Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
March 11, 2012
Central Passage
Luke 11:14-28
+ Luke 11:14-28 X+
In the name of the Father and of the X Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus casts out demons by the Finger of God.  The same way Moses inflicted plagues on Pharaoh’s and the Egyptians.  Moses received the Ten Commandments written on stone by the Finger of God.
When Moses inflicted plagues on Egypt by the finger of God, it was a sign that the kingdom of God was upon them, that the kingdom of Pharaoh was being replaced and displaced by the kingdom of God.  The stronger man – Moses – was binding up the strong man – Pharaoh.  And Moses would plunder Pharaoh’s goods.  He took his slaves – the Israelites – and when they left their Egyptian neighbors gave them all sorts of gold, silver, fine jewels, cattle, and great wealth. So that when Israel left Egypt, freed by the finger of God, they left in tremendous wealth, having plundered the Egyptians.
This is a sign, a type of the One to come.
Because now Jesus casts out Satan by the finger of God and the kingdom of God is upon us.  The Strong Man, Jesus, binds up Satan and his demons and casts them out.  They are displaced and replaced by the Spirit of the living God.  Satan is plundered as it is written of Jesus, “When He ascended He let captives free” (Eph. 4). The new and greater Moses, a Prophet like him, is here.  Jesus comes to set you free from bondage to sin and death.  He comes to take out of the devil’s kingdom and bring you into His own kingdom.  He is gathering for Himself a people who will enter into the Sabbath rest with Him at the resurrection.
But many put the Lord to the test, wondering if He is really among us or not.
Those who stood around Jesus and witnessed him cast out the mute demon weren’t impressed.  Just as Pharaoh had not been impressed when Moses first arrived.  So what that you do these great things, Moses, my magicians can repeat them.  So what that you cast out demons, Jesus, it is probably by the prince of demons that you do it.  Then they asked for a sign.  They are the sons of their fathers who put the Christ to the test in the wilderness, asking if the Lord was among them or not.
Give us a sign, Jesus, that what you do is from God.  Show us that the Lord is with us.
We are no different.  We want such signs.  We often wonder if the Lord is among us or not.  Oh, sure, forgiveness is given and demons are cast out, but maybe it’s just Satan playing a trick on us so that we let down our guard.  Maybe the sermons are double-tongued.  Maybe the Confessions we uphold are mislead and out-dated.  Maybe the baptisms aren’t enough.  Maybe the gathering isn’t as good as it could be.  Give us a sign, Lord, that you are among us.
Only the sign of Jonah will be given.  The Son of Man is risen from the dead after three days and three nights in the belly of the earth, and repentance in His name is preached to sinners.
What sign do you want from the Lord to know that He is among you?  What would you believe more than what He gives?  He gives His body and blood, given and shed for you; His testament of eternal life won and bestowed.  He gives His word of absolution that you are forgiven and counted among the blessed in the waters of Holy Baptism.  What other sign do we demand?
Our Lord turns the question on its head.  The question, O man, is not whether I will be with you, for I AM the Lord in the midst of the earth.  The question is will you be found with me?  Will you gather with me or will you be scattered?  The Israelites that did not gather to Moses and hear his word – which was God’s word – their bodies were scattered all over the desert floor.  Because of their doubt that the Lord was among them, that Moses was the man of God, and because of their testing the Lord and putting Him to the test, the wrath of God came upon those sons of disobedience.
Whoever was not with Moses was against him.  And whoever did not gather with Moses was scattered.  So it is with the One who is greater than Moses.
The wilderness is hard and full of dangers and pitfalls.  Where will you find food and drink? Where will you find shade and rest?  The Lord provides.  He gives food to the young ravens when they cry, He will so much more feed you. Not with bread that spoils, but with the Bread of Heaven that brings with it eternal life.  He waters you with the river of life that flows from His pierced side.  You drink by the brook and are satisfied.  He gathers you as a mother hen gathers her chicks, protecting you under the shadow of His wings, providing shade from the scorching heat and warmth from the coldness of death. The Lord is with you.
The Stronger Man has bound up the strong man and plundered his goods.  He has taken you out of the devil’s kingdom and gathered you to Himself so that He might feed and protect you.  Those who put the Lord to the test, wondering if He is among us or not, looking for Him in peaceful voters’ assemblies, filled pews, or overflowing bank accounts, the demons will find them swept clean and will bring in seven of their brothers and the last condition of that person will be worst than the first.
But blessed are you.  You hear the Word of God who gathers you to Himself at pulpit, font, and altar, and you keep it, looking for Jesus where He has promised to be, gathering to Him that your bodies would not be scattered in the wilderness.
Come, my fellow redeemed, for the Lord is in the midst of the earth establishing His kingdom. Come and eat from the tree of life and drink from the river of delights.  For so the Lord has ordained it.
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +