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In Whose Name?

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Those who know the Lord know that there is power in the name of Jesus. The power of grace, the power to save, the power of worship and the power to cast out demons. There is power in the name of the Son of Man, yet this power is not given to the half hearted, nor is it to be used to conjure a desired result. Our society's obsession with consumer greed and trite explanations of divine events is leading the charge down the wide path to destruction. If we are not careful, we might be subject to the same treatment that was visited upon the sons of a so-called holy man.

Luke writes in Acts 19:14-17 “There were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish high priest who went throughout Ephesus casting out demons using the name of Jesus.” Then they came to a man who had a demon and when they said “We adjure you in the name of Jesus, of whom Paul speaks”, the demon spoke directly to them saying: “I know Jesus and I understand Paul, but who are you?” And with that the man lept on them, overpowered them and gave them a severe beating. The seven “fled from him wounded and naked.”

In the weeks since we celebrated Resurrection Day thoughts of the cultural and business preparations leading up to that event came to mind. Retailers hauled in shipments of brightly colored plastic eggs, depictions of chickens and rabbits in various forms and prepackaged gift baskets all to embrace a pagan festival. What we call Easter is derived from Ishtar the pagan deity of fertility whose festival was celebrated by rolling eggs down hills and breeding rabbits all in the hope that large families would be granted to those who revered her. Emperor Constantine attempted to convince pagans to embrace Christianity by adopting their festivals and making them part of the church of Rome. Throughout the centuries the church has attempted to sanitize Ishtar by comparing Christ's emergence from the tomb to the cracking of a hard boiled egg, by celebrating the coming spring as the sign of new life and so forth. This attempt to place our Lord and redeemer Yeshua within the framework of a pagan festival is an abomination. To wish someone a “happy Easter” is to reduce the significance of Christ's death upon the cross to an awful event on the way to the Sunday dress-up party.

Let's instead begin to wish people a happy Resurrection Day, acknowledging the fact that we who believe in Christ are marked with his blood, shed upon the cross so that the spiritual death will pass over us. Let us not simply go about with Christ on our lips without being committed to him, without understanding his word and all that he stands for. To do so is to risk being beaten by the evil one and spiritually wounded and exposed.

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