Real Authority: Reflections on Mark 1:21-28

Jesus is the one who bears God's unique authority and power to drive down the authority of the demons. "In the miracles we are meant to see the force of God's kingly rule driving back the frontiers of darkness and reclaiming God's creation for God." Jeffrey John, in his book The Meaning in the Miracles, points out that it is a measure of the Pharisees' resistance that seeing Jesus' miracles and the good produced by his healings, they still raise their voices and attribute it all to Satan. (John, 13) But the unclean spirit recognizes the sound of the real enemy's voice. The real enemy of chaos and sin is Jesus. The enemy of the unclean spirit is Jesus.

When that which is sinful and unclean in our lives recognizes that Jesus is coming too close for comfort, we resist. That goes for individuals and communities. We react with uneasiness. Emotions of an ugly nature get stirred up. Maybe it would be best if we named our central anxiety and remembered the saving Authority of God's voice. The One whose voice and presence can drive out our demons is in the house. Amid all the competing voices we hear, we should listen to his.

"Have you come to destroy us?" asks the unclean spirit. He already knows the answer. Because he has heard Jesus' voice. If we do the same, what will have to be evicted from our lives?

Sources consulted
Mary R. Thompason, S.S. M.N, The Role of Disbelief in Mark: A New Approach to the Second Gospel (Paulist Press, 1989).

Jeffrey John, The Meaning in the Miracles, (Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2004).

1/23/2012 5:00:00 AM