March 3, 2013 - Oculi-The Third Sunday in Lent

Today's Reading: Luke 11:14-28

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 27:30-45;28:10-22; Mark 9:1-13

But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." (Luke 11:15)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Oculi. My eyes are ever toward the Lord.” But the people that rejected Jesus weren't fooled. They figured Jesus was like a good illusionist. You could stare right at Him, have your eyes right on Him, and He'll still fool you and make something happen. That's all Jesus was doing: Casting out demons by the power of the Lord of the Flies (“Beelzebub.”) So, more than ever they had to keep their eye on Jesus to catch Him when He slipped up.

No, keep your eye on Jesus because in Him you will see the kingdom of God. And what does the kingdom of God look like? The kingdom of Satan falling. Being cast out. There's no trick. No illusion. Jesus is the real deal. He came to save sinners and to rescue them from the slavery of sin. To do that, He comes and casts out demons—throws down the devil's kingdom.

Even on the cross, His enemies still thought it was a trick. “Let Him come down if God delights in Him.” Perhaps it was all a set up. But again, Jesus on the cross is the real deal: the real Savior suffering and dying for the sins of the world. For your sins. There's nothing hidden here. It's all in the open for the world to see: God-in-the-flesh crucified for sinners. Look at that! Look at Him! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

But again, Jesus' words, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it,” remind us that the Holy Spirit doesn't bring us to faith by way of our eyes but through our ears which hear the Word. The Word combined with water at the font, the Word preached and heard, the Word-made-flesh giving us His flesh and blood to eat and drink. And by those holy gifts, the “finger of God,” Satan's kingdom is cast down and you are set free forever. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

We implore You, almighty and merciful Father, to look upon the hearty desires of Your humble servants and stretch forth the right hand of Your majesty to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for Oculi)

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