"Believing, but Not Believing"
October 20, 2014
You believe that God is One; you do well. Even the demons believe -- and shudder! James 2:19
As near as I can remember, my parents spent a fair amount of time making sure I possessed a modicum of manners. No, they didn't necessarily expect me to know the difference between a chip fork, a crab fork, and a cocktail fork. They just didn't want me to eat my peas with a knife.
They also taught me to say, "Yes, please" and "No, thank you."
Apparently, the parents of 22-year-old Owen Reese of Sparta, Wisconsin, neglected that part of their boy's education.
I say that because recently some Cub Scouts showed up at Reese's door selling popcorn as a fund-raiser for their pack. When the door opened, the youngsters looked up to see Reese holding a sword above his head and screaming at them to go away. He kept moving forward and he swung the sword around his head as if he were going to take a cut at them. That's when one of the parents told the kids to run. The scouts didn't have to be told twice.
When police investigated, Reese told them he always answers the door with a sword. He always "answers the door with a sword to protect himself from religious people."
Reese's response got me wondering if in the past he had been accosted by a group of machete-wielding members of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League, or some Lutheran Laymen's League ninjas had broken into his home and threatened his person.
On a more serious note, I have always wondered what it is about Jesus that bothers unbelievers. Why is it necessary for a community, a football team, a debating club, a valedictorian -- anyone -- to defend their faith and freedom of speech in a court of law?
The best answer I find comes from Scripture. In Mark 1:24 Jesus was speaking in the Capernaum synagogue when a man with an unclean spirit disrupted the message by calling out, "What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are -- the Holy One of God."
The same type of thing happened to Paul in Philippi when a slave girl with a spirit of divination disturbed that ministry by continuously calling, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation" (Acts 16:17b). In short, these things happened and continue to happen because, as James says, "the demons believe and shudder."
So why do unbelievers attack us so? I can only believe that somewhere, deep down inside of them they know the truth, and they are afraid of Jesus who gave His life to save theirs, which is why you and I need to share the truth with them, for it is God's truth that will set them free.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how sad it is the world fears You. Send Your Holy Spirit and use me so I may share with the lost the wonders of Your love and the Savior's sacrifice. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries