JAN 31. ORDINARY TIME. WK. 4. SUN. MK. 1. 21-28.
Updated: Jul 24
Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
The centrepiece of this reading are the words “he taught them with authority” which could be paraphrased: “he taught them on behalf of God”, which is certainly a unique description to apply to any “teacher”, but in this case it was well justified; - and his listeners could tell that the one they were listening to was no ordinary teacher!
And how quickly we forget, or overlook, the truth that this teacher left us his teachings, in the form of the Gospels, so we can continue to ponder them twenty centuries later; - and learn to live our own lives in imitation of Christ?
This is one of the tragedies of the modern world, that the Gospels are not given the attention and respect they deserve, as they contain, in simple words, the teaching of the Son of God, and how he wants his people to conduct themselves during their limited time on this earth.
Today’s world needs the Gospels like never before as the focus of life has clearly moved from “doing what is right”; - which is what Christ taught; - to “doing what we like”; - with Christ’s teachings being largely ignored by the majority of his people!
And it is not as if Christ did not provide “evidence” he was preaching the Truth. This is why, throughout the Gospels; - and again in today’s reading; - we find miracle after miracle to demonstrate that Christ was teaching on behalf of God!
Today’s reading portrays a common approach Jesus used, in that he would spend time preaching and teaching “the Good News” to his listeners, often in the temple, and then; - in order to demonstrate his “authority”; - he would perform a miracle!
In today’s example we find a “man possessed by an unclean spirit” who proclaimed “I know who you are: the Holy One of God”, a truth Christ went on to demonstrate when he said sharply; - “Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him.”
So, what we have in this common example is Christ passing on to his people the teachings of God, and then “backing up those teachings with a miracle”! This is the reason the Gospels are so important in today’s world, where the “teachings of God” are largely ignored; - despite Christ performing multiple miracles as “evidence” he was proclaiming Divine Truths to his followers; - with the ultimate miracle being his own rising from the dead!
Gospel Acclamation Matthew 4:16
A people in darkness have seen a great light:
a radiant dawn shines on those lost in death.