Key Text

Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,"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."
But Jesus rebuked him, saying,"Be silent, and come out of him!"
And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another,"What is this? A new teaching-- with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

cited from the NRSV

Image of the week

January 31, 2006

Driving out the demon in the temple

Jesus Casting out the demon in the temple

original source

For the previous image (31 December 2005), click here.

 

Present Context

For Reflection

Here at the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Mark's gospel, we find an immediate encounter with evil. We ought not be surprised about this, except for its location: in the synagogue.

We are so condtioned to looking "out there" for evil, that we are blinded to its presence in our midst. Perhaps we explain it as "that's just us", or as a quirk of our community, or ourselves. In others we might not be so gracious.

The confrontation with evil is a consistent theme in Jesu's ministry from beginning to end, and it regularly occurs "on the inside". When Peter has made the first profession of faith, he is shortly rebuked, "Get behind me, Satan". Similarly at the sharing of the last supper, Judas dips his bread with Jesus, immediately before Satan "entered into him".

To commit ourselves to spirituality with integrity requires a commitment to examine ourselves. This often requires the help of others. How bold are we to so honestly examine ourselves, and to let others take part in this (in a reciprocal, loving and constructive way)?

 

Prayer:
Today, O Lord, I yield myself to you.
May your will be my delight today.
May your way have perfect sway in me.
May your love be the pattern of my living.

I surrender to you
my hopes,
my dreams,
my ambitions.
Do with them what you will, when you will, as you will.

I place into your loving care
my family
my friends
my future.
Care for them with a care that I can never give.

I release into your hands
my need to control,
my craving for status,
my fear of obscurity.
Eradicate the evil, purify the good, and establish your kingdom on earth.
For Jesus’ sake,
Amen.

(Richard Foster)

for an excellent sermon on this text click here.

To engage in reflection on this challenge, click here.