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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B

Mark 1:21-28


“Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Quiet! Come out of him!’” (Mark 1:25)

When I think of the word “authority,” my mind often thinks of someone who has power or influence over another. For many of us, authority is merely a means of enhancing oneself, getting one’s way, and holding power. Not so for Jesus. He has all the authority, yet He uses it differently than we might.


Jesus teaches with authority and demands great things from us. He teaches with the same trusting authority, knowledge, and confidence you would expect from a loving parent. He knows what is best for us. In today’s Gospel, Jesus astounded all who gathered when he exorcized a man with an unclean spirit. In this moment, Jesus demonstrated his power over the man’s demon, calling the spirit out of the man. Jesus’ power is a confirmation of his authority. It was no wonder that His fame spread everywhere throughout the region of Galilee.


In an earthly sense, Jesus did not have much power. He was not an earthly king with political or military power. His authority lay in the power of his words, the example of His actions, and following the will of God. His authority lay in his living as God’s servant. Jesus used his authority not to obtain power for himself but in service to others. Jesus’ authority possesses a power that draws people in, not through manipulation, but simply by the person He is and the gifts and graces He gives us daily. Jesus serves us with patience and mercy, helping us grow to see how much we are dependent upon Him. Our sin is cruel, harsh, manipulative, and unforgiving. Jesus is compassionate, gracious, patient, loving, and merciful. The authority of sin is deceptive, but the authority of Jesus is trustworthy.


Just as Jesus confidently called out the demon in the Gospel, He too can call us out of our sin and temptation. What sin has beaten you down or enslaved you? Whatever it may be, it cannot withstand the authority of Jesus. When we give these spiritual battles to Him, the enemy runs. When you stand close and trust in God, these enemies can’t have authority over us.

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