sexta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2017


The people were all so amazed
that they asked each other,
“What is this? A new teaching
and with authority!
He even gives orders to impure spirits
and they obey him.”
Mark 1:27 (read 1.21-28) – NIV

Theologians, scholars and thinkers differ greatly in their interpretations of the person of Jesus. Some think that Jesus was God (the second person of the trinity), others that he was a prophet, and others, a revolutionary who attracted followers who deified him after death and created a mythology around him. But all agree that Jesus was a good man and was seen as a threat by those who held power.

It is not our intent to go into the merits of the different positions on the person of Jesus. Such a discussion would only generate controversy and would not be edifying. We want to do an updated approach to the clash between good and evil in the light of Jesus as represented in this text.

The biblical accounts are symbolic portraits of human reality. From the book of Genesis on, the Bible portrays the interaction between two poles – chaos and order. The beginning of creation was chaos (Gen. 1:1-2). Then order was established. (Gen. 1.3-31). After the order of the Garden of Eden came the chaos of the forbidden fruit. The flood was an attempt to restore order. This interaction continues throughout biblical history.

The evil spirit disrupted the life of the man in the text. His life became so chaotic that he thought Jesus wanted to harm him. "Have you come to destroy us?" Given the inability of the man to recognize that he was possessed and needed liberation, Jesus restored order by commanding the evil spirit: "Be quiet! Come out of him!"

In Jesus' encounter with the possessed man, we have the picture of our world today. Great evils have installed themselves in human life. Materialism, consumerism, greed, violence, chemical dependency and alienation have taken root in the emptiness of the soul of civilized humanity. These evils are making the whole earth chaotic and threatening to life as we know it. Worse yet, in order to protect their privileges those in power see this as normal and promote it.

Jesus gave us the great example. He did not seclude himself from possessed humanity by using alienating religious practices. But after talking alone with "Daddy" he went out and faced the evil spirits firmly everywhere they were encountered. Jesus never scheduled meetings for the casting out of evil spirits, but faced them in their own environment.

The evil spirits of our time will not leave voluntarily or by remote control simply through prayer meetings. Firmness and confrontation are necessary. Therefore, our faith needs to have social, economic and political dimensions. The "evil spirits" of our times love a spiritual fervor that is "not of this world”. They love spirituality that is limited to the temple, because it leaves the world free for them to act.

It is disturbing that the church peacefully coexists with the demons of our day, and reflects patriotic values more than heavenly values, or confuses the two. It concerns itself more with individual moralism than the global demonic forces that threaten the very existence of humanity. Our challenge is to be able to participate in public life in a way to promote a just society and avoid seeking privileges. That can begin by first freeing ourselves from the demons of materialism. Then we will have the moral authority to confront the demons in our social structures.


They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

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