How much do we expect miracles to happen when we come to church on Sunday morning?
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Mark 1:21-28
On the Sabbath day Jesus entered the synagogue in Capernaum and began to teach. Everyone was astonished at his teaching. To experience the teaching of Jesus face to face would be a miracle in and of itself.
Immediately there was a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue. This might seem like the beginning of a Sunday school story. What I mean is that this seems like something that happened a long time ago. Sunday stories are nice for the kids, but for me, a rational and thinking adult, do they mean much to me?
The question of this man with the unclean spirit is an important question for me. I don’t think I have a head twisting evil spirit working through me, but dangerous and subtle yet still is my own unclean heart.
He asks, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you are–the Holy One of God?”
What has Jesus come for? What does he desire to do with us sinners who have been made unclean through impure thoughts and wicked ways?
Exorcism stories might seem strange to you, I know that they are almost unreal stories for me. But I know the truth of what it means to live hostile in my heart against God’s desires for me. I know what I want to do according to my faith, but according to my body I seem to daily struggle. I understand the worry of the man with the unclean spirit. My God, I am a sinner. He should want to do remarkably horrible things to me. But Jesus told that unclean spirit, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
I have not been able to give that kind of command to myself. I have tried to tell myself to stop and start following God’s commands. It is the power of the Jesus’ words and works that I need. It is in that synagogue that I find the miracle of Jesus at work. He drives out sin and fills the space with his teaching.
May I obey my savior with my heart and with my deeds. Indeed it will only be by the word of Jesus that I will be made clean.