Saturday after the First Sunday after Epiphany
Posted on January 14, 2023 byunder
Scripture: St. Mark 1:21-28 (NKJV)
1:21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
The topic of demon possession is very confused, and the unchurched frequently get their ideas from movies. We note two things about demonic possession from this text: first, where it happens; second, how it is cast out.
The demon-possessed man is in the synagogue where the Christ is teaching. There is a demon mixed in among the worshipers. This requires sober reflection: the devil loves to attack the Christian Church from the inside. We are not free of his influence even in the Divine Service.
However, when the Christ gives a command, the devil must obey. The devil is cast out by the Word of God. Our only protection is in the Word of God. This does not mean that the devil obeys us. Though our Lord, at one time, promised the apostles that the devil would obey them, He has not promised this to all saints of all time. But He has promised us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through His Word and sacraments. It is not the work of exorcism that protects us, but the ordinary marks of the Church—faithful preaching, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Sometimes God allows the devil freedom to test us, but if we trust in God’s Word and sacraments, there is nothing meaningful the devil can do: he cannot take away our salvation.
Prayer: O Lord, we beseech Thee mercifully to receive the prayers of Thy people who call upon Thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.