Is it JUST Semantics???
Over the course of these last two Sundays we hear in our Gospel reading from the first chapter of Mark, that Jesus has the authority to cast out demons and heal. Wow, right. Why can’t I do that?
I don’t believe in demon possession as ancient people did. I am sure some very good and faithful Christians believe in demon possession, but my mind, and faith lack that belief. But I know we all have demons that can get the better of us. Ego, lack of attention, lack of trust in God that God will provide, materialism, fears…we all have our demons, and yes Jesus has the power to heal us.
Believe in what Jesus teaches! Trust in his words! Orient your life around his teachings. I find healing and life “there”. I make this distinction between Believing in Jesus and Believing in “what he taught”, because in various verses where it says, “Faith IN Jesus” can be equally translated “Faith OF Jesus”, (Romans 3:22, 26, Galatians 2:16, 3:22). I’m want the Faith OF Jesus. For me this is faith. A faith that lives fully, abundantly, with grace and peace.
According to John 12:44, “Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me.”. For me, my faith is grounded in having the Faith OF Jesus. This is why parables are so vitally important to my faith. Jesus teaches about his understanding of God, his Trust, his Belief that God is loving, gracious, and should not be viewed as a distant tyrant, but instead as a “loving compassionate, dad”. That is the faith I want! His parables point to that type of God, that possibility of Faith. I don’t need to anchor it on Jesus as much as I want to anchor it toward whom/which Jesus points, God. His actions, not only his words, proclaim God as well. A sacrificial, self-giving love for others. That is the Faith OF Jesus and I want it. I want to organize my life around it. I want to follow him, by following his teachings.
These early verses of the Gospel of Mark, suggest that Jesus has authority over the unclean spirits/demons. I want the power of Jesus in my life. Authority is based on a role, once you find yourself no longer in that role, you don’t have that power. Chris Christie, recently retired Governor of New Jersey, attended a football game and stood in the VIP line, which he no longer has the authority to do, and was asked to get into the general admission line. Authority is nice, it’s a role, and once you are out of the role, you no longer hold the power of that office.
Power on the other had is available to everyone. But power is something I give to a person. My pastor might have authority in the church I attend, but have no power in my life, because I don’t respect his/her actions or words. Parents have authority to raise their children, but eventually as they get older and move out of the house, those same parents lack authority and want power! Receiving POWER only happen if your child respects you and your opinion. Jesus has lots and lots of power in my life. I guess I’m steeped in Jesus and I can’t imagine another way of living.
It’s a daily battle to fight demons in our lives, Jesus is a powerful force in that journey. We can change, repent, reform, be given new life, by listening and then “doing the will of the father”. Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father is my brother and sister and mother.”