January 15, 2015
The demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ. Luke 4:41
It has always amazed me that the forces of darkness often understand the purpose and mission of the Lord better than do Christians.
As evidence, I present the passage above, which shows the exorcised demons identifying Jesus and His work. But that passage is hardly unique.
After Jesus' crucifixion the high priests went to Pilate and asked for a guard to be placed upon the Savior's grave. Why? Because they knew Jesus had said, "After three days I will rise" (see Matthew 27:63). Those high priests remembered Jesus' words and made their request when the disciples were still in hiding, and the women were still gathering spices to anoint Jesus' dead body.
It's not entirely different today.
This past December 13th, Pastor Nayak and 14 members of his Baptist congregation had their vehicle surrounded by some 30 Hindus in India. The Hindus smashed the windows of the vehicle and yanked the Christians into the street where they beat them with sticks and clubs. Indeed, the believers were beaten so badly they ended up being hospitalized.
And if you're wondering what Christians might be doing which could provoke such violence, I can tell you: Pastor Nayak and his congregation were signing Christmas carols. Yes, that's right, they were caroling, and the Hindus said those carols were the kind of thing that might convert someone to Christianity.
Maybe you are like me and have never thought hymn singing could touch the soul of a lost person. If so, I think we may well have been wrong.
Consider the impact of the words from this Christmas hymn:
"Once He came in blessing, all our ills redressing;
Came in likeness lowly, Son of God most holy;
Bore the cross to save us, hope and freedom gave us.
Still He comes within us; still His voice would win us
From the sins that hurt us; would to Truth convert us
From our foolish errors, ere He comes in terrors."
Those words, which speak of the forgiveness and salvation that Jesus came to win, are profound, even eternity-changing, to someone who has lived his entire life in darkness.
So, learning from the hatred of those Hindus, let me say I'm going to make a witness with my hymns by singing them just a little more boldly and with a lot more feeling.
Won't you join me in doing so this Sunday?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I never undervalue the precious salvation Jesus has won for me. Further, may my thankful witness reflect the joy You have given. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries