Sermon, Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Series B

Sermon – Epiphany 4 – January 28, 2018
Mark 1:21-28 ‘From the Source’
CT: Jesus addresses us as the author of our lives; He’s in the know in every area of our lives and meets our deepest and greatest needs.

Intro: There are times when we receive second hand information and in order to make sure we’re not spreading a rumour it’s best to go back to the ‘horse’s mouth’; the source. In the same way, when our on-line self-helps fail to fix a product, we might send it back to the manufacturer; they should know how to fix it; they made it!
But when our lives are broken; where do you go for help? Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have all the answers at your fingertips, and in fact with so many denominations offering differing interpretations of the Bible, Christianity can be a confusing place to look for answers. People will superimpose their own ideas onto the biblical text to validate what they’re already doing, and our ears often hear only what we want to hear, or are slow to pick out the discrepancies.

Source: There were religious leaders in Jesus’ day who had differing interpretations of the Scriptures. But when Jesus came into the synagogue teaching, the people “were astonished, for He taught as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” We’re not told what Jesus said that day, only that the people were struck as with a blow; struck dumb with amazement! Jesus does not expound on something He heard from someone else; Jesus speaks as the source, with authority, “out of the original stuff!” He speaks and teaches about our lives that way, not as an observer or interpreter of humanity, but as the Author of your life.

Evil Surprised: While the people marvelled at Jesus’ teaching, it drew a very different response from a man with an unclean spirit. He cried out: “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” The demonic identify Jesus at the drop of a hat. It’s as if the evil forces in the world were caught off guard.
In the wilderness, the devil had already tested out this Son, acclaimed by the Father at His Baptism, to see what He was made of. Surely God veiled in human flesh was a cosmic mistake and would leave this Son as vulnerable, weak, and susceptible to sin as the first son, Adam. The demons are surprised, taken back, and frightened at this new approach from God. Humanity was their toy to torment; this was their playground, their turf, and their place to wield power—within limits. If God did not retrain evil, our world would be an unbearable place to live. But now God had changed the rules. This man had the power and authority to change forever the power sin and evil holds over all mankind. The demons already know they have to submit before the Creator of heaven and earth; what startles them is God’s authority spoken by a human tongue; God’s healing at the touch of a human hand; that the Son of God would submit Himself to becoming a man; Jesus of Nazareth.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against the cosmic powers and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12), but now these same demonic forces find themselves up against flesh and blood fully made one with the power and authority of the Son of God. It leaves them stunned—struck with a blow over the weakness of God—awestruck at the divine dignity shown to mankind—to you and me!

Power in Weakness: The spiritual world of evil was sent scrambling to avoid Jesus at all costs, but only to regroup in those they could control—in those who would betray Jesus, deny Jesus, abandon Jesus, and with the tools of pride and jealousy arrange for His death on a cross. And God’s power was made perfect in weakness. In the weakness of Jesus’ flesh He suffered, and was crucified, and died. A diabolical plan except for one thing; death came into the world because of sin and Jesus was without sin. This gave His blood the power to purchase you from evil’s power over you—to make forgiveness for the sins of the whole world a reality. You and I are forgiven for Jesus’ sake!

Our Source: God continues to astound the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms by making His power perfect in our weakness by applying Christ’s blood bought forgiveness to you and me, calling us children of God—saints in Christ Jesus—His holy ones. We too should be struck with amazement that God would dignify our earthly bodies with His Spirit—that God’s gift of faith given in our Baptism would shield and protect us from the devil and the power of death.
Jesus’ teaching is worth more than a cursory glance or a momentary consideration. Jesus is the One who has the original goods on you … all of it! He speaks about your lives even today as the One who gave you life, who redeemed your life, who gives you new life by the power of the Spirit to live with Him and for Him; He has secured eternal life for you. By His authority as Author of all things, His teaching is worth attending to because He speaks to the whole of your life that the Author of forgiveness might also be the Author and Finisher of your faith, transforming your lives into disciples; servants for Jesus’ sake.
There are a lot of places to turn when your life is broken, but none like going to the Source; Jesus. No matter what part of your life is broken or how badly it’s busted, even when you think you’ve exhausted all possibilities; there it hope. For Jesus is never exhausted or out of possibilities; He speaks to your life as the Author—“out of the original stuff!” At great cost, the Author of your life comes to you with His work of forgiveness; the God-sourced fix for your sin with a healing and restoring that lasts more than a lifetime—to all eternity.

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