Mark 1:21-28

What Does He Have To Do With Us?

January 28 2018

             How do you think those who witnessed the event  Mark relates  for us, the worshippers gathered at the synagogue in Capernaum on that Sabboth 2,000 years ago, may have felt and  may have wanted to react when their worship was disrupted by the demon possessed man? Or for that matter how do you think they may have felt and wanted to react when Jesus came and began teaching with greater authority than anyone else they had ever heard, and then this demoniac appears screaming, yelling, completely disrupting the service, and Jesus heals him? How do you think they may have felt and wanted to react when, in the midst of a typical service of worship, Jesus came and things began to be disrupted.  Jesus came and things began to change. Jesus came and nothing was same any more. Jesus came   and suddenly the way things were was no longer good enough. Things had to be changed and had to be different.  Everything was ordinary and commonplace until  Jesus came and made everything extraordinary and no longer common.

            What was it about Jesus that disrupted, changed, and transformed everything about that service on that day? Mark relates that it was the authority of Jesus that shook things up and made things different. It was the authority with which He did things that shook things up , disrupted the way things were, transformed things and made things different.  Jesus had authority, and wherever He went His authority changed things. The exorcism in Mark 1:21-28 is actually an illustration of what Jesus meant when He said:  “The kingdom of God has come!” Indeed, the kingdom of God has come and Jesus has the authority of God’s kingdom to change things and to take was ordinary and make it extraordinary. Jesus has the authority of God’s kingdom to change lives, to change communities, to change Churches, and to change the world. He has the authority to do all this and more!

            The demoniac screams at Jesus: “What have you to do with us?” Some would say this is merely a question from the demon, or demons, within him.  But what if he were representing everyone present there that day? What if he were saying: “What have you to do with us who are gathered here today, Jesus?”

            Or “What are you going to do to us?”

            And then Jesus showed what He had to do with them. He showed what He would do to them. He showed what He could do to them. He changed him. He healed him. And everyone there was changed also, for Jesus indeed had the authority. He had the authority to change lives, to heal, to take what is ordinary and make it extraordinary, and to disrupt what was and make it what could be!

            So I wonder — what about for us? Could it be that the question from the demoniac is our question, too? “What have you to do with us, Jesus?”      “What are you going to do to us?” Jesus has the authority of the kingdom of God to change lives, to change communities, to change Churches, and to change the world, just as He had the authority to change the demoniac and those gathered at the Synagogue on that Sabbath.  He has the power to change things, transform things and make things new. That’s what He has to do with us! That’s what He can do to us! He can change us! He can transform us! He can make us new!

            But — will He?

            I guess the more appropriate question here is — Will we? Will we be transformed? Will we be made new? Will we follow Jesus’ authority?          Will we let Jesus change us, transform us, and make us new? That’s a question each of us have to answer for ourselves. Each of you have to decide if you are going to let Jesus change and transform you. Each of you have to decide if you are going to let Jesus make you a new person.  He has the authority, but will you let that authority change you? He has the authority, but will you let that authority change your life, change this community, change this Church and change our world?

            Will you? Will you let the authority that is in Christ change you, transform you, and make you a new person? Will you let the authority that is in Christ be your authority as you begin living a life of commitment to God  to going in God’s ways,  to supporting the work of the Church by your attendance and all you  have to offer your money – and  your abilities? Will you let the authority that is in Christ be your authority as you begin reaching out into the world with the authority of God’s love? Will you let the authority that is in Christ be your authority as you let it change you and you experience the life-changing love of Christ for yourself,  then share it with others as you become involved in the Church, active in the Church, and active in showing God’s love to the community?

            What have you to do with us, Jesus? That was the demoniac’s question — and ours.   

            You know, the demoniac had a need.  A need that Christ could meet. You may be in need right now. Your life may not be going as God wants it. For that matter your life may not be going as you want it.  There may be a demon, so to speak, within you crying out for healing, crying out for change, crying out for transformation, and crying out for Christ. 

            What do you have to do with us, Jesus?

            What do you have to do with me, Jesus?

            Change. Healing. A completely changed life. A completely changed community. A completely changed Church. A completely changed world.

            That’s what Christ has to do with us. That’s what Christ has to do with you.

            Let the authority that is in Christ heal, transform, and change you.  Let the authority that is in Christ make you a different person. Let the authority that is in Christ make us a different community. Let the authority that is in Christ make us a different Church. Let the authority that is in Christ make this a different world.

            The first step is letting the authority that is in Christ completely change, heal, and transform  your life. We are always in need of being changed, being healed and being transformed. You know, many times we try to change things, to change ourselves or others, to heal things — either ourselves or others or to change the world from what I call “the outside in”. We take some new idea or some new plan that we feel will help us change, or change the world, or change someone who needs help, and we try to force these gimmicks or ideas or  these plans upon ourselves or others, without letting it really change us first on the inside, then taking the change that is within us to others. Jesus can bring change and healing from the inside out.  Jesus can bring change and healing that can take place within our hearts, within our lives, and within our souls on the inside, and that can bring change and healing to the community, the Church and the world as we share with others and live the changed life Christ can give us.

            Not long ago I read a quote from Ezra Taft Benson: “The Lord works from the inside out, not the outside in. Instead of taking people out of the slums, Christ takes the slums out of the people — then they can take themselves and others out of the slums.  Instead of changing people by changing their environment, Christ changes people — who then change their environment.   Instead of shaping the behavior of others, Christ can truly change their  nature — which then changes their behavior.”

            What does Jesus have to do with us? He has a change from the inside out. He offers a changed life, which can lead to a changed family, a changed work place, a changed Church, a changed community, and a changed world as we share the change Christ has made in in our lives with others.

            Friends, let Christ change you on the inside. Let Christ heal you on the inside. Let Christ change and heal you so that through the change  and healing He works in you others can be changed.

            Friends — that’s what He has to do with us! Amen