Mark 1:21-28 - And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. 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." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 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." And at once His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
It seems odd to me that a man with an evil spirit would be in a synagogue, of all places. Maybe I've read too many vampire books. But it seems like evil would want to stay away from places where God is worshipped?
Maybe I've got the wrong handle on this, after all. For I remember how many people in trouble used to come to the parsonage door, asking for help. When we talked to them, usually they had no church connection at all—there might be a grandmother long ago who was a believer, but mostly not. But when they were hungry, or stranded, or sick—they automatically turned to the church. And that's a good thing, isn't it?
As long as Jesus is in the church, that is. Because on our own, we can't do much to help. Oh, we can provide some things—lunch, a reference to an organization that works with homeless people, those kinds of things. But only Jesus can really meet those deeper needs that everybody has. A need for safety and security. A need to be loved. The need, in some cases, to have your entire life reframed—to be born again as a beloved child of God, with a whole new life ahead of you. Jesus can provide that.
And He does that—how? By giving His own life for our sakes—whether we are the person who's obviously in need or the person who looks like they've got it all together (as if!). Jesus went to the cross for all of us, because He loves us—and He rose from the dead so that whoever needs life will find it in Him. And He sends the Holy Spirit to live in His people—so the lesser needs, whether they are food or a place to stay—get met through them. Because He loves, we love too.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord Jesus, make my heart more and more like Yours. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. How do you handle it when someone asks you for food or money?
2. What is the church's role in meeting human needs?
3. How has Jesus met your needs? Name a specific one.
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