Sport is competition. When we sign up to play a game we expect resistance. But for many we are surprised when we experience push back while trying to live a Gospel life. We're shocked to see opposition, even hate, to the message of Christ. We shake our heads in disbelief.
In this text, Mark 1:21-28 we find Jesus' teaching interrupted by a man consumed by a devil.
Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.
23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil[a] spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.
Let's notice a few facts worth bearing out:
1. The demon knew who Jesus was and expressed his identity openly when he said, "I know you are the Holy One of God!"
2. Evil knows God exists but simply chooses to oppose Him.
3. Evil is no threat to God but it does delight in the decay and destruction of human souls and anything that might bring glory and honor to God.
4. If you choose to follow in the way of Christ, you will be on a path of both resistance and of fellowship with God.
Ever wonder how a person becomes demon possessed? Me too. We don't know for certain but we can be thankful that even when one is found in that state, God can heal and free one's spirit from such bondage. Thank God for his mercies.
I believe there is a larger message in this story that will be helpful for us all. For those who decide to live godly we will encounter opposition, discrimination, ridicule, and even hate. That's par for the course. The fall of man has invited evil and devastation into our world, that's a fact awaiting God's judgment and removal in the final day. Let us be a people who mourn the condition of man but also offer hope. Far be it from us to return evil for evil. Let us never be guilty of spite or hate. Let us be people who stand in the light always reaching out with deeds of love and sacrifice, not simply words. Isn't this what Jesus did?