Jesus drives out a demonic spirit. His teaching is recognized as being something “completely new” because He presents Himself with “authority”. By whose authority do we live our lives?
GOD’S KINGDOM GROWS
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
In the Gospel reading last Sunday we heard Jesus announce that God’s Kingdom has arrived (Mark 1:14-15). Then Jesus calls disciples to follow Him in order to strengthen and advance that blessed Kingdom (vv. 16-20).
Today’s Gospel immediately follows the calling of the first disciples (Mark 1:21-28). Appearing together with His disciples in the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus teaches with an “authority” (v. 21). Unlike the Scribes, Jesus does not reiterate a word from the tradition. Rather, the presence and power of Jesus is the very Kingdom of God. Thus, it is no surprise that evil cannot be tolerated and why the unclean spirit must shriek in agony (vv. 23-24).
In the ancient world, power is wielded over another by calling their true name. This is what the unclean spirit attempts to do by pronouncing Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” This is the first time in the Gospel that a character calls Jesus by name correctly.
However, evil hasn’t the power to control the living God nor can it control those sincerely following Jesus and placing themselves within God’s Kingdom.
As God’s Kingdom spreads, evil is scattered. So it always remains with our own lives.
Just it was for the earliest disciples, there are many powerful forces in our world today vying for our attention. As children of God’s Kingdom we have privileged access to a place where peace and goodness reign. It is for us to take the Gospel seriously and to allow God to provide the rule of our daily living. Although temptations to live by self-destructive rules seek are lurking all around us, they only have power to the degree we permit them and foolishly reject God’s sovereignty.