Weekly Scripture: Mark 1:21-28
The Gospels are full of stories of Jesus healing the sick and delivering people from demon possession. Perhaps these are difficult passages for us to accept in our very scientifically-driven culture. After all, we depend on surgical interventions, advanced treatments, and prescription medicines to bring us health and deliver us from sickness and disease. The past year has been defined by a race to discover effective vaccinations to combat a worldwide pandemic. And don’t even get people in our modern society talking about demon possession – it simply doesn’t fit with most people’s worldviews. What do you think about Jesus’s ministries of physical healing and deliverance?
As Christians, we should be very grateful for the wonders of medical science. Like all great discoveries that benefit humankind, they have their source in the intricate and complex beauty that defines God’s creation. Medical science is a gift from God; even though we trust these processes, we do not trust in them apart from our confidence in God’s healing power. God works through medical science as an instrument of his grace, in the same way God uses other fields of human initiative and technology to advance his purposes. These are ways in which God shares the work of creativity and fruitfulness with us, as they bloom within us as reflections of God’s image. In what ways have you experienced God’s healing power?
Jesus’s work of delivering people from being possessed by evil spirits is different than the work of physical healing; they should not be confused for one another. Yet, they spring from the same source – God’s lordship over all elements of the created order. Possession might not be as common in our culture as it was in the culture of Jesus’s time – after all, the people of Jesus’s time were more directly influenced by the temptations of idol worship and ungodly cultic practices. Even so, we must be on guard against the “spiritual forces of wickedness” (as our baptismal vows remind us). Through the power of the Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit working through Jesus and now living with us – we can resist evil and accept the spiritual freedom of God. How have you experienced spiritual freedom in your life?
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Amen.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, deliver us from evil.