Ah, that unmistakable catchphrase from “Star Wars.” Surely everyone on the planet recognizes it! You may laugh, but neither my husband nor I had ever seen any of the Star Wars movies! So during my post-Christmas vacation, spent inside our warm house, we watched every single movie in order (up to the latest). A lot of lingo was alien to us (pardon the pun), but we already knew the big message: that power makes all the difference while fighting against The Dark Side. Ah, if only we all had lightsabers!
People fear being powerless, and fear becomes a kind of prison. People who are agoraphobic can’t stand crowds, so they stay home. People who have intense guilt or shame are in a prison of despair. Sales of underground bunkers have soared because of a fear of foreign invasion or tornadoes or nuclear bombs.
Television plays on those fears. Occasionally, my husband and I watch one of those scary shows about ghosts and haunted houses. I don’t know if they’re really true, but the families being haunted have to deal with a fear of supernatural beings, and they’re petrified! The longer they stay in their haunted house, the stronger that demon becomes, and the family is powerless to stop the terror. What can they do? Burn incense? Hang garlic on the doors? Shut off the affected room? Sell the house??
These shows are ridiculous to me – oh, not because I don’t believe in ghosts – even Jesus knew about ghosts! There is a solution to this problem: a mighty weapon can be found in the Bible. People living in ancient times also had fears and prisons of their own. Jesus came along and cured them of their illnesses and delivered them from demonic activity. Demons saw him coming and were afraid of him! Why? Because they knew Jesus was stronger than anything, including beings from a different realm. With a word, he cast them out, watching them destroy themselves, and leaving the affected person at peace once again.
Jesus taught his disciples to do the same thing, and they went around the area giving freedom and healing to many people, even after Jesus had been crucified and resurrected. It was the power of God through Jesus that they tapped into – using the most powerful weapon there is: The Name of Jesus. But there’s more to it. In Acts 19 is a little story of seven sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva. They were watching in awe as the Apostle Paul moved about the land healing and delivering people from oppression. They were not Christians, but they kept hearing Paul say, “Unclean spirits, I command you to leave now in the Name of Jesus!” And the brothers saw, time and again, people’s lives completely changed. They thought it was really cool to have access to this amazing power, so they decided to try it out on this demonized guy they knew nearby who had been oppressed by a very strong demon for years. They approached him and said, “Unclean spirit, we command you to get out, in the Name of the Jesus that Paul preaches.” And the demon looked at them and said, “Well, I know Paul, and I know Jesus; but who are you?” And he leapt on them and beat the tar out of them all.
The greatest weapon in the universe is the Name of Jesus; but if you don’t have a relationship with Christ, you don’t have the power. Now is the time to find a church and develop a relationship with Jesus. There you’ll experience new life filled with joy, deep unsurpassable peace, and freedom from your fears. Jesus Christ is The Force against all evil – better than any lightsaber! Seek Him, and The Force WILL be with you!
The writer is the pastor at Sidney First Presbyterian Church.