January 14, 2020 (Tuesday) - Treading Scorpions - A Reflection on Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Satan exists. To deny the existence of Satan is to doubt the integrity of Jesus and question his entire mission of salvation. Convincing people that he does not exist is one of Satan’s greatest achievements. You won’t fight what you don’t believe exists. Bishop Fulton Sheen said: “Very few people believe in the devil these days, which suits the devil very well. He is always helping to circulate the news of his own death.”

However, he is a defeated enemy. We see Jesus casting out an unclean spirit in today’s reading. Right through Scripture, we find him booting demons, but after leading a sinless life, by his death and resurrection, he triumphed over Satan and his cohorts for all time. As Paul writes: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in (the cross)” (Colossians 2:15).

Which leads to the question: If Satan has been disarmed, and Jesus has triumphed over him, then why are we still getting hammered? Why is there so much evil in the world? Why so much suffering? Why so much sickness? Why so much pain? The answer is simple. Because the war is not yet over. Although Satan has been dealt a fatal blow, he has not been annihilated.

For reasons that are known only to God, he has decided to let the devil roam free for a while longer until Jesus comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. At that time all things will be brought under subservience to God, with every knee — including those of fallen angels — bowing to him. But, let us be in no doubt that Jesus is the king of this earth.

And those of us who are his subjects can exercise the authority that he has given us. Jesus said, “See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you” (Luke 10:19). Let us start exercising that authority by evicting anything within us that is not of God and leading a life that is holy and pure.

The victory is ours.