Demons Need Not Apply
Friday of Pentecost 4
7 July 2017
Christ is the one mediator between God and men (1Ti 2:5). Everyone else wants to take His mediatorial role. Everyone else wants to be the pivot between humans and their Maker. A true mediator must be able to represent properly the interests of both estranged parties needing reconciliation. Every false religion promises to mediate between humans and their God. The paganism of the ancient world, no less than any other false religion, made this claim, suggesting that there were many ways in which humans could seek reunion with the divine. In ancient pagan religion, many quasi-divine beings were reputed to be able to lead into true blessedness. These beings the Greeks called "daemons," from which the New Testament fashions its word "demon."
The Greeks thought every person was possessed of a daemon. Nor did they consider this at all bad. Every person had a natural connection with the multiple daemonic godlings that surrounded him in the Greek pantheon. Every person had the flickering spark of immortality within him. Some possessed a weaker daemon, such as the enslaved or defeated, and some a stronger. Whether strong or weak, this was the ready-made connection between the earthly and the divine. Those possessed of an especially strong daemon, such as Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar, their daemons were thought to have survived their deaths and been powerful mediators between the mortal and the immortal.
Cultic American religion often exhibits a kind of daemonic quality. Every religious purveyor worth his salt is able to communicate with God, often claiming a direct revelatory pipeline with God, which the rest of us are unable to tap. Sometimes their claims are prosaic, such as suggesting that God wants you to "have your best life now," or pernicious, claiming that God has stricken a world leader with a debilitating disease because he failed to strike the enemies of God with appropriate military vigor. Worst of all, however, those who are our intermediaries lead us away from the gospel of Christ to a self-serving and legalistic religiosity based on a cult of personality. Every big religious personality has his own daemon. A few years ago, a large Baptist emporium here in Houston advertised its Easter services on billboards around town. From the advertising no one could possibly have any clue that the content of Easter is even religious, let alone Christ-centered. However, the church's leader had his smiling visage plastered all over the advertisement. He has become the church's daemon. This is very different from the Baptist's faith: "He (Jesus) must increase. I (John) must decrease" (Jn 3:30).
There is no other way to God than by the Word of God, no matter how weak, inconvenient, and full of suffering that Word might appear. There is nothing in us (or anyone else) but sin and death. This does not make us good mediators. Instead, it makes us mediators of wickedness and despair. We need a mediator who shared our mortality that we might become immortal in Him. Our immortality is encompassed in Him, not by our living up to daemonic potential, but by sharing with Christ His flesh of Mary. All with Christ is a gift; daemonic salvation is all human effort. Our mortality has now put on His immortality because death He has defeated in our flesh. We have been freed from wicked demons, who though immortal, are truly miserable and would love nothing more than to share their misery with us. True blessedness is in Christ alone, who is the one mediator between God and us. Demons need not apply, whether they be mortal or immortal.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo

"Since it must be that all men, so long as they are mortal, are also miserable, we must seek an intermediary who is not only man, but also God, that, by the interposition of His blessed mortality, He may bring men out of their mortal misery to a blessed immortality. In this intermediary two things are required, that He become mortal, and that He does not continue to be mortal. Christ did become mortal, not rendering the divinity of the Word infirm, but assuming the infirmity of flesh. Neither did He continue mortal in the flesh, but raised it from the dead. For it is the very fruit of His mediation that those, for the sake of whose redemption He became the Mediator, should not abide eternally in bodily death. Therefore, it was appropriate that the Mediator between God and us have both a transient mortality and a permanent blessedness, that by that which is transient He might be conformed to mortals, and might translate them from mortality to that which is permanent.
"Good angels, therefore, cannot mediate between miserable mortals and blessed immortals, for they themselves also are both blessed and immortal. But evil angels can mediate, because they are immortal like God and miserable like humans. To evil angels is opposed the good Mediator, who, in opposition to their immortality and misery, has chosen to be mortal for a time, and has been able to continue blessed in eternity. Thus, by the humility of His death and the compassion of His blessedness, He has destroyed those proud immortals and hurtful wretches, and has prevented them from seducing to misery by their boast of immortality those men whose hearts He has cleansed by faith, and whom He has thus freed from the evil angels' impure dominion."

Augustine, The City of God, 9.15
Luke 10:18-24

And [Jesus] said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (ESV)
Lord Jesus Christ, You are our true mediator. In You we receive the gift of immortality. Grant that we might flee the allure of the demonic. You have crushed the dominion of the devil to free us from his power. Keep us in Your Word that we might ever see our salvation in no one but You. Amen.
For our stable constitutional government, in thanksgiving to God the giver of every good and precious gift, that He would preserve to us the rule of law, so that we might live quiet and peaceable lives
For President Matt Harrison, that he might find strength in Christ alone, as he provides service to the Church redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb
For all police officers, who risk their lives to protect the peace and safety of community, that the holy angels would watch over them
Art: Albrecht DURER,  The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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