Epiphany – Exorcisms and Healings – Mark 1:21-2:12, pt.1

This Tuesday, we are gathering to discuss the Exorcisms and Healings found in Mark 1:21-2:12 As we sing in verse 3 of our hymn: “Manifest in making whole palsied limbs and fainting soul; / manifest in valiant fight, quelling all the devil’s might; / manifest in gracious will, ever bringing good from ill.”

Mark’s Gospel:

As we discussed last week, the first story each of the Gospel writers gives us after the calling of the disciples, serves to set the tone for how each gospel writer answers the question of “Who is Jesus?” John’s opening statement is that “On the third day, there was a marriage feast” where the wine never runs out. John 2:1-11. For Luke, Jesus is prophetic, and he opens with Jesus reading from the prophet Isaiah that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” Luke 4:16-30. Matthew sees Jesus as giving a new covenant to replace the one given on Mt. Siani to Moses, and he opens with “Seeing the crowds, Jesus went upon on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him and he opened his mount and taught them.” Matt. 5-7.

Mark opens with an exorcism. For Mark, Jesus is the one that does battle on our behalf against the spiritual hosts of wickedness to free us from this present evil age. Mark is apocalyptic. Jesus is the challenge to the dominion of evil. Mark is the first gospel written, and this is ultimately how the early church saw Jesus. See, Gal. 1:4, Eph.6:12, Revelation. Mark opens with Jesus’ victory over personified evil.

The Demons:

The word apocalypse simply means to unveil, uncover, or reveal, and specifically to reveal or uncover spiritual warfare that is ongoing between the forces of Good and Evil. In Mark, only the demons know who Jesus actually is. The demons are in the spiritual realm, and they immediately recognize their adversary. As the demon cries out in the beginning of the gospel: “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.” Mark 1:24. Or as the Legion cries out in the Gerasene demonic: “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” Mark 5:7. The demons believe – and they shutter. James 2:19. In Mark, Jesus compels us to both believe in the personification and embodiment of evil and to overcome the same.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is Kentucky Hot Browns. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here!

Question      Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces
                       of wickedness that rebel against God?
Answer        I renounce them.

Question      Do you renounce the evil powers of this world
       which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
Answer        I renounce them.

Question      Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you
                    from the love of God?
Answer        I renounce them.

Question    Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
Answer        I do.

1979 BCP 302

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