And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
—Mark 1 21-28.
King James Version, because I don’t have the energy to deal with copyright permissions this morning.
Before we begin…
The following is not a sermon. Nor is it a theologically deep analysis of the above passage Thoughtheological it remains.No great interpreters of scripture will be referenced. In fact the whole excursive rant could be viewed as entirely humanistic. To which I would respond, ‘yes, and…’?
My second thought for a title revolved around ‘the asshole in me acknowledges but in no way accepts the asshole in you’ but really that’s a bit lengthy and one too many assholes for a blog title.
Jesus and the Heckler
Our passage here opens with Jesus teaching in a synagogue. The crowds, per usual were quite impressed with his TED Talk. What great words! This guy has really thought out this meaning of life stuff. Now amongst them was a fella with an unclean spirit. We can safely assume everyone knew about this. It was just one of those things polite people don’t talk about. They wouldn’t want to be thought of as not being nice would they? It was the sabbath after all. Just a little bit longer and service would be over and they could all disperse. Oh yes, there goes… lets say Bob… yes… there goes Bob again being Bob. I mean, that guy sure has issues. oh yep, he’s doing the “art thou come to destroy us” bit again. Used to really creep us out but you get used to it. Just smile and it’ll pass. Really, Jesus… this happens every Shabbat service. Nothing to worry about. Jesus? Jesus, what are you doing?!
Is Christianity nice?
I do not know when Christianity first became associated with niceness, but i’ll bet the rise of television ministry did not help. It’s hard to do a keep an audience tuned to a fire and brinstone sermon when you’ve got Andy Griffith on the other channel. (I certainly would turn the channel) However with this polish, with the smiles, with the ‘God will bless you’ ministries questions soon arise.