Category Archives: Lent 2017

You are the Holy One of God! (Mk 1:21-28)

Meditating on Mark in Lent — Mark 1:21-28 

I’m reading slowly through the book of Mark during Lent this year, seeking what I can learn about God and what I can learn about being a follower of Jesus from each passage. I’m also letting my imagination get involved and trying to crawl into each story, to let it speak to me as it will and to respond from inside. I’ve decided to share some of them here as I go along and would love to hear your comments and reflections on the same scriptures.

a new teaching with authority

They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (English Standard Version)

 

Wow! What was that? I imagine myself there in the synagogue listening to Jesus speak. There Jesus is, up front, teaching like so many others have done on so many other Sabbaths. But something is different. There is something about what this man says or how he says it that grips me, grabs our attention. What is it? I can’t put my finger on it, but its is different than the other teachers. And we all lean in and listen intently, focused on his every word and thought.

Suddenly, off to the side a bit, a man calls out, screams, jarring us with his interruption. “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? . . . I know you you are, the Holy One of God.”

My body tenses with the interruption. My heart pounds. Now what? What is going on? Who is this man? What will Jesus do? Will he raise his voice and teach over the man? Will he order the man out? I wait and watch, tight with anxiety.

But Jesus doesn’t seem flustered. He simply says, “Be silent, and come out of him.”

They come out, but not silently. And not without a scene. Convulsions and crying out, more screams. What is happening? Everything is out of control. Chaos! For a second. Then silence.

Calm and quiet, for a few seconds anyway, as we strain to see the man rise, back in his right mind. We watch silently, for a second, and then a new noise ripples through the room. Murmurs. Exclamations. Questions. Shouts. What just happened? What did we witness? Who is this Jesus? The demons obeyed him right before our eyes! 

This Jesus must be from God!

Wow, Jesus! This is what John was seeing as he looked ahead at your baptism. You are the “One who is mightier”! You have authority over even the spirit realm, over unclean spirits. You have authority in teaching and in action. You are the One we are watching for. You are the Holy One of God!

I want to know  more. Jesus, I am going to watch and listen and learn and see what you do next. I am going to follow you. I want to know all about you. I want to know who you are. I want to know you! Where you are is where I want to be!

 

 

 

 

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Watching for the One to Come.

Meditating on Mark in Lent — Mark 1:1-8 

I’m reading slowly through the book of Mark during Lent this year, seeking what I can learn about God and what I can learn about being a follower of Jesus from each passage. I’m also letting my imagination get involved and trying to crawl into each story, to let it speak to me as it will and to respond from inside. I’ve decided to share some of them here as I go along and would love to hear your comments and reflections on the same scriptures.

Mark 1 7

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins . . And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  (English Standard Version)

John, you were big news in your day. You were preaching and people were listening — lots of people. Not just listening, but responding. Was it hundreds? Thousands? We don’t know, but big crowds from all over the area. You were the latest sensation and riding a swell of stardom. And here you turn and tell the people that the really big deal is not you, is not here yet, is still to come. You change things up and prepare to shift the attention and applause to one who is coming. You announce here that you are not the main act; you were merely the opener and the real star is getting ready to take the stage. 

You begin to shift their focus, John. Their eyes began to move from you to what’s next. Their imaginations are being challenged. Bigger than you, John? Mightier than you? Look how God is at work in you! Look at the power he has given you! Who could come that is bigger than you? Who is he? What will he look like? When will he come? Just WHO is this one who is coming??

Oh, God, what a stage you set for the arrival of your Son!  I feel my heart responding to this announcement. I feel the longing, the desire, the eagerness anew for the one who came after John, the one John could only begin to describe, the one who was mightier. I feel the yearning for this mysterious one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. 

As I begin this journey through the book of Mark, I am watching eagerly for you, Jesus. I am listening for you to speak in new ways. I will yield my mind to your teaching and my heart to your call. Oh, One who is mightier than I, One who is mightier than the great Baptizer, One who comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, in this Lenten season, in this journey through Mark, I am watching for you to come.