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In Word and Deed

In Word and Deed

(Mark 1:21-28)
If Mark’s Gospel were to be made into a movie that you could rent out from your local video store, it would undoubtedly be found in the ‘Action’ section. For in Mark’s Gospel, we learn through a variety of encounters, who Jesus ‘is,’ by what he ‘does.’ Today’s Gospel reading is a case in point.
In the synagogue in Capernaum, Mark demonstrates the authority of Jesus by showing what happens when a man with an unclean spirit encounters the One anointed with God’s Spirit.
The passage contains two episodes that make the same point. In the first, Mark shows that Jesus teaches with unique authority, unlike and indeed surpassing that of the Scribes (vv.21-21). In the second, Jesus puts his authoritative word into action.
Mark emphasised that all who were present were astonished at Jesus, for the authority by which he spoke was the same authority by which he could expel a demon.
Thus, Jesus’ words were backed up by his actions, in that together, in both word and deed, He ushered in the Kingdom of God.
For most Christians in today’s Western society, the idea of possession by a personal force of evil and an expulsion of a demon, leaving the ‘host’ changed and restored to normality, sounds at best far fetched and at worst decidedly suspect.
Yet in Jesus’ world, and for Mark, the demonic dimension was as real as the divine, and a Messiah who left the forces of evil unchallenged would be of little interest. You see, the reality is, that there is no sphere of life that falls outside of Jesus’ extraordinary authority; there is no predicament into which people may fall from which He cannot rescue them.