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᛭ INI ᛭
“Eyes.” “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (Ps 25) Poetic language of faith. “As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He has mercy upon us.” (Ps 123) Yet, “seeing is [not] believing.”
Jesus says to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (Jn 20)” So also Peter says of you: “Though you have not seen [Jesus], you love him.” (1 Pet 1) “The Kingdom of God is not coming with observation.”(Lk 17) “I cannot by My own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ My Lord or come to Him.” (SC, 3rd Article)
Eyes are not the organ of faith. Your ears are! “O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days.” (Ps 44) “You shall teach [God’s Words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house.” (Dt 6) For, “faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word about Christ.” (Rom 10)
So, the Lord sends preachers. That’s our Old Testament really. It is not primarily Moses the plague dealer, but Moses the prophet, the preacher. He preached the message of the Kingdom of God, of Israel’s salvation: to Pharaoh, “Let My people go;” to Israel, “I will bring out with a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm.”
(2. Satan’s Kingdom has preachers, too.)
Satan’s Kingdom also has preachers, too. Satan’s minions aren’t just the other fallen angels, which we call demons. Pharaoh as well as his magicians were his preachers. So were the people around Jesus preaching that Jesus was casting out demons by “Beelzebul,” which was just another term for Satan back then.
The devil has preachers everywhere. Words have preachers, and the devil’s a master at both—from the sands of the Nile in our Old Testament to near Bethany in Jesus’ day. We still have them today.
Always beware of who’s preaching to you! The devil’s preachers are everywhere. Shows, even kids ones, the news, movies, social media, youtube, ticktock—they’re all full of preachers! Devil preachers have their hymns, too! His words are in music, too.
Now, this isn’t to say we can’t watch TV or movies or listen to secular music. It’s just that “we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] designs.” (Though our Christian conviction may cause us to avoid or limit our exposure to such words.) We must interpret the words coming at us. We do so NOT with our own ideas or the values we learned from our parents, but from the Bible alone.
Words have power. The devil’s words have power. His preachers come to “deceive us and mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great” sins. The devil’s word enslaves you to God-defined sins. His word enslaves you to unbelief, rejecting God’s Word. He also twists God’s Word; that’s false doctrine. (Matthew 4; Genesis 3) He wants you to “accumulate teachers that fit your passions” (2 Tim 4:3) because he wants you enslaved to sin, to lies, and to human thinking or traditions. He wants you to be and wants you to remain in his kingdom.
Christ comes to take care of the devil’s kingdom, to conquer and defeat Satan. Jesus is the Stronger One, and He comes and bonds the strong man devil and despoils him of his possessions—you and me. He defeated the devil at Calvary. For Christ “through death destroy[ed] the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb 2)
Jesus defeats the devil not only in action but also through His Word! He cast out demons “with a word.” (Mt 8:16) (Luke 10 records Jesus sending 72 preachers, who did the same as Him with His Word.) If there’s a Word, then there’s a preachers! As Paul says, “how are they to hear without a preacher (κηρύσσοντος)?” (Rom 10:14)
(1. The Kingdom of God has preachers.)
In the Kingdom of God there are angels, of course. (The demons and Satan are angels who rebelled.) The Bible tells us that the good angels are chiefly messengers, who deliver, preach God’s Word. (In fact, “angel” is from the Greek word for messenger, ἄγγελος.) But God, besides angels, chiefly uses people as preachers.
The Lord sends His preachers at specific times and places: Moses to Israel; the 72 to their cities; I to here; and each of you to your families. (Fathers, this is especially you, but like Paul, we also rejoice in mothers and grandmothers doing this. Paul commends Pastor Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mom Eunice (2 Tim 1:5). Through them Timothy was “from childhood acquainted with the sacred Scriptures.” (2 Tim 3:15)
When the God’s Word “is taught in its truth and purity,” (SC 1st Petition) there’s a preacher sent by Jesus. When the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments administered like Christ says, there’s a preacher sent by Jesus (AC V). He also has universal preachers: the Prophets and Apostles of the Old and New Testaments. “The sons of the prophets,” the pastors carry or echo the Biblical message through Preaching, teaching, even through “songs and hymns and spirit-filled songs.” (Eph 6)
Using His preachers, the Lord sets you free “with a word.” He who hears you hears me. (Lk 10) In the Word and water of Holy Baptism, you were “delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of [God’s] beloved Son, in whom [you] have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1) In Holy Absolution, the gates of hell are locked to you and heaven’s opened! As Christ says, “What you shall bind, that bound shall be; what you shall loose that shall be free.” “The peaching of Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1) for you is “the power of God unto your salvation.” (Rom 1:16)
Jesus also conquers the devil at His Supper. The Sacrament gives Jesus’ body and blood for your “forgiveness, life, and salvation.” (SC) You always have a pressing need for that! Why? You “certainly have the devil also around [you], who with his lying and murdering day and night will let [you] have no peace, within or without.” (Christian Questions) There isn’t a week where that’s not true… His preachers are everywhere! Jesus’ are at the Altar: “The Body of Christ given for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you.”
Eyes are not the organ of faith. Your ears are! The devil knows this, and He has His preachers everywhere, “to deceive us and mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great” (SC) sins. The devil wants you to be and wants you to remain in his kingdom. It’s the for this reason that he stations his preachers everywhere.
The Lord is aware of this. It’s why He came and defeated the devil, went toe to toe with Him in the wilderness, and ultimately died and shed His blood for you, to save you, to despoil the devil of you. In fact, it’s why He also says what He says. He says, “Blesséd are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” And that means,
THOSE WHO HEAR GOD’S WORD AND CHERISH IT ARE SAVED.
Jesus wants you to hear this Word. He wants you to cherish it, so He delivers it. He sends preachers. It’s why He has a 3rd Commandment: “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise [sermons] and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” (SC) Because
THOSE WHO HEAR GOD’S WORD AND CHERISH IT ARE SAVED.
The Lord sends His preachers to deliver that word. Father and mothers to their families, of course, and He sends pastors to congregated families. For God’s Word silences the devil, binds him, casts him out, and saves you. “Baptism now saves you. (1 Pet 3:21)” “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mk 16:16) “I forgive you all your sins.” (Jn 20) “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him…I will resurrect him on the Last Day.”(Jn 6)