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Sermon January 28, 2024

Epiphany 4 B 2024 Interruptions Sermon

Mark 1:21-28

Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Interruptions.  We all have them.  One minute everything is fine and orderly and then out of nowhere an interruption occurs.  I hate to be interrupted.  I like things to go smoothly.  But, as you probably know, life does not always go as planned.  And interruptions do occur.

This morning, we find that Jesus was interrupted as He was teaching in the synagogue.  And like you and me, and judging by His response, I don’t think He liked to be interrupted either.  But rather than throwing up His hands and giving up, Jesus used this opportunity to show everyone why He was sent in the first place. 

Namely, that He was sent to deal with the interruptions in our lives.        

 In fact, Jesus was sent to overcome the evil that has interrupted God’s creation ever since Adam & Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit.  Jesus was sent to provide a solution to all the evil intrusions that occur in our world.       

Just think about how evil interrupts each of us each day.  Evil interrupts our lives with sickness and suffering.  Evil interrupts our lives with disorder and mayhem.  Evil interrupts our lives with anxiety and apprehension.

Evil interrupts our lives with divorce, unemployment, financial worries, problems at school, separation from loved ones, lawlessness, and chaos.

Evil interrupts our lives, to make us feel miserable, so we may be tempted to shake our fists at God at the terrible state that we find ourselves. 

Evil interrupts our lives with death, to create the illusion that we can be forever separated from God and each other.  

But thankfully evil does not have the last say.  Listen again to our Gospel text for today.

 “21 Jesus and His disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and 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.’ 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ 26And the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.”

Notice, that when the demon interrupted Jesus, Jesus took control and interrupted the demon.  Jesus said to the evil one, “Be silent, and come out of him.”  Backed with the authority of God, Jesus sent the demon, the evil one, back to hell. 

When Jesus spoke, He spoke with the voice of the “Holy One of God.”  Therefore, the demon had no choice but to obey Him. And the Word of God prevailed.

And all this foreshowed what Jesus would do for us on the Cross.  On the Cross, Jesus would interrupt evil’s interruptions (once and for all) and restore our relationship with Him.

Yes, interruptions still occur in our lives, but we can rejoice because God is in control.  When evil interrupts our health, Jesus brings healing.  When evil interrupts our peace, Jesus brings peace.  When evil interrupts our joy, Jesus brings to us a joy that no one can take away. 

Today, it is no secret that “evil one” wants to disrupt our families and bring chaos into our lives. But thankfully, Jesus has claimed us and has made us members of His family. And we can rejoice and be glad because the Bible tells us that when we were baptized, we became His children and heirs of His eternal Kingdom.   

And so, even though our baptism does not make our problems go away, our baptism does provide for us a huge divine source of love and forgiveness and unity that helps us deal and overcome the interruptions and problems of this world.

It is no wonder then that whenever Martin Luther felt the weight of the world upon his shoulders, he would say to himself “I am baptized, I am baptized, I am baptized.” 

He said this because he understood that “The only way to drive away the Devil is through faith and trust in Christ, and by remembering that he has been baptized, and that he is a Christian.”

Today in our Gospel text, the “evil one” interrupted Jesus.  In return Jesus interrupted the “evil one,” and the Good News is that Jesus continues to interrupt the “evil one” for us and for our salvation.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, you do not abandon your people to the power of the evil one.  Grant to those who suffer the interruptions of the “evil one” the gift that they will experience the glory of the Cross and the peace that surpasses all human understanding.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.