“You Are The Son Of God”: Mark 3: 7-12


Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people (followed) from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.  And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.

After His last confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. The only problem was a large number of people (followed). It’s really hard to withdraw when people are following you! And if that wasn’t enough, others heard what he was doing and even more were showing up – from all over. Seven different towns and/or areas are named in this text. Again I will say, it’s hard to withdraw when people are following you.

Two other withdrawal moments come to mind;

  1. His forty days in the wilderness (1:12)
  2. His quiet time in the morning      (1:35)

We see, that during these times, great prayer and preparation to accomplish the will of the Father was the purpose of these withdrawals. Given the context of this scripture, and the one we studied last week, He may have been withdrawing, this time, for a couple of different reasons;

  1. To escape the persecution of the Pharisees and the Herodians
  2. To preserve His secret

What secret? The proclamation of the unclean spirits;  whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” I find it fascinating that these purely evil spirits could more easily identify the Son of God than the people could. Have you ever wondered why that was?

First, we must realize that these unclean spirits were from the beginning. One third of heavens angels joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God. You can read about this incident in the Old Testament books, Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14 also Daniel 8:10 and in the New Testament in Revelation 12:4

Being present with the Holy Trinity from the beginning explains how they identify Him. Yet when we think of identifying someone, we think of seeing….recognizing by sight. Jesus was without a physical body before His Incarnation, so it was probably not His physical appearance they recognized, but His Holiness. Have you ever been in the presence of a truly godly person? How you could just sense that the Spirit was God was indeed, with them? Given that we [people] are inclined toward evil, how much more does purely evil spirits sense the presence of the Son of God?

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains;

II. The Fall of the Angels
 
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Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil.” The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”
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Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies.”
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It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.”
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Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls “a murderer from the beginning,” who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
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 And also;

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          The coming of God’s kingdom means the defeat of Satan’s: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus’ exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus’ great victory over “the ruler of this world.” The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ’s cross: “God reigned from the wood.”

It also teaches;

  “But Deliver Us from Evil”

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The last petition to our Father is also included in Jesus’ prayer: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” It touches each of us personally, but it is always “we” who pray, in communion with the whole Church, for the deliverance of the whole human family. The Lord’s Prayer continually opens us to the range of God’s economy of salvation. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ, the “communion of saints.”
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In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who “throws himself across” God’s plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ.
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“A murderer from the beginning, . . . a liar and the father of lies,” Satan is “the deceiver of the whole world.” Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be “freed from the corruption of sin and death.” Now “we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.”

The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil, so that the enemy, who is accustomed to leading into sin, may not surprise you. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. “If God is for us, who is against us?

 

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        The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries—of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature—to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”

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Victory over the “prince of this world” was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is “cast out.” “He pursued the woman” but had no hold on her: the new Eve, “full of grace” of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.” Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: “Come, Lord Jesus,” since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.
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When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ’s return. By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has “the keys of Death and Hades,” who “is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

As we reflect back on our Scripture text for this week, let’s see how we can apply what we’ve learned.

There are many times in our faith journey when we will need to withdraw. There will also be times when we will want to withdraw, but not allowed to by our circumstances. We need not feel over-whelmed, for Jesus is with us (He’s been there, done that). He will empower us to continue in the work He started, until He comes again in Glory!

Amen.

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