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Jesus Can Really Help Us!!

(2)

Sermon shared by Dale Krueger

February 2009
Summary: May we all believe more deeply that Jesus can really help us in all our troubles and problems, and may we put our full trust in him.
Denomination: Lutheran
Audience: Believer adults
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" The people were astonished because his teaching was marked by such authority. His message was no mere opinion. There was a divine authority behind it. "They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

The kingdom is the Spirit of God breaking forth again in the world through the word and the person of Jesus Christ. The gospel was that God himself was in the midst of his people and would restore to himself all who believed in the Son. The people could sense the power in Jesus and in his teaching.

And this authority was not confined to his teaching. It was also seen in his actions, and particularly in his dealings with the forces of evil. ”Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit.” This man’s personality was so disabled that the unclean spirit had taken the place of the person and spoke through him on behalf of all unclean spirits. It happens in our world today when, for example, such a spirit takes over a person so that all that person’s expressions are lies and more lies to cover up the first lies. It is not the Spirit of God that teaches us to tell lies. The unclean spirits do.

The unclean spirit said to Jesus, ”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.” The unclean spirit not only recognizes the fact of Jesus’ authority, but with supernatural insight, he understands it. Jesus is the Holy One of God who has come to destroy all unclean spirits and to set up God’s kingdom. It was widely believed at that time that if one knew a person’s true identity and could utter his name, he could gain a magic power over him. This "confession" of the unclean spirit is best understood as a desperate but fruitless attempt to get control of Jesus or to make him harmless.

It is the power of God that works in Jesus and a mere word from Jesus will be sufficient. “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.” Jesus comes from God with a power that gets right at the heart of that man’s problem. This is no aspirin religion here; no band aids that simply cover over the symptoms and leaves the problems untouched.

Jesus diagnoses this man’s problem for what it really is and gets at the root of it. He calls out the unclean evil spirit and sets the man free. Some people are so disabled that evil spirits actually speak out of them. Everything they say is a distortion meant to manipulate others to serve their ends. When a person lives as if he were the center of everything, it is an unclean spirit who is in control. The evil spirits are those powers at work both within and without that conspire against us to turn us away from trusting in God.

Sometimes we can notice it in others when we say, "What’s gotten into you?" Or after realizing what we have said or done to someone else, we may say of ourselves, "I don’t know what’s come over me.” And we really know that there is nothing we can do about it. Like the man in the synagogue,
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