Gal 3:7-14; Ps 111:1-6; Lk 11:15-26
We join in thanks with all who pray Psalm 111. We give thanks to the LORD with whole and humbled hearts. In the company of all who seek to do the will of God, we give thanks. The works of the LORD are exquisite in all their delights. Majesty and glory are the works of the LORD, and his justice endures forever. It is the majesty and glory of the LORD that shine forth in our hearts and lives each day because the LORD remembers his covenant. He has won renown for his wondrous deeds. All the nations gaze in awe upon our exodus from slavery and our rescue from exile. Indeed, gracious and merciful is the LORD. He gives food to those who fear him; he is forever mindful of his covenant. The LORD has made known to us the power of his works, giving us the inheritance of the nations. From the days of Noah, the LORD has promised to preserve life upon the earth; the LORD will never again destroy human and animal life by a flood. From the days of Abraham, our father in faith, he has promised to lead all who share in Abraham’s faith to the Land of Promise. We give thanks today with all who know the majesty and glory of the LORD and with all who have yet to receive the gift of faith. We are blessed because Christ was cursed by hanging upon the tree of the cross. We are united in his Kingdom while the kingdom of darkness is divided and laid waste by the cross of Christ. Indeed, we have much for which to give thanks, today and every day.
Being a child of Abraham, our father in faith, does not mean we are Jewish. Indeed, our Scripture reveals that through Abraham all the nations would be blessed. God takes into covenant with himself all who have faith, not just those who are circumcised. Indeed, those who are depend upon their own works to fulfill the law are under a curse because no one can live as the law demands, “Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law.” Not only are we cursed because we cannot fulfill every demand and expectation of the law; we are blessed because the Lord Christ is cursed. He was cursed because of the law which Saint Paul quotes, “Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree.” Indeed, the one who was cursed has freed us from the law and its curse. In the Crucified we behold with eyes of faith the most faithful and obedient Son of Abraham, the Son of God. In the obedience of Christ our Savior the curse of our disobedience has been smashed and we have received the blessing of Abraham, the blessing of the one who listens and obeys the LORD; giving up our dependence upon our heritage and receiving the heritage of the Eternal Son of God.
In obedience to the will of His Father, Christ the Lord came into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit, to drive out demons, heal the sick, and announce the arrival of the Kingdom of God in our midst. Yet, his contemporaries demanded a sign, a sign that could not be denied. When he showed them the sign of God’s finger driving our demons and bringing about the Kingdom of God, they accused him of working an exorcism by the power of Beelzebul. Indeed, an undeniable sign is not possible, since every sign is subject to our filters and open to our interpretations. We play the game of cleaning our souls and putting order into our lives, but when the demon returns to find our hearts open and empty he brings back seven other spirits, so that the condition of our souls is worse than it was. Holiness is not a game. The Kingdom of God is not an illusion. Indeed, sin is the illusion of controlling our lives, meeting our needs, and fulfilling our desires. We cannot achieve our own salvation. We need a redeemer. We need Christ. Indeed the Crucified and the cross is the sign, and it is the only sign. Yet, even the sign of the cross is denied and ridiculed in every age.