Don’t be Mute. Say “Amen” to Jesus
March 20, 2022 anno Domini
What’s the first word you want your child or grandchild to say? Da-da? Grandpa? Sitting in church you might think of less selfish answers because here you should realize “it’s not about you.” You might hope for that first word to be “God” or “Jesus.” A seasoned pastor told me that the first word you want to hear from a child is “amen” because that’s the Word of faith, that’s her “yes” to God’s commands and promises. If her parents are praying, if they are bringing her to church, she should have heard that word thousands of times by the time she can speak. Daddy can’t save her, and neither can grandpa, but Jesus can, and faith says, “yes” to Jesus. The opposite of faith is being mute, of saying nothing about Jesus.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what the mute man said after Jesus cast that mute demon out of him, but it does tell us what other people said. Some said, “More. We want to see more signs.” Others said, “No, Jesus isn’t from God. He’s from our father below. The only way He has power over the demons is because He is a demon.” It might be that in the whole crowd, only the man who could speak, said, “Amen” and believed in Jesus.
You might not believe in demons, but Jesus does. Two weeks ago, Jesus battled Satan in the wilderness. Last week a woman with a demon-oppressed daughter wouldn’t let Jesus go until He set her daughter free. This week a man is mute because he is possessed by a mute demon. We have become too smart for demons. We’ve got other explanations for evil. Bobby ate the wrong kind of cereal when he was a little boy. Jane suffers from 37 different mental health disorders. I’m not saying how you’re treated as a child won’t affect how you grow up, nor am I denying the reality of mental illness. What I am saying is that there is evil in the world and its source is an evil spiritual being – the Devil and he has a host of demons who work their evil in and through and upon humans every day.
The Devil’s great pleasure and chief temptation is your mute button. You don’t like your preacher – mute him and find another more pleasing pastor. You witness sin and wickedness in your life – mute your conscience and excuse yourself. Or talk about other people’s sins and mute your own confession. You see your children echoing the conversation of the world – Christianity is bigoted, marriage is any two or more creatures in love, you can be whatever you want to be, hard work and excellence are white racist expectations, and you mute yourself because you don’t want to risk your child’s love.
But realize the danger of being mute. There’s no compromise with Satan. Jesus Himself says, (read vs. 17). You are either in Satan’s household or God’s household. Either you are a child of your Father above or a slave of the father below. You belong to the truth or you belong to the lie. To remain silent is not an option – silence in the face of sin and evil is Satanic.
Jesus describes these two households. One is a palace guarded by a strong man. That’s the Devil’s domain. He’s strong and you’re born in his palace under his lordship. You are born a slave to sin, death, and the Devil. If you don’t think that’s true I dare you to stop sinning. I dare you to prove me wrong and walk out the cemetery a few days after your graveside service. Thanks be to God, there is a stronger man – the Son of God who became man. This stronger man – this God-man, beat Satan in the wilderness, beat Satan out of that oppressed daughter, and beat Satan out of the mute man.
The Devil’s armor is your sin. That is his weapon against Christ. If you have and hold sin, the Devil has the power to have and hold you. A sinner cannot stand in the presence of God. Sinners aren’t allowed into God’s Kingdom. The key to heaven is the forgiveness Christ won. The death of God on Good Friday pierced Satan’s armor and exposed his weakness. When you are forgiven the Devil has nothing on you. He cannot claim a Saint. He cannot hold a person without the spot and blemish of sin. Satan is undone by Christ’s forgiveness. When you believe, when you have faith, your sins are forgiven. Christ has you and holds you and Satan is left empty handed.
In Holy Baptism an eviction notice is given to Satan. Baptism contains an exorcism. Depart thou unclean spirit and make room for the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Father, and of the T Son, and of the Holy Spirit. God puts His address on you in Holy Baptism. He puts you under the sign of the cross and the Holy Spirit makes your body His temple.
Satan does not like being homeless. Hell doesn’t have any creature comforts. He wants to dwell in you. Jesus warns us what happens to baptized Christians who live far from the waters of baptism, who live far from the Word and Sacrament, who are mute not only with their “amens” but also with their confession of God’s Word. (Read vs. 24-26) The demon returns to a house swept and in order. That’s a baptized Christian. Sin and evil and death have been cast out, but the homeowner isn’t on guard. Repentance and forgiveness are not practiced. The light of Christ is not shining on the back porch and the front. So, the demon returns and brings seven friends. Jesus makes it clear that to believe and fall from faith is worse than not to believe at all.
Today is Oculi Sunday – “my eyes” Sunday – My Eyes are ever on the Lord. The appointed Gospel reading should be about a blind guy receiving his site, not a mute guy getting his tongue back. Once again we see the odd way of God’s Kingdom. Christians see with their ears and that means for us to see we must hear from an unmuted tongue. (Read vs. 28). If God keeps silent the Devil wins. If preachers don’t preach the Word of God, the Devil wins. If you do not hear and keep the Word, the Devil wins. In His temptation Jesus did not win with Godly might, but with the Word. Last week, the woman held Jesus to His Word until He freed her daughter. This week, the Word opened the mouth of the mute man. I hope you’re seeing what I’m preaching. God is not silent. He spoke the Word into the flesh of Jesus and silenced Satan.
Satan is real. He loves to mute Christians from confessing their sins and confessing the truth. He hates Jesus and the only hope he has of overcoming his eviction is if you hold on to your sin and silence Jesus. That is why you are blessed when you hear the Word of God and keep it and say your “amen” to the name of Jesus. Amen.