Thursday, October 20, 2005
A new sheriff

For this reason the Son of God appeared: to destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:8b

Tonight at The Rock / La Roca, we continued our discussion of Mark's Gospel. The last time we met, we had talked about the call of the fishermen in 1:16-20. Tonight we talked about the man with the unclean spirit in 1:21-28. We were fewer in number this evening - Mona and Diana and Diana. Jeff dropped in for a few minutes while he waited for music practice to start and Steve arrived at the very last minute as he was attending Joey's graduation from the first phase over at the mission.

Jesus takes his four new disciples with him into the lake village of Capernaum. On the Sabbath (the sacred day), they go to the synagogue (the sacred gathering place). Here Jesus teaches and the crowds are astounded. Suddenly, a man with an "unclean spirit" interrupts the proceedings. He knows Jesus and why he is there: "Have you come to destroy us?" And Jesus tells him to shut up. This amazes the crowd even more.

We talked about the story of God in the Bible, from the creation that God deems good to the disobedience of Adam and Eve, which causes all hell to literally break loose. And then here comes Jesus. As Diana puts it, "A new sheriff is in town." Exactly. Jesus enters a world of darkness and brokenness and pain and begins to turn it all upside-down. Or maybe turning it back right-side-up is a better way of thinking.

We talked about Jesus being an authority figure. He speaks and disciples follow. He speaks and demons go quiet. Here at the outset of Jesus' public ministry, the first thing the narrator of Mark establishes is Jesus as the authority over the spiritual realm. Jesus is the authority over the forces of darkness.

We talked about the significance in the order of these two passages - the fishermen and the unclean spirit. Why do they follow one after the other? Jesus calls to Peter and Andrew, James and John, "Follow me," with no qualifiers or elaboration. These sucker disciples have no idea what they are getting themselves into. And now in the synagogue we begin to see what the practical ministry of Jesus will look like. The life of the disciple is one of authority, and here specifically, authority over the spiritual forces of evil.

We talked about what it is that keeps us from living in this authority that Jesus invites us to follow into. We seemed to boil it down to pride, that trusting in my own self-sufficiency leads me to forget the authority that Jesus brings. Jesus gives us the authority to push back against the darkness in our lives. To follow Jesus is to do what he does.

It may appear that all hell has broken loose, and the darkness may be a thick blanket. But there is a new sheriff in town.

posted by Peter at 12:04 AM
| | permalink |