31/01/2021 | Power & Authority in Action

Jesus Casts Out an Evil Spirit

21 Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.

23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Warm Up: “Put on your Spectacles!”

When we read the Bible, we must keep certain “lenses” in our spectacles in place to help us better understand what the text is trying to accomplish: for example lenses such as “who is the author”; “when did they write the text”; “who is the intended audience”; “what is the point the author is trying to make to that audience” …. And only when we have done that, then we put the lenses in place such as “what does this bible reading say to me…. In the context of my personal life?” This approach helps us to learn to read the Bible responsibly, and makes the texts come alive! Can you think of how your culture, or your home language, or your gender, or your life experiences might influence how your read the Bible?

  1. What town was Jesus in, and to whom, was Jesus teaching? Why is this audience so significant, so important, to keep in mind when reading this story?
  2. What do you think Mark means with the words “real authority” in vs. 22?
  3. Why did Jesus reprimand (rebuke) the evil spirit in vs. 25?
  1. This reading presents us with a power struggle that took place at the outset of Jesus’ ministry. Mark wants the audience to understand what real “power” and real “authority” is, and that exercising true power and authority has consequences for life on earth, and for eternal life too! The focus for our meditation this week:
  • Generally speaking: What models of power and authority seem the most acceptable to use in the world today?
  • Personally speaking: To which voices, to which powers and to which types of authority do you give permission to, that influence your thoughts and how you live your life?