The season of Epiphany means the church should celebrate those moments in Jesus’s life and ministry where he particularly disclosed his identity as the Messiah, our Deliverer and Redeemer. Mark’s Jesus is curt and impatient. He is on a mission to dismantle the system of evil we see around us. His Gospel is particularly interested in displaying how Jesus’ power extends into dispelling the works of Satan. Jesus’ command over the unclean spirits, his enmity with the forces that seek our oppression and ruin, is total.
But what about Moses? Remember Mount Nebo, where he is delivering his sermons in Deuteronomy. Moses can only peer into and not enter the Promised Land. And the salvation God promises through Israel is not completed when they cross the Jordan. It is the promised prophet who converses with God “face to face” – Jesus Christ – who announces the age of the final Exodus into the reign of God.
In the epistle, what Paul seems to be implying is that even though the forces of the Enemy exist, they no longer have the power to afflict those for whom “there is one God, the Father… and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” Christians then should indulge the consciences of those who wish to divest themselves of the surrounding culture’s complicit stance with “the ruler of the power of the air.”
As our Gospel reading will make clear, Christian experience has understood Jesus’ mission as the liberation of the human community from the kingdom of Satan and his fallen angels by the ushering in of the Reign of God. The liberty Paul speaks of is the Church’s exodus from darkness and sin into the light of God’s redemption in Christ.
How can God deploy our gifts to the work of his reign and to the banishing of evil? (Resources are from, Sermon that works)