Mark wanted to show right from the beginning that Jesus had the authority. That was important to Mark. He wanted to get across this message.
This Jesus of Nazareth was not merely a village preacher. He was the man with the authority.
After baptism, temptation, and calling of disciples, the first thing Mark recorded was what we read today.
Mark wanted to show that Jesus had the power over darkness. He had power over the evil spirit.
That was Mark’s witness. He saw that kind of power in Jesus. That is who Jesus is. Jesus has the power to defeat the evil of this world.
This poor man was tortured by the evil spirit. He could not be what he was supposed to be. He could not live his full potential.
Something more powerful than him controlled him. That was not what he wanted but the evil spirit controlled him.
We are not exactly like him. We won’t necessarily identify with this man. But, in fact, we are very much like him.
We are not as free as we think. We are tortured by the negative spirit often. We don’t want to feel that way but we do. Darkness hovers over us and this darkness leads us into despair and anxiety.
We cannot be what we are supposed to be. We cannot live our full potential. We are not living the best version of ourselves. Something else controls us.
It’s not that we are hungry. It’s not that we don’t have a place to live. It’s not that we don’t have clothes to wear.
And yet, we feel empty even though we are not hungry. We feel naked even though we have lots of clothes.
We have many worries even though we have everything. We constantly live in fear.
I don’t think doing well in our career will help us. I don’t think having more money will help us. I don’t think having more time will help us.
It is our internal problem. Since it is our internal problem, we cannot solve it externally by doing something.
Our biggest problem is that we don’t have the AUTHORITY over our life. We don’t feel the empowerment to live as we wish.
Jesus took out the evil spirit out of him. Jesus freed him from the power that enslaved him. People saw the authority of Jesus Christ.
What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him. (Mark 1:27)
They saw the authority working through Jesus. With that authority, Jesus restored the authority in that man.
That is what Jesus does to us. Jesus restores authority within us.
Living in God’s Image
You are beautiful. You are wonderfully made. Last week, we reflected on that through Rev. Simon Park’s sermon.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-15)
We are created in God’s image. But we lost the image of God.
You heard about unmarked graves they found in old residential schools.
We were all shocked when they found so many unmarked graves at the residential schools. They found 215 unmarked graves at Kamloops residential school.
Many of them were taken away from their parents against their wishes and their parents’ wishes. That was not what they wanted. That was not what their parents wanted. But they took them away anyway.
Some of them never returned home but no explanation. Now they know. They were buried.
In the name of assimilation and Christianization, they destroyed their language, their culture, and their identity. They destroyed the image of God in them.
That is what the evil power does. Destroying the image of God within us.
Jesus came to restore the image of God. Jesus came to give back to us the authority that makes us who we are supposed to be.
Jesus had the power to do that. His teaching was filled with authority.
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:21, 22)
Jesus had the authority and with that authority, he healed the man totally bounded by the evil spirit. By healing him, Jesus gave him back the authority he deserved.
Authority to live with the image of God. Authority to live as a child of God.
But interestingly, this is not the end of the message of Mark. Mark’s story is developed in a strange way.
Mark had a secret in his story. Mark wanted to reveal the mystery of the gospel. The secret of the gospel.
In the beginning, Mark showed that Jesus had the authority to defeat the power of darkness. But only in the beginning, Mark described Jesus’ power.
As the story progressed, Jesus didn’t do this kind of miracles any more. Even when he performed a miracle, he told people to be quiet. Don’t tell people about it.
Jesus was quiet. Often he talked about his own death. Peter even rebuked Jesus for that.
And ultimately his life ended with the cross, Mark said. Jesus emptied his authority and gave himself to darkness.
Mark wanted to show a radically new understanding of the authority. In Mark’s understanding, the true authority did not come from power. The authority was not revealed in the act of casting out demons.
The true authority was manifested in Jesus delivering himself into death. The authority of taking up the cross.
Where did this authority come from?
It came from Jesus’ love for us.
The ultimate power that can destroy the power of darkness is love. Mark understood that message.
That was what Jesus chose to do. He let go of his power and authority. He chose the cross. That was the authority of love.
Live with Love
Love is the most powerful authority that can chase away darkness and the evil power not just once but forever.
Only love can truly restore the image of God. You cannot solve your problem by having more power.
Find love in your life. Discover the love of God. Be filled with love. Love will cast out fear.
And when you have love, you will find the new authority of your life. With the authority of love, restore others’ authority. Restore the image of God in others.
Authority of love will overcome the power of death and bring about the resurrection.