Sunday, February 01, 2009

Some Thoughts On A Sermon

That's the preacher lady I'm married to. Today, she took as her text the Gospel story, in St. Mark's Gospel, Chapter 1, verses 21-28:
21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

She said some really remarkable things in this sermon. One really brave confession. If we can get up to date, you can even hear it, or down load it here, scrolling down the right-side menu and clicking on the tab that says "Sermons 2009".

One point I would like to draw out was the picture she painted. She challenged the idea that the demoniac here in Capernaeum was similar to the demoniac living in the graveyard in Ganesaret. Rather than a crazed lunatic cut off from all social contact, she offered the suggestion that perhaps this was an individual who attended Shabbat every Saturday, a pillar of the local community, nodded his head in all the right places during the reading and expounding of the texts by the local scribe or rabbi.

Then, along comes Jesus. What authority does he have to speak on the text? He's not learned! He's no scribe, no rabbi-trained teacher! The demon within this man shouts out, "What have you to do with us?"

If this idea doesn't make you squirm, maybe you aren't paying attention . . .

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