Bible Book: Mark / Markus
Verse (to): 28
Text: Mark 1:21-28
What do you think the immediate reaction was of that first church for whom Mark wrote this gospel, when they heard verse 23? “Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?’” On hearing this, would they have remembered similar incidents in their church and community? For instance how an orderly, relaxed atmosphere could be turned into a tense situation (or even chaos) within a few seconds when a “troublemaker” enters?
This question made me think back on incidences where church services had been disrupted by, for example, the uncontrolled behaviour of someone who was emotionally unstable, or somebody who was under the influence of alcohol, or someone who had different convictions and wanted to use this opportunity to persuade others that s/he was right. I remember that they had all turned the whole atmosphere of tranquillity around within a matter of seconds: would this person disrupt everything, or would someone be able to calm him/her down again?
Mark’s story about the man who was possessed by the evil spirit and who came into the synagogue states loudly and clearly: Jesus is able to handle this man, this evil spirit and this confrontation. He handles this situation with authority, so that the man is liberated from his oppression. The evil spirit wants to create chaos – Jesus brings the Kingdom and offers healing.
Our hearts are filled with fears. I name but a few: We fear anarchy and chaos. We fear confrontation. We fear that the willingness of others to reveal a secret will make people suspect that I am also living with that secret. We fear the positive results of an HIV test. We fear that our irresponsible actions of the past will catch up with us in the future. We fear that we will act unkindly when a friend or family member or loved one confronts us with a painful secret. When we try to suppress or deny our fears, it creates the unhealthy situation that our fears prevent us from acting with the love of Christ.
It is good to know that Jesus can handle everything that we fear. Where Jesus is present, He can handle every crisis and carry us through it. In his presence we can give our fears a name and “look them squarely in the eye”.
The full story of Mark’s gospel teaches us that it is not enough to stand in awe of Jesus’ authority, like the people of Capernaum did. Jesus reveals Himself in this manner so that we may become his disciples. Disciples who are looking for the Kingdom when crises arise, and who represent Jesus in such a way that there will be healing and restoration.
Author: N du Toit (Ds)