Middle school was almost over. I don’t remember being all that excited to go to high school. I had my circle of friends and most of them would not be following me to high school. As my eighth grade year was coming to a close my principal gave us this piece of advice: Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are. He wanted us to choose our friends wisely. This is true for the eighth grader about to enter the wilds of high school on into the business and political worlds. Routinely in the news you’ll hear about politicians denouncing old friends who turn out to be the dregs of society. A dress store that had been open for 30 years closed on January 31st because Amber Vinson, a nurse from Texas who had been diagnosed with ebola, visited the store. The store closed for a time, was cleaned thoroughly, and reopened, but the business could not survive. Would you buy your daughter a wedding dress from the “ebola” store?
When Jesus visited a synagogue to share some of HIS word with the people, what did they think when a demon possessed man endorsed Jesus as the Holy One of God. Even though what the man said was true, Jesus commanded him to be silent. How troubling is it that a demon possessed man was sitting in church that Saturday (Sabbath) with the rest of the Jews?! How troubling would it be for those people to have Jesus endorsed by demons? At best having that endorsement would be confusing. Satan’s only goal is to break apart your relationship with you and your God. He’ll destroy anything in your life so that becomes a reality. Yet in this section from the the Gospel of Mark we see how Jesus flexed his almighty power. He commanded the demon to leave and be silent, and he had no other choice than to obey. Christians do not live in constant fear of demons because it is not their endorsement of Jesus that matters. The approving word of the Father at Jesus’ baptism and, as we’ll hear in two Sundays, at Jesus’ transfiguration are all that matters. Jesus is our perfect substitute for sin. Because of his innocent death we are forgiven. Not even an endorsement by a demon can change that.