The world can be a scary place, and in our anxiety we sometimes turn towards things that hold no real safety.
We serve a God in whom we find our true solace. Take some time now to turn to God, and put your fears aside.next >
Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
Mark 1:23-28next >
People in Jesus’ time believed that there were lots of evil, powerful, invisible spirits loose in the world, and that these demons sometimes took control of people. An ordinary, innocent person could be “possessed” without warning — pretty scary! Most people wore magic charms and said spells to keep demons away, but sometimes people still got trapped, like this poor man.
Notice: He is in synagogue — his community can’t cure him, but they are still caring for him. Notice: The demon is afraid of Jesus, and Jesus orders him out of the man. God’s power is much greater than any evil. Notice: The same authority Jesus showed in his teaching enables him to overcome evil. He really believes God wants to rid the world of evil, and that gives him great authority.
Do we believe God can use us to cure some of the evils loose in our world?
Richard Vinsonnext >
O God, help me to free others from what holds them down. Help me to believe. Amen.next >
You are going out now into a dangerous world.
But walk on with confidence,
Knowing that your God is with you,
More powerful than any evil influence,
More trustworthy than any pretender.
Richard Vinson teaches religion at Salem College and New Testament for Union Presbyterian Seminary (Charlotte campus). He is a native of Alabama. He and his wife, Diane Lipsett, between them have five sons, one daughter-in-law, a 5-year-old grandson, a dog, and two cats.
Hold Me in Your Hand, Lord, Teach Me How to Live