4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 18:15-20 II:
1 Cor 7:32-35
21 And they went into Caper'na-um; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;
24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
- Context of the 4th Sunday to the 9th Sunday (Mk 1:21-3:6).
Jesus started his ministry, as a healer-teacher. The reading today describes the first half of the hectic
first 24 hours (1:21-38) of Jesus’ urgent ministry. At first people
responded with enthusiasm (4th through 6th Sunday,
“Every one is searching for you,” Mk 1:37), but controversies quickly
arose (7th through 9th Sunday) to the points that
the leaders plotted to kill him (Mk 3:6), just like John the Baptist was
killed immediately before Jesus started his ministry (3rd
- (v.21) The synagogue service includes prayers, readings from the Law and
Prophets, and commentaries. The readers can be learned members or
visitors, so it was not unusual that Jesus could come in and read and
- (v.22) What was astonishingly unusual was the way he preached, with his own
“authority” (v.22 & 27) not legalistic like the scribes. Jesus
teaches that “the kingdom of God has drawn near” (1:15). In order for the
kingdom to come to the people, they need to let Jesus heal and exorcise
them. Thus Jesus’ words and deeds are two sides of the same ministry. The
evil in people, in sin, in human suffering must be cleaned out to make
room for God.
- (v.24) It is ironic that the devil recognized Jesus but his followers
constantly failed to do likewise. However, the devil also failed to
comprehend the deeper part of Jesus’ mystery, namely his suffering and
death. That was why Jesus repeatedly ordered the devil to “be silent” (v.25).
One Main Point
Jesus teaches and heals us so that we can enter the new
Kingdom of God.
- What are some of my evil spots that Jesus needs to heal with his words and deeds?
- How do I react to Jesus: with astonishment, with excitement because he can heal me, or with the fear that I have to change my somewhat comfortable old life?
- Am I still astonished by Jesus’ words and deeds that truly touch my life? Can I recall a recent example of that astonishment?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community