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Friday After the First Sunday in Epiphany Mark 1:23-28

January 12, 2018
By Bo Giertz

FRIDAY AFTER THE FIRST SUNDA IN EPIPHANY

And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit.

Mark 1:23

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Mark is telling us this story. Mark interpreted for Peter and followed him on his journeys. He tells us what he hear from Peter. Peter accompanied Jesus at that time. It was at synagogue in his hometown of Capernaum. Jesus preached with power and authority. The Divine Service had just ended when a sharp cry cut through the crowd of people. It was a possessed man, one of the many people in Palestine suffering from mental illness. We don't often see people affect this way today, but it is common in other parts of the world. This disease can make a person stiff as a board or give him convulsions. They might speak in strange voices or be strangely lucid and unpleasantly outspoken. At this time in history, people were convinced that there was an evil spirit at work here.

Now the possessed man began to cry, "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" (Mark 1:24). Naturally, there was great commotion. "But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent, and come out of him' " (Mark 1:25)! I Then the evil spirit, shouting angrily, left him. At last, the man became himself again, speaking normally and in a calm voice. Then everyone began to ask in astonishment: What is this? He commands even the evil spirits, and they obey Him,

This happened in the synagogue during the church service. It was Jesus' peculiar words—words with power and it authority—that had this strange effect. There are other spirits that possess us, and we know they can be very evil. They know very well who their worst enemy is—the wonderful Holy One of God. They are aware of His threat. They engage in the conflict, sometimes to the point where you can hear their choleric voices a long way away. But what happens then?

We Pray:

Lord, what happens then? You know how often we suffer defeat. The evil spirits refuse to yield. Were we too afraid? Too selfish? Did we not trust in You? Did we not dare to believe? Lord, I know that You possess power and authority. Let it come to me. Let it sweep through my heart and sweep everything away that prevents You from reign­ing therein. Lord, provide us with Your servants today, who can speak Your Word with power and authority, the Word that really is Yours. The Word that makes evil shy away and makes all of us ashamed yet at the same time happy and joyous over Your intervention. The Word that puts us in our place and shows us how wonderful it is that You have the kingdom and the power.