Mark 1:21-28, Epiphany 4B
Theme: Jesus Recognized
One of this Sunday’s lectionary texts takes us to the gospel of Mark. In the last part of the first chapter, the author tells of Jesus and some of his chosen followers entering a synagogue in Capernaum on a sabbath. Jesus was asked to speak.
As those attending that day heard Jesus’ words, they were impressed with his authoritative delivery and the depth of his knowledge. While speaking, a man identified as possessed of an “unclean spirit” interrupted him.
The possessed man said, “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.”
The unclean spirit recognized him.
After reflecting on this text and the incident recorded, several questions come to mind.
1. Things or people “unclean” were not allowed in the synagogue. How did he get in? Did he sneak in?
2. Most modern scholars claim that ancient peoples in the world identified the possessed as those who today would be considered “mentally handicapped.” I remember a professor who taught my Intro to Psychology Class in college explaining that a “mentally handicapped” person was one who exhibits behavior outside of the norm. Often such behavior would cause a society to at best ostracize, or at worse physically isolate (institutionalize) that person. Did this man have a mental disease or was there an evil spirit possessing him?
3. Would a neutral person in attendance that day tend to categorize both the possessed man and Jesus as abnormal? Would said person have difficulty differentiating between them?
4. Did Jesus’ act of expelling the evil spirit out of the man change the opinion of those who were observing the event?
5. Did Jesus’ actions reassure those observing they were safe?
6. The author of Mark states that this event made Jesus famous, and the news of Jesus’ actions spread throughout the surrounding area. Did those hearing the news consider it good?
Come and attend one of our worship services this Sunday at First Christian Church in Warrensburg as we consider how Jesus’ ministry and teaching affects us.