January 30, 2024

MESSAGE – Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – Year B – 28 January 2024

MESSAGE – Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – Year B – 28 January 2024

THEME: Living in Divine Author ity – POWER & PRESENCE

“A Call to Embrace, Apply, and Fulfill the Mission of Jesus”

The common theme of divine authority woven through Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 111, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, and Mark 1:21-28.

As we unpack these passages, let us reflect on how we can apply the principles of divine authority in our lives and, in turn, live out the mission of Jesus daily.

Recognising Divine Authority in Deuteronomy:
The theme of Deuteronomy 18:15-20 is about the promise of a future prophet whom God will raise up, and the importance of listening to and obeying that prophet.

In Deuteronomy 18:15-20, we encounter the promise of a prophet, divinely appointed to guide and instruct. Our first step is to recognize and acknowledge God’s authority in our lives. This recognition lays the foundation for a life centered on divine wisdom and direction.

Praising God’s Authority in Psalm 111:
Psalm 111 extols the greatness and wisdom of God. As we apply this theme in our lives, let us cultivate a spirit of praise and gratitude, acknowledging God’s authority with reverence. This acknowledgment opens our hearts to divine insights and aligns us with the source of true wisdom. This leads to Jesus’ prophetic ministry in the Synagogue and on the sabbath. The power and authority of God working through Jesus.

Responsible Living with Knowledge in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13:
In 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, the theme revolves around the balance between knowledge and love. It addresses the Corinthians’ understanding of eating food sacrificed to idols, emphasizing the importance of considering others’ consciences and acting in love rather than just focusing on personal knowledge.

The passage from 1 Corinthians teaches us about the responsible use of knowledge within the Christian community. Food choices, vegan, vegetarian and our welcoming and inclusion of all. Applying this theme means approaching our understanding with humility and love. We are called to prioritize love over knowledge, ensuring that our actions consider the weaker consciences of others. This resonates with Jesus’ mission of compassion and selfless love.

Walking in Jesus’ Authority in Mark 1:21-28: Testimony with Lee
Mark 1:21-28 highlights the theme of Jesus’ authority and power over evil spirits.

Another way of stating Authority is also translated as– POWER.

The first demonstration in the season of Epiphany of Jesus’ authority or power is an exorcism. Mark’s Gospel doesn’t begin with a healing or turning, water into wine, or preaching with people – it begins with casting out evil spirits. Jesus’ power drives out possessive spirits.

The demonic tries to take hold of the divine promise. This was a property, boundary dispute – Jesus is saying, I am going to claim everything and everybody.

Jesus is going to go into the most unexpected places dangerous with the Spirit which I am possessed, and my power is going to be manifested in this way.

Where does evil exist in our world? We are seeing a lot of evil. Do we have this hope of Jesus’ power delivering us from evil.

How do we imagine Jesus’ power and what it is capable of doing?

Are we full of the Spirit and Jesus’ power and authority in our lives?

Where do we let God in again on the boundaries that we create?

Healing and transforming lives.

In this passage, Jesus enters a synagogue, teaches with authority, and casts out an unclean spirit, demonstrating his divine authority and the recognition of him as a powerful figure.

Mark 1:21-28 vividly portrays Jesus’ authority over teachings and unclean spirits. As we seek to live out the mission of Jesus daily, we are called to walk in His authority. This involves boldly proclaiming the truth, teaching with conviction, and standing firm against the forces of darkness in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Application in Our Lives:
To apply these common themes, let us commit to daily prayer, seeking divine guidance and acknowledging God’s authority in our decisions. May we cultivate a heart of gratitude and praise, recognizing the wisdom and greatness of our Lord. In our interactions with others, let love guide our actions, especially when knowledge might lead to stumbling blocks. Finally, let us walk in the authority of Jesus, confidently sharing His transformative message and standing against anything that opposes His divine mission.

Living Out the Mission of Jesus:
Living in divine authority naturally propels us into the mission of Jesus. Our lives become a testament to His love, compassion, and transformative power. As we embrace these themes, let us be intentional in our daily interactions, shining the light of Christ in our families, workplaces, and communities.

In conclusion, may we all be empowered by the common theme of divine authority found in these passages. Let us embrace it, apply it in our lives, and live out the mission of Jesus daily, bringing glory to the One who holds ultimate authority over all. Amen.