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The Kingdom Spreads Ministers message

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Sunday 1st Feb 2015 Epiphany 4 9:30am, St A’s & 6:30pm St Pete’s

The Kingdom Spreads   Deut 18:15-20 & Mark 1:21-28

 

Today’s Gospel follows imediately on from the calling of the first disciples. While Jesus appeared alone at the beginning of the Gospel, his first public action, in the synagouge at Capermaum, is done in the company of the disciples.

 

There is a newness and authority about Jesus and his teaching which puzzle his first listeners. He is not passing on a word from ‘The Tradition of the Elders,’ as did the Scribes. The word from Jesus is a word from God and its purpose is the establishment of the Kingdom. However, the presence of the person of Jesus is already the presence of a Kingdom where God is King. As such the opposing presence of evil cannot be tolerated.

 

In the ancient world, to call a person by their right name gave you power over them. This is what the unclean spirit attempts to do by naming Jesus: ‘The Holy one of God.’ The demon, calling Jesus by his correct name, seeks to take possesion of him. But with Jesus, such evil cannot hope to be victorious.

 

The authority of Jesus cannot be undermined by any cultural or religious practices. Jesus drives out the evil so that only goodness reigns. The coming of Jesus drives out evil. The Kingdom of God is a place where peace and goodness are established. The first act of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark is to etablish goodness in the place of evil.

 

There are many powerful influences in the world today, as there were in Jesus time. The people of those days spoke of a possesion by an evil spirit which succumed to the goodness of Jesus. The evil spirits which dominate our world are more subtle – but pehaps more devestating. As children of the kingdom we have privileged access to a place where peace and goodness reign. However, it is strongly threatened by the compromises and the real wickedness that surrounds us.

 

We all nead to take the Gospel seriously, to allow the Kingdom of God to provide the rule of our lives. The attractive temptation to live by a more destructive rule is close at hand.

 

(Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year B, by Francis J. Moloney, pages 142-3).

 

 

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 – A New Prophet Like Moses

15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. 16 This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” 17 Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. 19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

 

Mark 1:21-28 – The Man with an Unclean Spirit

21 They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24 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.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 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.” 28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

an evil spirit which succumed to the goodness of Jesus. The evil spirits which dominate our world are more subtle – but pehaps more devestating. As children of the kingdom we have privileged access to a place where peace and goodness reign. However, it is strongly threatened by the compromises and the real wickedness that surrounds us.

 

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