Pastor’s Letter – April 19, 2020 – Jesus Goes to Church

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Mark 1:23-24

Dear Church and Friends,

One of the first things we find in Mark’s gospel is a visit to a local synagogue which launched Jesus’ ministry. When I was planning to teach this passage I remembered I had a picture of an old school house. The picture at the head of this letter is of the Old Runyan School House in the Great Smokey Mountains State Park.

Mark’s gospel is one of immediacy. The first chapter sees quick action. Jesus is baptized by John, calls his disciples and then goes to church (synagogue). It’s while he is there on the sabbath day that his ministry is launched.

The demon who cried out asked a good question, “What have we to do with thee?” Actually that’s a question all of us ask at some point. These people in the synagogue so long ago ask it of themselves, silently, as the demoniac cried out. What do we have to do with Jesus? What interest do we have in Him?

What interest does He have in us? Is our Christian organization his, is our family his, is our work his; does he have the authority to walk in and teach us? Notice, he didn’t ask if he could teach with authority or if he could cast out the demon with authority. He has it by right of his person, his incarnation, his godhead, and his duty to uphold all things by the word of his power. Thank God he doesn’t ask for permission. Let’s rejoice today in the Christ who has all authority.

Music: Be Thou My Vision, Norton Hall Band.

Prayer: Please pray for the Highlanders of East Asia. This request comes from the International Mission Board prayer site.

  • Pray for local believers and workers as they begin to return to normal life after a season of isolation and displacement. Pray that believers will be able to help their friends and family understand why we face such difficulties in life with the truth of the gospel and God’s sovereignty. Ask that lost people with questions about why bad things happen will hear the gospel in this season.

Catechism: The Principles of the Christian Religion.

  • Question 79: What is the fifth commandment?
  • Answer: Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  • Question 80: What kind of duties are prescribed in this commandment, which is the first of the second table?
  • Answer: Such duties as are to be performed with a special respect of superiors, inferiors, and equals. Namely, reverence to all superiors, obedience to such of them as are in authority and whatsoever special duties concern the husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants, magistrate and people, pastors and flock, and such like.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

All my best.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

Mark 1:27

Published by David B. Smith

Author, podcaster, pastor, and Big Pappa to my grandchildren.

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