come!

What if God really was coming into our world and our lives. What if He was like a guy breaking into someone’s house that was guarded by a strong man. First, He ties up the strong man who is guarding the stuff. Then, after He has overcome the strong man, the spoils are His!

Jesus breaks into our world and does just that! He overcomes the one who thinks he owns us--Satan. He ties Him up and defeats Him and takes us back, redeeming us from our sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.

The devil is tied up, defeated, not by Jesus being stronger than the devil. He is, but that’s not what defeats the devil. The devil is done in by the Son of God dying for your sake. Jesus suffers and dies for the sin of the whole world. That’s the victory that overcomes the devil.

Give up living life with your eyes closed to the truth: All by yourself you are a filthy rotten sinner under the control and watch of the devil. Jesus has come and has saved you by dying for you. There’s nothing inside of you worth saving--nothing in and of yourself worth rescuing. He does what He does because of His grace. And when He rescues you, when He saves you, the finger of God has done it!

God’s hand lifted the water that drained down your head at the Baptismal font--washing your sins away. His voice absolves you and puts salvation into your ears through the Word. His fingers put the Body and Blood of Christ into your mouth. It’s your pastor doing these things, but God is working through Him!

Watch what you see in church for today is “Eyes” Sunday, Oculi Sunday. Eyes off what you think you see and feel. Eyes off what you think about yourself, too. Instead, fix them on Jesus and what He is doing. He saves you by binding up the strong man, the devil. He saves you by delivering His salvation to you through His means--His Word, His Baptism, and His Supper.

And when God does that--when He breaks into your world and saves you--then you know the kingdom of God has come upon you. It has! For Jesus has come to you! In the name of Jesus. Amen.