January 30, 2000

Mark 1:21-28 (CEV)

Jesus and his disciples went to the town of Capernaum. Then on the next Sabbath he went into the Jewish meeting place and started teaching. Everyone was amazed at his teaching. He taught with authority, and not like the teachers of the Law of Moses. Suddenly a man with an evil spirit in him entered the meeting place and yelled, "Jesus of Nazareth, what do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who your are! You are God's Holy One.

Jesus told the evil spirit, "Be quiet and come out of the man!" The spirit shook him. Then it gave a loud shout and left.

Everyone was completely surprised and kept saying to each other, "What is this? It must be some new kind of powerful teaching! Even the evil spirits obey him." News about Jesus quickly spread all over Galilee.


1. What gives authority? A tangential way of coming at that is through the issue of time. Authority simultaneously connects with past teachings, present realities, and future hopes. Mostly we work on bringing the present into correlation with the past. The kind of authority described here also works out of a vision of the future breaking in upon the present. The future is to be the Realm of GOD, where healing is accomplished. In this way we test not only against that which has been revealed but against what needs to be revealed. In this way we change the present to be in accord with a new heaven and earth as differentiated from the visions of a previous time.

2. Cleansing from evil is never as easy as saying, "I wish I were better." It is a life-wrenching task. It is a time equivalent to the alcoholic who finally recognizes their alcoholism is in charge of their life, not them self. We all have resistances. Our Baptismal ritual begins with two deep questions about this:

A. "Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?"

B. "Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?"

Our intention to reject evil needs freedom and power to fulfill it.

3. Indeed! What kind of teaching is this? It is not an easy teaching. It is life-transformative. It moves us from what has been to what will be. We find ourselves moved to a new way of thinking and living that operates in a way entirely different than the way most of the world works. We become surprising people. So go ahead, surprise someone by living out of the future, not the past -- living out of the way you understand GOD prefers for you, not what others want from you in controlling ways.

Homepage | Sermon Prep