Reflections of the Scriptures Fourth Sunday of the Year Gospel B Jesus confronts the power of evil

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 Fourth Sunday of the Year B: Gospel 

Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. 

The synagogue was the local meeting place that the Jews would gather in to hear the Scriptures read, to receive instruction, and to pray for various needs. It was mainly a rectangular room. From excavations it seems that the people when seated faced Jerusalem. 

The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.  

“he taught as one having authority” means that he did not repeat what other rabbis said, but taught on his own in the tradition of the prophets of old.

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;  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!" 

The spirit knows and fears the power of Jesus to destroy his influence. This is one of the reasons the Word became flesh: to defeat and overcome the power of the Evil One over God’s people. This was the work of the Messiah prophesied in the Scriptures.

The spirit in fear and reaction, not in love and faith, confesses who Jesus is and attempts to block his mission. Notice how the spirit acknowledges Jesus publicly even for the wrong reason,  but the scribes were not able.

Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

This public amazement will be one of the initial reasons for the latter hostility toward him by the leaders.

Jesus not only teaches with authority but acts with authority.

Where have I experienced the power of Jesus over evil in my own life? Where are the strongholds of the Evil One in my life? Am I ready to submit them to the saving and healing power of Jesus?

Take some time this week to identify those areas and to bring them to the Lord with total trust.

Mark doesn’t tell us what Jesus taught but shows us the effect of his teaching. How attentive am I to the teachings of Jesus and to what effects have the teachings of Jesus had in my life?

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