TEXT: MARK 1:21-28/DEUT 18:15-20/1 CORINTHIANS 8:1-12
IMMEDIATELY – JESUS’ WORD HAS AUTHORITY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To the church of God at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, saints by calling, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:2-3).

Immediately following the Divine Service today, we will have our annual congregational meeting and potluck. You all come!  Immediately following the meeting Barbara and I are heading out for South Dakota to visit my mother for a couple of birthday days. You all can’t come!  Immediately following the Divine Service and time for coffee next Sunday the sojourners to Haiti will report on their trip for building homes and hope. You all come!  Immediately following a blessing of our organ two weeks from today we will hear it in worship for the first time. You all come!  

Do you ever feel like there are too many “immediate(s)” going on in your life?  Some speak of the tyranny of the immediate or the urgent. It is the merry-go-round of tasks and duties that never seem to end. They can come one after another - sometimes preventing unhurried contemplation of other things. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a nap when you desired to - immediately?  Wouldn’t it be nice if the calendar was uncluttered - immediately?

 

TEXT: MARK 1:21-28/DEUT 18:15-20/1 CORINTHIANS 8:1-12
IMMEDIATELY – JESUS’ WORD HAS AUTHORITY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To the church of God at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, saints by calling, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:2-3).

Immediately following the Divine Service today, we will have our annual congregational meeting and potluck. You all come!  Immediately following the meeting Barbara and I are heading out for South Dakota to visit my mother for a couple of birthday days. You all can’t come!  Immediately following the Divine Service and time for coffee next Sunday the sojourners to Haiti will report on their trip for building homes and hope. You all come!  Immediately following a blessing of our organ two weeks from today we will hear it in worship for the first time. You all come!  

Do you ever feel like there are too many “immediate(s)” going on in your life?  Some speak of the tyranny of the immediate or the urgent. It is the merry-go-round of tasks and duties that never seem to end. They can come one after another - sometimes preventing unhurried contemplation of other things. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a nap when you desired to - immediately?  Wouldn’t it be nice if the calendar was uncluttered - immediately?

Lest we feel sorry for ourselves let us immediately transition to the Gospel for today. They went into Capernaum and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching…they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority..Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”  St. Mark uses the word “immediately” over 40 times!  He never leaves us standing around - leisurely sizing things up!  The Holy Spirit inspired him to write in such manner that before we finish one event we are into the next one. In this text we see the immediacy of Jesus’ ministry coupled with His authority. As we do so, however, we are not under the tyranny of the immediate. Rather we are released and refreshed by it.
 
Immediately
on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching…they were astonished at his teaching for he taught them as one who had authority and not as the scribes…“What is this?  A new teaching with authority!  He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”


Immediately we are reminded that there is an ongoing struggle for authority in this world. In homes and families – between parents and children and siblings - in this and every city – in our state - in our country – between countries – in the church – even within our own hearts. We all want to be in control – in some form or manner. The Greek word for God’s authority in Scripture expresses His absolute ability and freedom to act and control.

The scribes had built a fence of hundreds of rules around the law They constantly referenced the authority of older rabbis. Beyond the Torah they had added endless rules and regulations for almost any situation in life. Enter Jesus!  Instead of quoting others Jesus spoke on His own authority. Instead of preaching endless “how to(s)” for good behavior, He preached sin and grace. There was no gap between message and messenger!  “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (1:14-15). As He preached the kingdom of God – He personally brought it into that synagogue in His flesh. Immediately…He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.      Yet, it is not always received with joy and amazement!

Consider the man with an evil spirit. He had evidently been there before. Nothing indicates his presence was out of the ordinary or that he had a history of crying out. As long as the scribes quoted human rules about how to live perhaps all was peaceful. But that all changed when Jesus preached “repent and believe in the Gospel” with authority. As the Word made flesh spoke God’s Word – a battle ensued that included crying out and convulsing.

The evil spirit uses the voice of this man to make an ugly accusation against Jesus. “Did you come to destroy us?”  What a devilish question!  It demonstrates how satanic Satan can be in twisting our view of authority. He tries to make good look evil and evil look good. What could be more satanic then using the voice of this man to lead others to think the Savior of mankind is the enemy of mankind?  “Let us alone, Jesus. What have we to do with you?”  We must remember those in the synagogue heard and saw the man speaking these things. The evil spirit was not visible.

Whether we sense it or not, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Whether we sense it our not, since we are in this world where Satan is prince, we also can get riled up by the Word of God spoken with authority. Our sinful nature cries out, “What have you to do with me Jesus?”  “Do you want to destroy me?  Leave me alone in my dorm room or on the internet or expressing vulgarities if I like. Leave me alone with my thoughts of lust or coveting or self-pity. Leave me alone with my thoughts that I don’t need your gifts in weekly worship. Leave me alone with my thoughts that I give too much for the proclamation of the Gospel. Leave me alone with the tantalizing idols of nature worship or contemplative spirituality. You can hang around Jesus – just don’t start preaching with authority that you are the way and the truth and the life. Let what you say be politically correct, acceptable to my friends and personally pleasing.

What do you have to do with me Jesus
with Your command to love my enemies and to turn the other cheek?  What do you have to do with me Jesus with your passionate concern for the witness I give in my daily life?  Don’t expect me to be like St. Paul concerning the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. “Take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak…so that by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.”  What a sweeping command!  Not only are you never supposed to sin against a brother by disobeying God’s Word, you are also not to sin against a weaker brother or sister by doing something that is right. Paul said, “If food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat…” (pause). What do you have to do with me Jesus?  Don’t ask me for that kind of sacrifice. Don’t ask me to put the needs of the other first –counting them better than myself.

There is always a struggle for authority in this world. Satan daily tempts us to treat the voice of Jesus as if His was one voice among many!  That’s his lie – just as big as His lie that Jesus came to destroy us. Scripture states the truth this way, “Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself partook of the same that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil…and might release us from death” (Hebrews 2:14).

That’s why the man in the evil spirit was doing so much hollering and giving of orders in the synagogue!  Satan’s princely position was under attack!  Assembled to hear the Word, those present were confronted by the Word made flesh!  The Prophet supreme whom Moses foretold stood in their midst. As God said through Moses, “I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all I command him.”  The Prophet supreme gave a command of His own – “Be muzzled and come out of him.”  The evil spirit had no choice!  There was some crying and convulsing, but the deed was done - immediately. What is this?  A new teaching and with authority!  He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”  

The new teaching is the Word made flesh dwelling among us full of grace and truth. The new teaching is God’s love incarnate with authority over sin, death and the devil.  Oh, the devil didn’t just melt away after his loss in the synagogue. Two of the uses of immediately in Mark occur later in a garden called Gethsemane. And immediately while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve…went up to him immediately…and said Rabbi!  And he kissed him.

If convulsing and screaming through a man doesn’t work – how about a kiss of betrayal through another man. And quite immediately the evil spirits might have had a rush of adrenalin – if they had adrenalin. Bound He was, arrested He was, spit upon and flogged He was, crucified and dead He was – the Holy One of God – buried in a tomb!  C. F. W. Walther’s Easter hymn sings it this way; The foe was triumphant when on Calvary – The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree. In Satan’s domain did the hosts shout and jeer, for Jesus was slain whom the evil ones fear (LSB st. 2). Immediately, however, on the morning of the third day, what looked like defeat was seen to be the victory of our finished redemption. Stanza three - But short was their triumph the Savior arose, And death hell, and Satan he vanquished, His foes. The conquering Lord lifts His banner on high, He lives, yes He lives, and will never-more die. Yes, and even though you die – yet shall you live eternally.

With all the authority in heaven and earth the risen Lord has baptized you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And immediately in those waters – Satan was muzzled and driven out of you. Oh, he is still active from the outside – lying and tempting and accusing you. But even the unclean spirits must obey the authority of the Holy One of God!

The Holy One of God doesn’t quote the scribes in your midst today. With authority - He speaks His own Gospel, He pronounces His own absolution, He invites you with His own words to His own forgiving feast. He is here to give you rest and bless all of your immediate(s).  For all of them – everything that so presses in on you will soon slip away.

Soon – no more colleges tests – really!  Soon the children leave home and the nest is empty – really!  Soon no more financial concerns – really!  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can take nothing out of this world.

Beloved we must not depend upon possible future earthly events for ultimate happiness!  It is our daily bread that our Lord asks us to receive with thanksgiving. Immediately – right now – the present moment is God’s gift to you – to us together!  In His giving the Bread of Life continues to bless our immediate(s).

Immediately when you pray “Our Father who art in heaven – Jesus is at your side praying with you!  If we confess our sins  immediately He is faithful and just to forgive all our sins - even those tired old, “leave me alone, Jesus” thoughts that we see to be so devilish. Immediately He is here to create in you a clean heart – to give you His holiness. Indeed, Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Immediately when the last trumpet sounds – in the twinkling of an eye – He will raise your body immortal - imperishable - fit for the eternal pleasures of the new heaven and the new earth. Then all of the pressing immediacies of this life will give way to the immediate presence of your Lord, face to face – and the perfect eternal rest o dwelling in the house of the Lord, forever.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a