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Summary: “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” Mark 1:22.

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Mk. 1:21-28 Theme: Jesus has authority over unclean spirits

Text: Deut. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

The President, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, has declared today a national day of prayer and thanksgiving to God and an Interdenominational service will be held at the Independence Square this afternoon. We have every reason to be thankful to God. He has preserved us as a nation by granting us peaceful and successful elections. He has also revealed the tribal tendencies in our nation and thereby giving us the opportunity to deal with it as a nation and to emerge as a truly united and peaceful nation. The theme for the occasion is “Uniting Ghana through Christ” and this should be seen as our profession of faith in Christ who alone has the authority to unite us and raise this nation to become the envy of many nations. It is highly significant that this is being done at the instance of our President for God works through leaders to bless the people. Just as our President is the first citizen of the land so to the religious Jews of Jesus’ time, no one was greater than Moses. God gave them the Law through Moses and he was the one God used to transmit their whole religious system. But they were also aware that God had said that He would send another prophet like Moses. This was the reason why the Pharisees inquired from John the Baptist whether he was ‘the Prophet’. As Moses gave the Old Covenant so Jesus came to bring the New Covenant. Jesus, as the Prophet, came to fulfil the requirements of the Old Covenant so that a New Covenant could be established between God and man. “For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ who made all things and without Him nothing was made that was made.” As the Creator Jesus has all authority and He demonstrated this at all times. He demonstrated it in word and action. He demonstrated it when Satan confronted Him in the wilderness and He demonstrated it in the face of evil, sickness and disease and by His authority over unclean spirits.

The world needs to know the truth and this made teaching a priority for Jesus Christ who is the Truth. It is the only way to expose the enemy as the light of the truth reveals what is hidden in darkness. Jesus was the greatest teacher the world had ever known and those who heard Him were amazed at His teachings. He taught with authority and this impressed the people. The way He taught was different from the regular teachers in the Synagogues. Whereas they quoted from well-known rabbis to support their teachings, Jesus as God had no need to do so. He spoke as One having authority. He knew exactly what the Scriptures said and meant. His words had divine power and His teachings exposed all forms of evil with demons crying out while that of the other teachers posed no treat to them at all. The man with the ‘unclean spirit’ must have been a member of the Synagogue. The symptoms of his disease were probably not always obvious since those with ‘unclean spirits’ were not allowed in the Synagogue. However, on being confronted by Jesus, the demon was immediately exposed.

In today’s world many people deny the existence of evil spirits. Psychologists dismiss accounts of demon possession as a primitive way to describe mental illness. But this is neither the view of Scripture nor the reality of those who have experienced torment at the hands of demonic spirits. By describing them by other names does not really change the situation and today evil spirits are tormenting more and more people, even Christians. However, we are assured that a Christian cannot be possesed by the devil because he or she is a redeemed child of God. The price paid for our redemption is Jesus’ own blood. Although we cannot be possessed by demons they can still have an effect on us. Just imagine the situation whereby another person trespasses on your property. You can simply evict that person off your property because he has no legal right to it. An evil spirit has no rights of ownership over a Christian and therefore can be commanded to go by the owner or his delegated authority. Jesus Christ has “given us authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us” Luke 10:19. The devil does not want us to know that evil spirits have no legal right over us and that we have authority over them. He has, in a way succeeded, as many believers although they appear victorious outwardly, are desperate inwardly for answers to personal problems. Some suppress and endure their problems rather than face them forgetting the authority that they have in Christ.

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