Text: Mark 1:21-28
I often feel a bit overwhelmed when I start reading the gospel of Mark. There is no family tree, no angels and shepherds, no baby in a crib like in the gospels of Matthew or Luke. Neither is there a mystical reference to “In the beginning was the Word” like in John.
No, Mark jumps straight into the action – In the first Chapter we hear briefly about John, Jesus is baptized, ‘immediately’ driven into the desert, tempted, returned to Galilee, John was imprisoned, Jesus started preaching and called his first disciples – all this within the first 20 verses of this Gospel!
And from vs 21 Mark tells us about the beginning of Jesus’ teaching and ministry: “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.”
Astonished, interested, fascinated they are listening to this wisdom, when suddenly the service is disrupted.
I can imagine how they felt. I remember once, when I was a child, being in church on a Sunday morning when someone started shouting in the middle of the service. I remember the feeling of discomfort, how I felt uncertain, a bit afraid, embarrassed even on behalf of the person “making a scene”. I remembered everyone twisting around trying to see what was going on, whispering their discomfort. I remember the pastor’s voice fading away in confusion, an elder jumping up and ‘shushing’ the shouting congregation member.
Overall the memory is one of discomfort, a bit of fear of this unfamiliar situation.
I can imagine that many of these emotions were present in the synagogue that morning. Maybe there was discomfort, embarrassment, fear, maybe some people were upset at the disruption.
The one person reacting very differently than people reacted in my memory is “the pastor”. Jesus is not rattled or uncertain. He continues to respond with authority, with wisdom, with the right response for the situation.
Isn’t this an encouragement when we are confronted with all the difficult situations we face in a world with HIV? Jesus is not overwhelmed by these challenges. Jesus has the wisdom and authority to deal with these difficult situations and overcome them. But even more, through our relationship with Jesus, we also have access to the same Spirit. Because of this relationship we can also pray for the wisdom of the Spirit and through this relationship we can grow in a loving response to uncomfortable situations.
To think about: Which spiritual disciplines can help us grow closer to Spirit inspired response in difficult and unforeseen situations.