Text: Mark 1:21-28
At times like this I wish I had Nancy’s voice – but I don’t, so I’ll spare you. Hear these words and provide the tune in your head if you know it:
“There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.”
Smile if you grew up with that hymn as I did. Its theology may not make you smile but it is a part of the heritage of many Baptists and others who grew up in evangelical churches. The text was written by Lewis E. Jones who also wrote the text to 217 other hymns. He was a classmate of evangelist Billy Sunday and worked for the YMCA for 36 years. He died in 1936.
If you’re wondering what this old hymn has to do with our lectionary text for today, there is a connection. The gospel of Mark opens with multiple demonstrations of Jesus’ power. First, he is baptized by John who has been proclaiming to everyone who would listen that someone greater than he is coming. At the baptism, the heavens open, a dove descends and a voice is heard to name Jesus as “my beloved son.” Next in the temptation story that unfolds in the wilderness, Jesus demonstrates his authority by not being drawn into deals with the devil. Then he walks along the Sea of Galilee asking people to follow him. According to Mark, they drop everything and do just that. Finally, in our text for today, Jesus enters the synagogue at Capernaum and astonishes the crowd with the authority of his teaching. Then he performs an exorcism where demons obey his command to leave a man’s body. [Read more…]