Mark Chapter 1 v 21 to 28 sees Christ, freshly tested and renewed in the power of the Holy Spirit, launch Himself into His new ministry.
He takes no time at all in turning up at the Synagogue in Capernaum and teaching. Unlike some who have gone before Him, He teaches with clarity and with confidence. His listeners even say so,
“They were surprised at His teaching, so forthright, so confident – not quibbling and quoting like the religious scholars”. (Mark 1 v 22. The Message).
However, there is a sense in this Gospel reading of new battle lines being drawn up. As Christ engages in His teaching ministry, it does not take too long before He is challenged. Petersen describes the stand off as follows…
“Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out “What business do you have here with us, Jesus?” (Mark 1 v 22 and 23. The Message).
Battle lines being drawn.
A man most likely due to his experience we might say of very poor mental health (understood in the time, in terms of demonic possession) recognizes that Christ is indeed,
“…the Holy One of God”. (Mark 1 v 24).
Whilst the learned and educated and indeed everyday folks were surprised, maybe even shocked by the “Nazarene”, an individual tormented by his own “demons” sees and knows who Christ actually is. And that this new preacher actually means business, will bring change and disruption and is someone truly “Holy”.
The “disturbed man” as referred to in Petersen’s paraphrase of the Bible, might indeed have been very troubled and no doubt troubling for some. He may very well have been ostracized by his community and wider society at that time. However, he, the “disturbed man” recognised and spoke truth when encountering living truth, life changing truth.
In matters of life, faith and allegiance…how often is truth to be found amongst the experience’s and lives of those marginalised, broken and quite possibly ignored?
How as followers of Christ ought we respond to this truth, their truth as troubling as it might be?