They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word?  For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

Lk 4:36

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This passage comes for the story of how Jesus in the midst of his teaching cured a disordered man, one that seemed to others to be “possessed.”

To understand this story it is wise to remember that at that time people believed that before the Lord would come to govern all, human kind would be disgorged of evil – that it was the destruction of evil that would prepare all people for the reign of God.  This story then becomes a way for others to know that God has the power and the presence by word alone to drive out evil and conquer it.

In reading this story notice that the possessed man engages Jesus, identifies him as “the Holy One of God.”  The possessed man professes Jesus as “the Holy One of God.”

Is this not a bold directive for us?  Are we not to do the same?  Engage Jesus as “the Holy One of God?”

In this world we are often apt to hide from evil.  Deny its existence.  Or we are apt to think we must arm ourselves against evil.  But another form of denial. Or we think we must muster all the force we have to conquer it all by ourselves. Still a denial.

Yes, we must oppose evil.  From this we cannot shrink for evil loves retreat and passivity and sees it as an invitation to expand and destroy all that it encounters.  However, we cannot face evil alone.  It is God who conquers evil. God has a primary stake in the defeat of evil – we must, like the possessed man, engage Jesus, engage God to defeat evil.  Ours is a two-fisted response to evil – God and faithful people defeat evil.

See the danger the secularists create when they banish God from culture? Faithful people must resist godlessness lest we find ourselves facing evil.

In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.

Jn 17:33

So says Jesus in his final days.

Shalom.

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