Epiphany 4. Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 & Mark 1: 21-28

Epiphany 4. Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 & Mark 1: 21-28


The evil spirit cries out to Jesus.  ‘Have you come to destroy us?’  And Jesus rebukes the evil spirit.  ‘Be silent and come out of him.’ 

Evil recognises who Jesus is.  Evil knows Jesus has come to offer battle.  Evil knows it will lose.  ‘Have you come to destroy us?’ 

But even as Jesus does battle, he loves the person who is possessed.  Through his love and his action he separates the man from the evil that dominates him.   ‘Be silent,’ he says to the spirit, ‘and come out of him.’

Jesus has no fear in this situation.  He knows victory is his.  The man before him will be separated from evil.  He will be transformed.

In our Old Testament reading this morning we heard the promise of God to raise up prophets for the people of Israel. 

The prophets were not afraid (most of the time).  They knew victory was God’s.  They were implacably opposed to evil.  They confronted it boldly.  They warned people who were possessed by evil that it would lead to their destruction.  But they also said that God loved them and would restore them.  They believed in God’s transformation of his people through a separating out of evil and the people who were possessed by evil.

As Disciples of Christ we are called to follow him. We are called to confront evil and yet love the person who is possessed by evil; trusting in their transformation, trusting in the power of love to separate the person from the evil that dominates them. 

But the struggle will be hard.  The evil spirits fled from Jesus because they knew that he had more power than them and that the victory was his.  They won’t always flee from us. 

So in these struggles, whether we are caring for a person with poor mental health whom we cannot seem to heal, or we are in some other painful and intractable situation and we can feel the love we have for the person who is possessed running out and we can feel the pain that they are inflicting on us; what do we do?

We can remember the last words Jesus spoke to the disciples in Matthew’s Gospel.  What was it Jesus said?  ‘And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’.

He is with us always and we can choose to consciously take him with us into the situations that fill us with dread and despair.  He had no fear and knowing he is with us will give us courage.  The courage to confront evil while loving and embracing the human being, the child of God who is in front of us.


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