Conviction or Submission?

Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.

23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.

29 After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. 31 So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them. – Mark 1:21-31

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Shelf Cloud | Bolivar Peninsula | May 2020

It’s difficult for me to understand why people don’t want to believe in Jesus. He is eminently good. He speaks truth from the core of his being. He takes on the religious self-promoters, and lifts up downtrodden and broken people. He performed miracles not for notoriety but for the blessing of those to whom he ministered.

As far as I can tell, for many people it isn’t about belief as much as submission to his will and acknowledgement of his sovereignty that stands in the way of their faith. They don’t want anyone telling them what to do or how to live or what is truly good or evil, right or wrong.

Jesus kind of disrupts that false dream. His reign and rule over all things and peoples is supreme and absolute. Some people don’t want to submit to him. Some people see him as one who has come to torment and destroy, rather than build up, save, and restore.

This is played out in vivid terms as Jesus casts the demon from the man in the synagogue. The evil spirit wants nothing to do with following Jesus. He has no desire to believe in Jesus. He wants nothing of what Jesus might teach him or of the kind of life Jesus would call him. So Jesus gives him no choice. The evil spirit is cast out. The once-possessed man is freed. Good is sustained. Evil is thwarted.

I’m thinking of people who are living their lives far from God. They want nothing to do with his call to repentance and faith. They wish only to make their kingdoms the best they can for themselves. They will do it their way. They will chart their own course. They will retain the right to captain their own ship.

Until that day when this scene is played out for all to see. Evil will be called to account. Every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Some will do it under duress. Others will do it in delight.

We call Jesus Lord because he has redeemed us. He is our Savior, Redeemer and Friend. I’m willing to let him determine what is good and evil, right and wrong. I will look to him for life, hope, and salvation. If you join me you will not be disappointed. I shudder to think of what it will be like on the Day of Reckoning for those who refuse to repent and believe in the Good News of Jesus.

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