Monday, January 26, 2009

the real battle Mark 1:21-28

Over the past 9 years as a pastor Mark's become my favorite Gospel to read out loud, especialy with other people. I love to read Mark because the stories get right to the point without resolving every mystery of Jesus and the incarnation. Reading Mark 1 this week we hear Jesus speaking with power and authority in a synagogue and next witness him quickly entering into battle with the daemonic and winning.

Jesus is fresh in his ministry. He's been baptized and tempted. He called a few men to come and follow him. He started speaking and people were listening. And now his mission takes off in a new direction as a daemon appears and Jesus is ready to take it on.

23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. Mark 1:23-26 NRSV
The mystery of Jesus' identity and purpose isn't resolved by this story; instead a new layer of mystery and power have been added to Jesus identity. It's striking that the daemons knew Jesus' name and that the possessed man would seek him out to be saved. Clearly he came to do battle with forces beyond us. The hurting man came to the synagogue knowing he was their. The daemon cried out knowing it was in the presence of a greater power.

Sin came seeking Jesus in the form of temptation. The daemonic came and found Jesus ready for the fight. Sin and daemons will come against Jesus again in Mark, but the final enemy, death will be the last to rise up against him. Thanks be to God Jesus came to win.

Just read a great sermon by Lance Stone that takes this theme one step further by examining the daemon's place in the synagogue and the church's role in naming the daemons.

1 comment:

Nancy Marshall said...

Peace to you, Unlikely.
Thanks for your encouragement to blog. This conversation is a blessing to me. Thank you.
Last Sunday I was prepared to teach Mark 1:21-28...
Before church started a man (one of our regulars) "one from their synogogue" stood up and started shouting at me....with lots of "" and finger pointing. Then he pushed me down. I was not prepared for that and fell hard on the floor. Then he push another woman down. I tried to calm him down and he pushed me again then left and kicked a $275 BZE dent into the side of the church van.

I didnt have the courage to "cast out the demon". ARGH! I never grew up with that but... Oh my it was such a recasting of the story that it shook me to the core.

What to do? I dont know. I would like to have a BIG STRONG Man at church to greet him if he shows up again. (smile).
The rest of our group are all afraid of him.

My sisters and others say call the police and report him. But I think there is something different I am being called to. I dont know what. Just as I was trying to figure it out, a friend emailed me and told me a story about African Christians who are "fighting" their enemies by blessing them with gifts and kindness. They say that the enemies change and drop their insults. To me it's not so much an issue of effectiveness, but an issue of what is righteousness? So if you can pray with me about this, I think whatever I am to do will be clear. Eventually. This is the same man as the "cat" incident person in the blog.
I also have the phone number of some men (members of Pastor C's congregation) I can call if this young man shows up. But somehow, before Sunday I need to learn what God wants me to do.

The evil that mark talks about so often has not dissipated or morphed. It's really still very much a part of the present age, even if we call it by other names or other rationales.

Peace to you