Summary: A sermon about trust.
“God Among Humankind”
A couple years ago there was a pretty bad disaster out at sea.
A tourist boat, loaded with cars and partiers, had not shut its doors properly; water began pouring in; the boat started to sink, and panic set in!!!
People were screaming as the happy and relaxed atmosphere of the ship turned, in minutes, into something worse than a horror movie!!!
All at once one man—who was not a member of the ship’s crew—took charge.
In a clear voice he gave orders, telling people what to do.
Relief started to mix with panic as people began to realize that someone, at least, was in charge…
…and people started to get to the lifeboats they would have otherwise missed in the dark and the chaos.
The man himself made his way down to the people trapped in the boat’s hold.
There he formed a human bridge: holding on with one hand to a ladder and with the other to part of the ship that was nearly submerged, he was able to make sure people were able to cross to safety.
When the nightmare was over, the man himself had drown.
He had literally given his life using the authority he had assumed—the authority by which many had been saved.
Now, take that picture to a different sea coast.
In the little town of Capernaum there was a synagogue.
And here comes a Man, not one of the usual teachers, Who starts, on His Own authority, to tell people what God’s will is, how the Kingdom is coming.
Unlike the Temple in Jerusalem where people worshiped and made sacrifices, the synagogue was mainly for teaching.
It was a place for prayer and instruction.
And Jesus’ teaching was electric and new.
The usual teachers, the priests, the scribes and the Pharisees didn’t teach like Jesus.
They always said, “as Moses said,” or “as Rabbi so-and-so said.”
On the other hand, Jesus spoke with compelling authority which was all His Own!
And then Jesus moves from authoritative teaching to authoritative action!!!
As Jesus was teaching and the people stood amazed…
…we are told in verses 23 and 24 that “Suddenly, there in the synagogue, a person with an evil spirit screamed, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the holy one from God.”
This poor man had somehow been invaded by a force from outside him over which he had no control.
How many of us can relate?
None of us have any guarantees.
Any of us could be assaulted by a myriad of life’s external dangers—whether it be a car accident, an illness, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job.
How frightening life must be to a person who is dealing with such things, and concludes that he or she must try and navigate through life’s perils without any resources, guidance, love, or help from God.
How easy and natural it must be to lose hope!!!
In 2010 a disturbing report hit the news about a little boy in Chicago who was shot and permanently disabled in a drive-by shooting.
That fact alone is awful enough, but the reporter went on to say that everyone in the neighborhood knew who the shooter was, but no one came forward to identify him.
The boy’s mother even acknowledged that she drove by the shooter’s house every day on the way to work.
An educator from Chicago who was interviewed by the reporter said, “That’s what happens when people lose hope. You don’t think things will get better, so you just give up.”
We know nothing about the man with “an evil spirit.”
We don’t know his background; we don’t know how long he had been suffering.
What we do know is that Jesus commands the demon to leave the man.
And as it came out of him the man convulsed, and the onlookers stood in amazement!
We never hear anything more about that man.
And because of this, we can surmise that this story is more about Jesus’ authority over unclean spirits than it is about this specific person.
The demons don’t even appear to be too concerned about anything other than Jesus, once Jesus appears on the scene.
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are.
You are the holy one from God.”
This gives us some mighty important and life-saving insight into how we are to deal with the unclean spirits and difficulties in our lives.
As we acknowledge, recognize and live with the horrible perils of life, our ultimate focus is to be on Jesus!!!
For Jesus alone is the Only One Who can overcome any and all difficulties!!!