May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord my strength and our redeemer. Amen.

(Paraphrase, Ps.19.14).

 “But Jesus rebuked him,” our gospel translation says.  Now ‘rebuke’ is a very harsh word.  But it’s the very word that is used to describe the exorcism that Jesus performed for that man with the unclean spirit in the synagogue that day in Capernaum (Mark 1.25a; NRSV).  I’m going to return that word in a moment.  But first: a related issue.  Today we get to ask and explore the question: What is Jesus’ authority and power for exorcising unclean spiritualities among us today?  That’s right!  We have just translated our gospel story from the first century to the twenty-first century, by asking the question: What is Jesus’ authority and power for exorcising unclean spiritualities among us today?…