Wowsers! Reflections 1-24-18

 For January 31, 2018
 Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

 Mark 1:21-28

 Astounding! The people in the Gospel for this coming Sunday are simply astounded when Jesus struts in the synagogue and begins teaching. Wow! This guy really owns this.  We’ve never seen someone who teaches like this: with authority.

Then suddenly a man with an unclean spirit (whatever that is) recognizes Jesus as something more than your average someone. Jesus silences and sends that spirit packing. Amazing! But you know what those same people are amazed about after that man appears? Jesus’ teaching. 

Wait. What? 

I’m pretty sure I would describe that scene as the teaching being interrupted by this new character in the story. And as a part of that second act, a healing or exorcism happened – which is pretty amazing. But for these onlookers, that moment is a continuation of his new teaching with authority.


Authority.  A right to do something? Confidence? Control? Permission?  Special knowledge? Power?

Boy, some of those are really loaded words, aren’t they? And not pretty in action. The sports doctor for the women’s gymnastic team just got sentenced today. With his “authority” he felt he had a right, had control, had power, and maybe even unspoken permission to abuse the young athletes. Those who perpetrate mass shootings (as in a Kentucky school yesterday) often express an authority to do what they do because the shooting is their right to get revenge or to express their frustration in life.  

In so many ways, our culture uses authority against “fullness of life”. 

Interestingly, if you trace the word authority back to it origins, it comes from  a Latin word meaning originate, increase, promote. In English, it becomes “author”, someone who causes something to happen…. creator. 

Think a minute about the creation story; God’s Word makes things happen. The Word is the author of life. The Gospel of John, says the Word became flesh and moved in with us, bringing life abundant. 

And Mark would say that Word brought a teaching-that-reveals-authority which has not been seen in a human before.  It is new, unprecedented, holding a truth, a meaning, a significance that can drive out the forces that rob life of the fullness intended by God. 

It is the presence of the kingdom of God. 

Your thoughts?

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Iowa City, IA 52245