To read the texts click on the texts: Hebrews 2:5-12; Mk 1:21-28
The first miracle in the Gospel of Mark
is an exorcism and is the text for today. At the beginning of this pericope we
are informed that Jesus taught in the synagogue with authority and the crowds
were astounded at his teaching. Mark then immediately narrates the exorcism
story to give a practical example of the teaching of Jesus. The demon
"knows" who Jesus is and also that with his coming Satan’s reign is
ended. Jesus has indeed come to cast Satan out.
The exorcism indicates what it means
that the kingdom has indeed drawn near. This is the first time in the Gospel of
Mark that we come across what is commonly known as “the command to silence”,
which is a technique that Mark uses in his Gospel in which Jesus commands
sometimes demons (1:25, 34), sometimes those he has healed (1:44) and sometimes
the family members of the one healed (5:43) not to make known his identity or
that he has been the one who has healed them. While many interpretations have been
offered as to why Mark has used this technique, the one which has found wide
acceptance is that the Marcan Jesus did not want people to mistake him for
merely an exorcist or miracle worker, but wanted them to realise that he was
the Christ who would suffer, die on the cross and be raised.
In this case he is able to exorcise the
demon by a mere word, which the crowd interpret as a "new teaching".
By associating the teaching of Jesus
with the first miracle and having the people regard the exorcism as a “new
teaching”. Mark seems to want to indicate that there is no dichotomy between
Jesus’ words and actions. They synchronise. Jesus does what he says and says
what he does.