Friday, September 13, 2013

Encountering Jesus: The Only Authority Over Evil

Here is a post from the ministry I work with, Rebirth: East St. Louis. This is a recap of the latest Bible study we had this past Wednesday night. Mark 1:21-28 is an amazing passage with much to teach us. 

“And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered into the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the religious teachers. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an evil spirit. And he cried out, ‘What do you have 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 evil spirit, convulsing him and screaming, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with real authority! He commands even the evil spirits and they obey him.’ And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.”
Mark 1:21-28
One of my favorite things about teaching Bible studies with our guys is the opportunity to be personally amazed by the passage of Scripture we are going through. This week, we continued ourEncounters with Jesus: How God Changes Everything series by going through Mark 1: 21-28. Even now, as I reflect on this passage, I am amazed at the Bible’s inexhaustible nature. There is so much great stuff jam packed into these 8 short verses. When considering the length of the entire Bible, Mark 1: 21-28 can seem quite miniscule. Yet, this passage tells us so much about who Jesus was, what He came to do, and how encountering Jesus is the only hope for the world.
After going through the story, I asked our guys, “why were the people so astonished and amazed at Jesus’ teaching and actions?” One of our students hit the nail on the head, “Because they had never seen anything like that before.” And that is exactly right. This story is much more than a vivid look at spiritual warfare or a story that proves that demons exist. Much more than that, this passage tells us that Jesus is the eternal, long awaited solution to the evil that exists in the world.
This scene would have astonished people not because they hadn’t seen or experienced evil face to face. No, that is something we all see and experience every single day. Jesus’ actions were astonishing because He is the only one in the history of mankind that had exercised such authority and power over evil.
Further, this authority over evil is something we all inherently long for. We all desire a day when we don’t have to live in fear of disease and death. We all long for the day when we don’t have to fear abuse and pain. When I asked our students about the evils they see and experience everyday, they had no problem identifying some. They are surrounded by death and poverty. And just like the rest of the world, they desire a day when evil no longer has the final say. Together, we long for someone or something to save the day.
In Mark 1:21-28, the people who were watching Jesus would have had the same hope and desire. They were astonished at Jesus because they had never seen someone who could actually fulfill that hope. Since evil entered the world, humans have tried again and again to find a solution. Whether it be trusting in political powers to bring peace, or a personal zeal to overcome evil, all man made attempts to defeat evil have come up short. Jesus is the only solution to our problem of evil and sin. He is the only authority over evil. Whether it was 2000 years ago in Capernaum, or present day East St. Louis, Jesus invites us to trust in him as the Holy One of God who has defeated all the powers of evil.

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