Authority, or the ability to affect the behaviour of others, is a common thread in the scriptures this week. The session materials provide the opportunity for groups to explore authority within the context of the time in which Jesus lived.
In Jesus’ day, people believed in the presence and power of demons and evil spirits. People thought these beings had the power to control human actions and cause physical and spiritual illness, such as blindness, paralysis, and madness. Possession by unclean spirits made persons ritually unclean. They could not go to the temple or participate in religious festivals – they were considered to be separated from God, family, and neighbours.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus is presented as one who has power and authority over evil, or unclean spirits. In his ministry Jesus claimed the authority that God gives to teach and to heal.
We too are called to identify ways to use our God-given authority. In what ways might we use our God-given authority toward God’s desire for the community of earth to be whole?
The temperature of the spiritual life of the Church is the index of her power to heal.
~ Evelyn Frost