Posted by on Feb 1, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Authority and Change

Dear Lord….Thank you so very much for your guiding hand in our lives. Thank you for creating us and choosing us to do your work in your world. We know it’s not an easy task and it wasn’t easy for you, either. You understand us and are always with us to help us. Be with us as we continue to maneuver through your world.

The gospel lesson for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany is from Mark 1:21-28. Within the first chapter of Mark’s gospel he has included many events in the life of Jesus…with little detail. Much of what he has written has very subtle backgrounds.

In this passage, Jesus and his followers have moved to Capernaum, an area north of the Sea of Galilee. By this time, it may be assumed that many people have heard of Jesus, where he came from and who he worked with.

What is interesting about the beginning of this section is that Jesus is teaching from his own authority, not from the self-seeking rabbi’s. It is amazing to the people he’s talking to because they were aware of the fact that Jesus and Joseph were carpenters and here he is, teaching the people with authority. The authority he is teaching with is God’s authority.

Jesus’ authority was recognized by the demon who had possessed one of the people present. This demon stated that Jesus was the Holy One and accused Jesus of coming to destroy “them”…possibly mistaken originally for people…and not only for demons.

However, the words of the demon-possessed person as well as Jesus’ action of rebuking the demon, causing him to come out of the person only confirmed Jesus’ God-given authority. All of these actions only confirmed Jesus’ authority from his teaching in the temple to the declaration and destroying the unclean spirit and to the crowd’s reaction to what they had seen.
Here was a man who was human, but was able the actions of a demon-possessed person, heal that person who was obsessed and teach in the synagogue.

Can you imagine seeing all of these things happening at the same time? What would you think when you saw the demon coming out of the man…and the man collapsing on the floor. It wasn’t stated, but I would expect that this person would have been cared for by some of the people in attendance. For me, there would have been no question as to who Jesus was and by what authority He was working and teaching. We, too, would have been shocked.

Jesus was asking the people to keep silent about what they had seen. Jesus did not want to have the self-seeking praise that most teachers in the synagogue had. He wanted his actions to be seen as humble and caring for the people…not himself. He expected no favor from the actions…no praise, no repayment. How different! Do we sometimes expect thanks, repayment, praise for our actions? How many times do we act for other people just because we know it’s the right thing to do?

We, too, are being challenged to stand against the evil in our world. How many things can you think of that were true evil…such as the happenings at Columbine, Sandy Hook, other things?

There are so many other ways we are challenged to stand up against the wrongs in the world. We have the power and authority of Jesus with us and with all of us who had accepted Jesus as our Savior. In the baptism ritual, we went through a couple of weeks ago, we answered this question, “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, in justice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

The change in us is to stand against many of the injustices in our world. Can you name a few? Are we being challenged and asked to really recognize those evil, injustices and oppression that may be “quieter”, more hidden, appearing to be part of our world?

Interactions with people matter, more than we often think. Maybe that, too, was one of the aspects we weren’t that “aware” before this past year. Many of us have said we miss people. We are called to help people. To give people hope.

Any day is an opportunity to recognize that Christ is at the center of our lives and He gives us the strength to stand against what is evil and harmful in our world. Think about some instances of this past week when you were asked to do this! I know we have all experienced this.

Remember, Christ is always with you. We have His authority to stand on and to change the way we react to and assist His people in our world. How can we offer grace and wholeness to the people around us? These actions are indication of our support and love by the one who has total authority in our lives.



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