Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark opens his Gospel not with the birth of Jesus, but his baptism. And just a few verses later in chapter one, while preaching in a sanctuary Jesus casts out a demon from a possessed man. Many were surprised with the confidence with which Jesus did his work, and that he exhibited power over an “evil spirit.”
Although we may not possess power to perform exorcisms, we do have a power as a Christian people to be a strong, positive influence in the lives of others. Several stories of “evil people” have one thing in common — they joined a radical movement (for instance, the white supremacist movement) because it was a group with whom they finally felt accepted. What if we were able to get to them first?
But we cannot go at it alone. As followers of Jesus, we go to church and worship among our community of believers to develop our practices of piety. Those practices of piety prepare us for works of mercy. And it is only then — when we love our neighbor — that we achieve holiness.
“Holy One of God”
Sermon by Dr. Robert Foster
Mark 1: 21-28
Jan. 28, 2018