Salem Lutheran Church


Are You Possessed?

I pray that you have had a blessed week.

On Monday morning, as I read our Gospel text for Sunday (Mark 3:20-35), I actually started to laugh. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a serious text about living our lives doing God’s will, but what I found funny was how Jesus responded to the accusations made against him by the religious leaders, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons” (Mark 3:22). In other words, they were accusing Jesus of being possessed. And what I found funny is that Jesus never denied the fact that he was possessed. In fact, I think Jesus was saying, “Oh, I am possessed, but I am not possessed by Beelzebul (Satan); no, I am possessed by the Holy Spirit.”

You see, according to the writer of the Gospel of Mark, the instant Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit descended upon him and immediately that Spirit “drove” him into the wilderness for forty days where he was prepared for the work that was ahead of him. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through him, Jesus knew that he could do the will of God even if that meant doing hard work or doing things that others thought was crazy. Jesus knew at the end of that forty days that he was possessed by the Holy Spirit

Doing things that are really difficult, especially when we know others won’t like what we are doing or saying, or when we are challenged to do what seems like going against the norm, can often make it seem like we don’t know what we are doing or that we are “crazy,” or “possessed.” But the truth is, anything worth doing is probably going to be difficult, and it is likely going to cause some discomfort.

In the waters of our baptisms, we have each been claimed by Christ and gifted with the Holy Spirit and, like Jesus, we, too, are possessed. The Holy Spirit possesses us, and that same Spirit is attempting to drive each of us to do the will of God. Oh, I know it is difficult to discern the will of God, but at the core of God’s will is this: Grow the kingdom and do justice. These are not easy tasks, but they are the tasks we have been charged to do, and they are the tasks in which the Holy Spirit will continue to drive us toward.

Doing God’s will is not dependent on the place in which we gather, it is not dependent on the size of our faith community, nor is it dependent on our budget. No, doing God’s will is dependent on our willingness to realize that we are possessed by the Holy Spirit and that that Spirit has formed us into a faith community, a family that has all it needs to continue to do God’s will. The Holy Spirit possesses us, and may we continue to be possessed!

Have a blessed week!

Pastor Dave

Tags: Weekly Word