Day 318 | Sunday, 31 January 2021
The assigned Scripture readings for this the fourth Sunday after Epiphany are: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28.
Mark 1:21-28 Jesus throws a demon out (CEB)
21 Jesus and his followers went into Capernaum. Immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and started teaching. 22 The people were amazed by his teaching, for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts. 23 Suddenly, there in the synagogue, a person with an evil spirit screamed, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the holy one from God.”
25 “Silence!” Jesus said, speaking harshly to the demon. “Come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit shook him and screamed, then it came out.
27 Everyone was shaken and questioned among themselves, “What’s this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands unclean spirits and they obey him!” 28 Right away the news about him spread throughout the entire region of Galilee.
21 Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching.
22 They were surprised at his teaching - so forthright, so confident - not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.
23 Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out,
24 "What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to! You're the Holy One of God, and you've come to destroy us!"
25 Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!"
26 The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly - and got out.
27 Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. "What's going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!"
28 News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.
In this first chapter of Mark, we are witnessing the early period of Jesus’ ministry which demonstrates his authority and power. “Jesus calls his first disciples. Without hesitation they leave their work and follow him. James and John even leave their father, Zebedee, leaving behind only hired hands to help him, an action that people in Jesus’ culture would consider scandalous. Jesus’ authority is apparent to hearers of his teachings. In this context, authority refers to Jesus’ role as God’s designated representative. Hence, he is the true interpreter of Scripture. This authority is confirmed through exorcism of demons. The unclean spirit recognizes that Jesus is God’s holy one who is able to destroy the demonic. One explanation of these passages is that Jesus wishes to demonstrate behavior that is humble rather than self- seeking. In Jesus’ world, people expected a favor to be repaid by a favor, a gift by a gift.” That was not Jesus’ way. (Wesley Study Bible, Contemporary English Bible pages 1252-1253)
Holy God, thank you for the Gospel writers who help us understand Jesus. We selfishly wish he were walking our streets today riding our society of the evil that exists. Be with us, your servants, as we find ways to do our part to eliminate the evil around us. When we feel the demons with us, guide our thoughts and prayers. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
COVID update as of 1/29 4PM Total cases in the county – 6,561; 409 active; 2,308 isolated; 1,678 in zip 14701 with 16 new; 266 in Lakewood; 1,234 in Dunkirk with 14 new. Total deaths are now at 103.