Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
In life there are many things that cause us to be amazed, from the birth of a child to the changing of the seasons. I am a firm believer that God never ceases to amaze us; however, sometimes we fail to be amazed. We as a culture are also sometimes hard to amaze, due to the many things in life that have us captivated already.
But just imagine if one day a man walked into your life and presented things in a different way. The people we hear about in the Gospel lesson for today had their normal day-to-day routine turned upside down when Jesus came and taught among them. The people were astounded and amazed at what they witnessed. What they heard was unlike anything that had heard before; what they saw that day was new and different.
Just imagine being there: you go to worship and think it is going to be the same old way that things have always been, and there is a change. This guy named Jesus is there, and he is presenting things differently from how they have been in the past. His teachings leave you amazed and surprised at the same time, and then there is an interruption during his delivery . . . a man who seems to be controlled by an unclean spirit is causing a scene, by conversing directly with Jesus during his delivery.
Jesus, instead of ignoring the interruption, rebukes the man and when he does, the unclean spirit causes the man to convulse; he cries out in a loud voice, and then the spirit is gone. What was witnessed that day caused people to believe in Jesus, and the Gospel tells us that “his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.” Sometimes it takes amazement or a disruption in one’s life to cause one to believe.
Jeff Jones, pastor, Covenant Moravian Church and
Water of Life Lutheran Church, Wilmington, North Carolina