011121 Weekly Devotional

Seek the Extraordinary

“The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” –Mark 1:22

What patterns have you developed in your own daily routine over the past nine months that you have never experienced before? For many of us, much has changed about the way that we work, school our kids, shop, socialize, and worship. The anxiety over the changes in our life patterns may be either a distant memory or a current fear. We have met the challenge, accepted it, and found a new homeostasis for everyday life. In short, life goes on and so does ‘normal’ life.

When we read Mark 1:21-28, we see the normal pattern of life that had developed for Jesus and the disciples. This normal pattern is captured in verse 21: “They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.” This was the weekly routine; Jesus and the disciples went to the local synagogue and taught on the Sabbath. In 1st century Jewish life, Sabbath rest was a regular part of life. The visit to the synagogue was equally predictable.

The reaction of the people was equally understandable. We read in verse 22: “The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” When the Son of God taught, it was unlike any teaching that the people had ever heard before. It had a sense of authority that the people had not yet experienced. They had heard the teachers of the law speak every Sabbath for their entire lifetime, but this preacher spoke in such a way that it caught their attention and captivated their imagination. A normal day in the life of Jesus became an extraordinary day in the lives of the people who experienced Him.

With Jesus there is the collision of the ordinary and the extraordinary. The story turns at verse 23: “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!’” The supernatural crashed into the natural. The exception plows into the rule. The unexpected happens in the midst of everyday life.

We too are reminded that Jesus was no ordinary teacher. He recognized the man possessed by an impure spirit and He rebukes that same spirit. At the word of Jesus, the spirit came out of the man with a shriek. This was far from an ordinary Sabbath at the synagogue! Jesus taught with such an authority and He demonstrated that very authority in healing the possessed man.

Where are we ready for the supernatural activity of God in our own life? Are we waiting in expectation for God to bring an end to this pandemic through supernatural means? Do we desire healing for a friend or loved one? Are we seeking employment? Do we silently beg the Lord to relieve the sense of malaise that can come with a lengthy, drawn-out pandemic? Do we mourn the loss of a childhood for our kids with the social isolation and the shutdown of our schools? You know which of these—or any number of other things—that weigh on your own heart in this season.

As followers of Jesus, we can expect the supernatural influence of the Lord in our world. We can expect to see the Lord act in miraculous ways in this time. The Lord invites us to ask this of Him. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Bring your cares and concerns to Jesus this day and live in expectation of the extraordinary breaking into ordinary life.

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