Text: Luke 4:31-37
Pilate knew some things about Jesus. Pilate knew that Jesus hadn’t done anything
wrong. His wife said Jesus was an innocent man. Pilate knew that Jesus was beaten
up for something he hadn’t done. Pilate knew that Jews had brought Jesus to him
because they were envious and jealous of his power and authority.
Peter knew some things about Jesus. At that same time as Pilate, Peter had stood
in a courtyard and said in the flickering firelight…”I don’t know the man.” He had
said that because he was afraid. He didn’t want people fingering him and finding
that he had indeed been with Jesus. But he had. And Peter knew many things about
Jesus. He knew that Jesus fed people who couldn’t get food themselves. Jesus had
healed people and touched people others would not get close to. Jesus had raised
people from the dead. Peter knew that. Peter would even know---and quickly---that
Jesus forgives people who say, “I don’t know Jesus.”
Most people know some things about Jesus. You certainly know something of your Savior,
Jesus. If you were given a piece of paper today you could write things down on it
that you know about Jesus.
Christianity is not about what you believe. Christianity is about what you know.
It must be this. And most certainly, what you know must be true. That really is
a definition of knowledge. It = truth. Otherwise, what people profess to know is
really a lie and not worth knowing or able to know.
So, today …..
JESUS OF NAZARETH
1. “I know who you are”…the devils say
2. “I know who you are”…the unbelievers say
3. “I know who you are”…the believers say
1. I know who you are…the devils say
The first surprising thing is that the demon possessed man was in church…in the synagogue.
What in the world was he doing there? What would devils want to be in church for?
Are there still demon possessed people in churches? We wonder. We think we know
the answer. The next surprising thing in hearing these words from Luke is that this
demon possessed man in church knew all about Jesus. Well, he knew something about
Jesus. This is what he said, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are---the Holy One of God.”
There really are devils, first of all. Devils are players in your life. They know
you too. They have led you into trouble and temptation many times. They laugh when
you fall. They gloat and high five themselves when you hurt yourself…or when you
hurt others. Devils exist. They are real. They have feelings. They know things.
We learn all this from the words before us of Jesus telling one of these devils
to stop tormenting the man he possessed. When someone is devil possessed, the devil
considers that person his property and possession. He acts like they are his. They
are his possession. He possesses them.
To know that there are devils is not really so surprising. We can see their handiwork
all around us, every day. But to hear the devil say when he sees Jesus, “I know
who you are, Jesus of Nazareth” is surprising. James says to us all, “You believe
that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that…and shudder.” So the
devils and demons in our lives do know Jesus. They know who he is. They know what
he does. They know how he did what he did to save us. They watched with horror
as he died on the cross and realized too late that what they had done to kill him
had actually been their undoing and defeat. When he said, “It is finished!” they
were finished. He finished them off with one stomp of his heal on their heads. “Have
you come to destroy us? I know who you are---the Holy One of God!” This is what
they know…and say.
It is important for you to know that the devil himself knows Jesus. The devil’s
knowledge of Jesus is not a saving knowledge. He is doomed because of his rebellion
and choice. But just think about it! In this world where people don’t know about
Jesus and don’t care to know about Jesus, the Bible says that even devils know about
Jesus. If the devils themselves know about Jesus how much more should we?
2. I know who you are…the unbelievers say
And it is important for us to know what unbelievers know about our Jesus too. This
topic comes up all the time in our world. Unbelievers think they know Jesus. They
do know some things too. But what they think they know is not the truth. So even
if they say they know Jesus is a good man or a great teacher or a good example or
a person who needlessly got caught in political wranglings in his culture, what they
know is only a small part of the truth…and a dangerous part at that. They simply
don’t know the true Jesus. That’s all. Because if Jesus wasn’t really God’s Son
and who he said he was, then was not a good man but a terrible imposter and liar.
To say the least, this is what Jesus would be. So people who claim to know him
just as a man really don’t know him.
Jesus talks about this senseless knowing that some people profess. Jesus said, “Not
everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only
he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that
day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons
and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away
from me, you evildoers.” (Matthew 7:21-23) The awful words of Jesus to people who
say they know Jesus but don’t really, are “I never knew you.” So the awful result
for a person of not truly knowing Jesus is that Jesus truly doesn’t know that person.
And that is amazing..and awful. That the God who knows everything (omniscient)
would look at us and say, “I don’t know you” would be…TERRIBLE!
Imagine people having to say one day, “We knew you. You were in our streets. You
had your name in our holidays. Christmas was about you. Why did we refuse to know
that? We wrote your name on our pennies. You were the D in A.D. You were the one
who gave significance to all those crosses we saw on the tops of churches. You are
the one we pierced. We know you. We recognize you.”
This is the great curse of unbelief. It will have to admit one day it was wrong.
This is a very, very hard thing to do. Admit, “Everything in my life was wrong…and
I did it. I did it in the advice to do something different. I thought I knew what
was right, but I was wrong. The whole thing was a lie.”
In God’s book of Life, there are only those names written of people who knew Jesus.
3. I know who you are…the believers say
But believers do say it too. They say, “I know Jesus.” They even teach their little
children the song (and they sing along) “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible
tells me so.” They know Jesus!
They know that Jesus has come to destroy their demons. Jesus has come into their
lives to point at Satan and say to him in our hearing, “Get behind us Satan! Get
away. Go away. Go to hell.” We know that from the words before us this morning---even
the devils know that. “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you
come to destroy us? I know who you are---the Holy One of God!” That is our Jesus,
the One we know. He still says, and he says it sternly, “Come out of him!” Jesus
is the One who is going to destroy all those who plague and torment us. He is the
one who rules them and controls them even today. He is the One who saves us from
the ones who would devour us and sift us like wheat.
We know Jesus because he has been with us and done great things for us. He has promised
to be with us…always. We heard him say that. He has said he will take care of our
daily bread…and he has. Every day he has. Every single day we have had plenty and
bounty and surplus and blessing. We know him because he became like we are…yet was
without sin. He is the One and we know this about him who allowed his hands to be
spiked to the cross. We know him and his love. Greater love has no one than this:
that a man lay down his life for his friend. We know that while we were still sinners
he loved us and died for us. We know that he doesn’t discard us for our poor track
records and infrequent love letters to him. He still loves us. Every day he loves.
We know this about him.
You know Jesus because he is with you. You know Jesus because he is in your life.
You know Jesus because you nestle in his hand. You know Jesus because his hands
with their nail scars hold you. You know Jesus because of those strong arms that
pick you up on your low days and hold you close to his heart. You know him because
you can hear and feel that heart of love beating. You know him because he has shown
so often that he truly does feel for your infirmities and afflictions. You have
seen Jesus weep at the graves of his loved ones…not only Lazarus. But still today.
He doesn’t weep because they died because he promised that death was that door through
which they would go to see his glory. He wept because he truly sympathizes with
the grief of death to those who are left behind. He whispers in the vacuum of their
loneliness…”I am with you. I will never leave. I’ll be close by and one day---soon!---I’ll
take you to be with this one you love…and with me and with my Father and with our
Know it is true. “Know me! Remember me!”
And we do. Amen.