They still have a drive-in movie theatre in Sacramento, and that's where I saw the Matt Damon action-thriller, "The Bourne Ultimatum." I gotta tell you, the action in that movie moved so fast sometimes, it made my head hurt. The gospel of Mark is not quite so frenetic, but it does move apace. In the first 28 verses we have the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus' baptism, Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, John's imprisonment, Jesus initiating His preaching ministry, Jesus calling His first four disciples, Jesus initiating His teaching ministry, and an exorcism!
During this swift sequence of events, John defers to Jesus, God the Father endorses Jesus, the Holy Spirit guides Jesus, Satan is resisted by Jesus, angels minister to Jesus, disciples follow Jesus, and evil spirits obey Jesus. Hmmm, that last one is an interesting one. Evil spirits obey Jesus. He gives orders to demons and they comply. Wow. Demons obey Jesus and people don't. How bold are we? How bold and foolish.
I look at the passage again and notice that so far, Mark has only recorded commands from Jesus' lips. Christ came with authority and with imperatives:
"Repent and believe! The time is now and the Kingdom is here."
"Come follow Me! We've got more repentant believers to gather in."
"Be quiet, demon, and come out of him!"
Mark's gospel moves with urgency and doesn't mince words. And why shouldn't it? There is evil to be quashed; there are souls to be saved; there's a new community to be formed. The time is now and the Kingdom is here!
Those same dynamics exist today, too; always will. The Kingdom is here and the time is now. What are we doing to drive out the evils of our society? To heal its victims? What are we doing to bring the good news of the Kingdom of God to the people arounds us? What sort of disciple-making disciples are we? Have we learned to be fishers of men?
Life's events run swiftly by us. Everything seems to scream for priority and urgency. It is a kind of tyranny. But that's not the realm God calls us to. He calls us to His Kingdom. The domain of peace, love and joy. And the domain of obedience to the Savior and His imperatives.
The demons comply.
Pray: Jesus, you are as Mark says, the Messiah and the Son of God. And what you bring to us is good news. Even if that good news comes in the form of imperatives, they are the divine imperatives that guide us toward everlasting life. Help us all to defer to you like John. Help us to follow you urgently like Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Help us to learn every lesson you have for us. And to live out those lessons in your Name.